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A MEMORIAL - Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School fire, December 1, 1958
A Virtual Cemetery created by: Barbara Grimes
Description: Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School fire broke out shortly before classes were to be dismissed on December 1, 1958, at the foot of a stairway in the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. The elementary school was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. A total of 92 pupils and 3 nuns lost their lives when smoke, heat, and fire cut off their normal means of escape through corridors and stairways. Many more were injured when they jumped from second-floor windows (which were as high as a third floor would be on level ground). All of the deceased victims occupied a set of classrooms on the second floor of the school's north wing. All of the deceased victims resided in Chicago. Room 208, a room located in the northeast corner of the north wing housing Sister Mary St. Canice Lyng's 7th Grade Class, had twelve student deaths out of thirty-seven students. Sister Mary St. Canice also died. Several ladders were placed near Room 208's windows. Of them, the ladder placed by Mario Camerini, a janitor, successfully reached Room 208's windows and allowed several students, including all of the remaining boys, to escape. The three deceased boys died while at their desks due to a spurt of heated gases. The conditions of 208 and the three dead boys are depicted in a black-and-white illustration by a Life magazine artist. Sister Mary St. Canice Lyng (44) Helen Buziak (12) Bernice Cichocki (12) Rosalie Ciminello (12) Patricia Drzymala (12) Mary Fanale (12) James Moravec (13) Mary Ellen Moretti (12) Lorraine Nieri (12) Edward Pikinski (11) Nancy Riche (12) Philip Tampone (11) Christina Vitacco (12) Room 209, a room housing Sister Mary Davidis Devine's 8th grade class, had two student deaths. Of all of the students, one, Beverly Burda, died in the classroom, while the second, Valerie Thoma, died in a hospital three months later. The survivors credit Devine's decision to stack books at the door to slow entry of the smoke and an awning that provided an easier jump for their survival. Sam Tortorice, a parent of Room 209 student Rose Tortorice, climbed on the awning to assist the escapes of the Room 209 students. Father Joseph Ognibene joined Tortorice and rescued students. Devine, mistakenly under the impression that all of the students were rescued from the room, agreed to be rescued. By the time Devine and the rescue crews noticed Burda lying in the classroom, conditions made her rescue impossible, and she was killed when the roof collapsed. Devine died on October 14, 2006, at the age of 100. Beverly Burda (13) Valerie Thoma (14) Room 210, housing Sister Mary Seraphica Kelley's 4th grade class, had 28 student deaths out of the 57 students inside at the time of the fire, the most deaths of any of the classrooms. Kelley also died, making a total of 29 deaths in Room 210. The smaller and weaker bodies of the fourth graders contributed to the high death toll, as many of the children were unable to scale the window ledge. The fire entered the room at a quicker rate since two boys attempted to open the door to the room. Upon discovery of the fire, the flames forced the boys away from the door, preventing closure of the door and allowing the fire to attack the children. Sister Mary Seraphica Kelley (43) Peter Cangelosi (9) Kathleen Carr (9) Margaret Chambers (9) Joan Ann Chiappetta (10) Joan Chrzas (9) Roseanna Ciochon (9) Nancy DeSanto (9) Lucille Filipponio (8) Janet Gasteier (9) Victor Jacobellis (9) Diane Karwacki (9) Richard Kompanowski (10) Joseph Modica (9) Charles Neubert (9) Yvonne Pacini (9) Elaine Pesoli (10) Mary Ellen Pettenon (9) James Profita (9) James Ragona (9) Diane Santangelo (9) Joanne Sarno (9) Kurt Schutt (8) James Sickels (10) Paul Silvio (9) Susan Smaldone (9) Linda Stabile (9) Mark Stachura (9) Room 211, housing Sister Mary Helaine O'Neill's 8th grade class, had 24 deaths out of the 48 students inside at the time of the fire. Normally 63 students occupied the room; at the time, 13 boys helped with a clothing drive at the church and 2 male students stayed away from the school due to illness. The existence of a picket fence blocked firefighters and hampered the rescue of the middle schoolers in 211. The firefighters could not save all of the students before the room flashed over, killing the remaining students. Sister Mary Helaine O'Neill, the teacher, was severely burned and spent several weeks in the hospital. She died on September 27, 1975. Michele Altobell (13) Richard Bobrowicz (13) Aurelius Chiappetta (14) Millicent Corsiglia (13) William Edington (13) Nancy Finnigan (13) Ronald Fox (13) Carol Gazzola (13) Lawrence Grasso (13) Frances Guzaldo (12): Guzaldo, along with Janet Delaria and Karen Hobik, was one of the three students who first raised the alarm. Kathleen Hagerty (13) Karen Hobik (13): Hobik, along with Janet Delaria and Frances Guzaldo, was