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View Diary: How Regulation came to be: Our Lady of the Angels (79 comments)

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  •  I remember that story so well. We are (4+ / 0-)
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    Floja Roja, dsteffen, HylasBrook, yaque

    about the same age, you and I. It was so horrifying to read about the fire, and the students dying. One story I remember was that one entire class was found "dead at their desks" having been told to pray instead of saving themselves. No idea if there is any truth to it. All the elementary schools in my area - the MD suburbs of DC - were one story. I'm sure fires were the reason - and of course, the availability of land.

    Our system of law is premised on the idea that an unfettered government - rather than criminals - is the greatest danger to our lives and liberty.
    NCrissieB

    by pixxer on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 09:54:00 PM PST

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    •  I do too - I was 10 at the time (3+ / 0-)
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      dsteffen, 1864 House, pixxer

      and remember reading about the fire in the newspapers.

      I'm not sure if things changed much in my school, which was a largest school building in our city.  I do remember fire drills, but don't know if they were instituted before or after OLA.

      Generally places where I worked held fire drills - with emphasis on making sure people in each office are accounted for, so no one is going into a building looking for someone who has already evacuated.  Yet with these drills there are always people who say "it's just a drill" or "I'm busy."

      People don't seem to learn, even after a horrific fire like the one in Warwick, RI

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:28:23 AM PST

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    •  No truth to that story at all (3+ / 0-)
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      dsteffen, Living in Gin, pixxer

      The nuns were all seen at the windows trying to help their students escape. One was found holding a group of children who could not get out.

      Those rumors - and others - plagued our parish for decades.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:39:48 AM PST

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      •  Thanks very much. I will unremember that story, (2+ / 0-)
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        dsteffen, 1864 House

        Our system of law is premised on the idea that an unfettered government - rather than criminals - is the greatest danger to our lives and liberty.
        NCrissieB

        by pixxer on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 07:49:19 AM PST

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      •  I ran across a site... (1+ / 0-)
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        1864 House

        ...in researching this that had a section that purported to debunk myths about OLA.  This, of course, was one.  I would have to go look for the link again, and I don't have time now, but I ultimately had some concerns about the site -- when you purport to present the motives of people who died in the fire, I think you're into the realm of speculation, and not fact.

        What the site said about the 'prayer' rumors, whether speculative or based on first-person accounts, did ring true to me, and jibed with the known facts, though.

        The contention was that some teachers had had their classes sit and pray, but not for reasons of putting their fate in God's hands.  Rather, as we know, by the time anyone outside rooms 206 and 207 was aware of the fire, the hallways were already impassable, and even if they were inclined to risk it, there was no way to tell which way led to safety.  It would have been irresponsible and reckless for a teacher to lead her class into that uncertainty.  The drop to the ground, at 25 feet, was almost certain to result in injury or worse.  The fire department, they would presume, was on the way, and closed doors would keep the fire at bay for a period of time -- they likely had no way of knowing how quickly the fire was building to deadly levels.  Having their classes pray would have been a way of taking the children's minds off the fire while they waited for rescue.

        Once the gravity of the situation became apparent, as 1864 House points out, everyone was to the windows and teachers were trying to save as many as they could.

        There were apparently a very few children found sitting at desks, but how and why they came to be there is not obvious.  They may have become dizzy and sat down, and were overcome, or they may have been sitting awaiting rescue and were overcome before anyone realized what was happening, but it's impossible to say, much less attribute it to prayer.

        We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

        by dsteffen on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 10:58:28 AM PST

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