Chicago marks 60th anniversary of Our Lady of the Angels fire

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It's been 60 years since 92 students and three nuns were killed in a fire at the Our Lady of the Angels school on Chicago's West Side.

Saturday marked 60 years since 92 students and three nuns were killed in a fire at the Our Lady of the Angels school on Chicago's West Side.

The victims were remembered at church services and other memorials across the city this weekend. Although much time has passed since 1958, the memories and the pain are still fresh.
WATCH: Fire victims remembered at Holy Family Church
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Although much time has passed since 1958, the memories and the pain are still fresh.



Each year, family members of those who lost their lives, along with survivors come together at Holy Family Church to remember and honor the victims.

"I think it is a wound that will never, ever heal," said Father Michael Gabriel.

"I like what the priest said, that we should never forget. I told my children, my grandchildren because when we are gone, we want them to remember," survivor Rosalie O'Brien said.

WATCH: Steve Lasker discusses photographing the deadly fire 60 years ago
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Photographer Steve Lasker recalls covering the Our Lady of Angels fire and taking the picture that became famous around the nation.


"My ma cries every day. It never left her heart," said Ed Piscopo. He had not yet been born when his 10-year-old brother, Frank, died.

He was one of 95 people, mostly children, killed 60 years ago when a fire broke out in the basement of Our Lady of Angels School shortly before classes were dismissed for the day.

Frank, along with most of the young victims, is buried in Hillside. A memorial service held at the cemetery Sunday brought together dozens of people impacted by the tragedy.

"Last night I was thinking, what was I doing 60 years ago? Running back and forth seeing if we could, my mom and I, running back and forth seeing if we could help in any way. But of course we couldn't," Mary Brown recalled.
"I have a cousin, Nancy Desanto, who didn't make it out. Francis Guzaldo, Roger Ramlow and Valerie Thoma, they also unfortunately didn't make it," Amatore Manle said.
WATCH: School fire survivor recalls terrifying ordeal 60 years later
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Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the Our Lady Of Angels school fire in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood, which claimed 95 lives.



Survivor Serge Uccetta was only 12 years old and a student at Our Lady of Angels at the time, but he was one of the lucky ones. The building was a firetrap. As the flames and smoke spread, the second floor corridor became impassable, leaving the windows - 25 feet above the ground - as the only possible escape.

"Everybody was pushing and panicking. We got to the windows, there was a boy sitting in front of me on the window ledge who jumped and I got out with my feet dangling and watched. And he landed and didn't get up, so I thought this is not good," Uccetta said.

While Uccetta speaks about his experience openly and is the one who organized Sunday's memorial, many more survivors keep the experience to themselves, still too painful to share all these years later.
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firecatholic schoolchildrenchild killednunsurvivor storyChicagoHumboldt ParkHillsideNear West Side
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