one of the three students who first raised the alarm. Angeline Kalinowski (14) Kenneth Kompanowski (14) Rose LaPlaca (13) Raymond Makowski (12) Janet Olechowski (12) Eileen Pawlik (13) Nancy Pilas (12) Roger Ramlow (13) William Sarno (13) Mary Tamburrino (13) John Trotta (13) Mary Virgilio (15)[10] Room 212, housing Sister Mary Clare Therese Champagne's 5th grade class, had 26 deaths out of the 55 students. The deaths all were due to smoke inhalation. Sister Mary Clare Therese also died. Sister Mary Clare Therese Champagne (27) Robert Anglim (9) Karen Baroni (10) David Biscan (10) George Cannella (10) Jo Ann Ciolino (10) Karen Culp (10) Maria DeGiulio (11) Lawrence Dunn (10) Richard Hardy (9) Barbara Hosking (10) John Jajkowski (10): LIFE magazine published a world-famous picture of a firefighter carrying John Jajkowski's lifeless body out of the school building, later used as a fire prevention poster in the US. Joseph King (10) Margaret Kucan (10) Patricia Kuzma (10) Annette LaMantia (10) Joseph Maffiola (10) Linda Malinski (10) John Manganello (10) John Mele (10) Antoinette Patrasso (11) Carolyn Perry (10) Frank Piscopo (10) Marilyn Reeb (10) Margaret Sansonetti (10) Antoinette Secco (10) Nancy Smid (10) Wayne Wisz (10)
Records 1 to 35 (of 35 total matches)
Name Cemetery
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Altobell, Michele Rose 14314295
b. 1945 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Anglim, Robert H. 15710913
b. Dec. 11, 1948 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Baroni, Karen Marie 15711080
b. 1948 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Joseph Cemetery
River Grove
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Biscan, David 5329358
b. 1948 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Bobrowicz, Richard William 15711148
b. 1945 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Burda, Beverly Ann 48178831
b. Aug. 25, 1945 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Buziak, Helen 15757177
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Cangelosi, Peter 5329367
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Carr, Kathleen Mary 15685023
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Chambers, Margaret Jane 5329390
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Chiappetta, Aurelius, Jr 5329406
b. 1944 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Chiappetta, Joan Ann 5329393
b. 1948 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Chrzas, Joan 15719267
b. May 9, 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Cichocki, Bernice 5329397
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Ciminello, Rosalie 5329359
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Ciochon, Roseanna 15719312
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
DeSanto, Nancy 15685176
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Drzymala, Patricia Ann 15719494
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Joseph Cemetery
River Grove
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Find your ancestors at Ancestry.com
Fanale, Mary Ann 15719527
b. Mar. 5, 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Filipponio, Lucille 5329362
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Gasteier, Janet 14309584
b. Feb. 13, 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Jacobellis, Victor N. 5329343
b. 1949 d. Dec. 5, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Karwacki, Diane 14333148
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Bloomfield Cemetery
Pell Lake
Walworth County
Wisconsin, USA
Kelley, Sr Mary Seraphica 12140139
b. Nov. 12, 1915 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Kompanowski, Kenneth Richard 15721423
b. Nov. 11, 1944 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Kompanowski, Richard Robert 15721449
b. Mar. 17, 1948 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Modica, Joseph D. 5329353
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Moravec, James R. "Jimmie" 15769441
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Moretti, Mary Ellen 5329348
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Neubert, Charles J 15769555
b. 1949 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Joseph Cemetery
River Grove
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Nieri, Lorraine 15769615
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Joseph Cemetery
River Grove
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Pikinski, Edward 15769859
b. Jan. 5, 1947 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Riche, Nancy 15769952
b. 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Saint Adalbert Catholic C...
Niles
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Tampone, Philip 15770445
b. Dec. 22, 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Vitacco, Christine Marie 13342519
b. Mar. 12, 1946 d. Dec. 1, 1958
Queen of Heaven Catholic ...
Hillside
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Find your ancestors at Ancestry.com

 
 
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