Nov 12, 2008


The firehouse speaker box rasped: "Engine 85, Fire. Thirty eight O eight Iowa. Engine 85, Fire. Thirty eight O eight Iowa." The alarm was desperate, the tragedy incredible.

On Dec. 1, 1958, a fire at Our Lady of the Angels school in Chicago killed 92 students and three nuns - and led to national safety standards. ``While legally in compliance with the fire safety laws of the time, the school was woefully unprepared for any kind of fire. There was only one fire escape, no sprinklers, no automatic fire alarm, no smoke or heat detectors, no alarm connected to the fire department, no fire-resistant stairwells and no fire-safe doors ... The floors had been coated and re-coated many times with flammable petroleum based waxes,'' according to the web site