Essay on Our Lady of AngelsTragedy in Chicago

Essay on Our Lady of AngelsTragedy in Chicago

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December 1st, 1958 tragedy comes to Chicago, the catholic school Our Lady of Angels is a blase a fire has started in the basement of the north wing of the school at the bottom of the stairwell and is roaring through the north wing in a matter of minuets despite the best efforts of the Chicago fire department the north wing is nearly a total loss resulting in the death of 90 people died in the blaze and 5 more were critically injured resulting in deaths. Through my research I have sought to find the role that the construction of the building has played in the precipitation of this tragedy.
The Our Lady of Angels school house was a type 3 construction. The school was divided into two wings the north and south wings. The fire started in the basement of the north wing near the boiler room and burned undiscovered in a stairwell until the heat of the fire became too great and broke a window adjacent to the staircase under demolition by fire and caused an influx of new oxygen to fuel the flames. Some important things to note about the construction of the school are: One, that all major exits and the stairwells were made of combustable materials. Two, that there was only one fire exit located at the end of the hall on the second floor in an unprotected corridor Near the stairwell close to the source of the fire. Lastly, there was no fire protection, there were no sprinklers or fire pull stations located in the north wing and all of the 5 extinguishers that were present were located seven feet off of the ground which made access to them incredibly difficult even for adults.
The fire started at approx. 1415 hours and burns slowly for the first few minuets carrying heat and smoke up the unprotected stairwell and into a hole leading t...


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...gislation and code that occurred because of the sacrifice of these brave young people.One of the major changes in code that came from this fire was the requirement for school buildings to be sprinklered and required pull boxes at every door. Another change in code that resulted from this fir was the addition of the requirement for non-combustible enclosed fire escapes. However, similar laws were in effect at the time the our lady of angels school was grandfathered into the old and had in fact passed a fire inspection only a week earlier.
In conclusion I believe that the Our Lady of Angels fire memorial said it best that “the only positive outcome of the tragedy, sweeping changes in school fire safety regulations were enacted nationwide, no doubt saving countless lives in subsequent years.
But for the innocent victims of Our Lady of the Angels, it was too late.”

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