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Our Lady of the Angels School Fire: 50 Years Later

BY ADAM GROVESOn December 1, 1958, the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois, was destroyed by fire. Ninety-two students and three nuns died as a result of the fire; dozens more suffered serious injuries while escaping the burning building. Investigations into the fire revealed inadequate fire protection and safety systems within the school, which contributed to the loss of life.1 The fire received international attention and prompted a series of major changes and enhancements to the fire safety codes and regulations governing U.S. schools and other public buildings.THE PARISH AND SCHOOLDuring the 1950s, Our Lady of the Angels parish was one of the largest in the Roman Cathol...

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