Essay On Chicago Fire

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At 2pm on December 1st, 1958, a fire erupted in the basement at Our Lady of the Angels in Chicago, Illinois killing 92 children and three nuns. The school, built in 1910, was one of the largest Roman Catholic schools in Chicago at the time, with roughly 1600 students ranging from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Interestingly, the school had passed a safety inspections two weeks prior to the fire, but didn’t have to obey all of the guidelines, due to the codes enacted in 1949 not affecting existing buildings. The only positive thing to come from this fire, was the massive nationwide sweep in changes to school’s fire codes and regulations. Although the school was inside the legal aspects of fire laws, there were no sprinklers, smoke detectors…show more content…
They also faced other problems upon arrival. They were directed to the wrong location, and lost much needed time while they repositioned their hoses and trucks. The gate that gave access to the courtyard was also locked, making them lose even more time, having to break it open. Due to the delays, the fire fighters were too late. 87 students and three nuns died from the fire and its effects, and five more students died later from complications. The Chicago Fire Commissioner said that the main reason for the loss of life was the late alarm, however, NFPA blamed the deaths on insufficient exit capacity for the over-crowded school, and inadequate fire alarms and detectors, along with lack of fire drills. After the fire, the Fire Commissioner pushed to require sprinklers and fire alarms in all public buildings. Shortly after, it was amended and changed the city’s building codes. Fire alarms, alarm boxes, and fire drills, which were to be witnessed by the fire service, were also added. New York’s Fire Commissioner ordered inspection of the city’s 1,500+ school buildings. Within a few days, 18 schools were closed due to fire safety
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