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92 Children, 3 Nuns Killed In Our Lady Of The Angels School Fire Remembered 61 Years Later

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A mass was planned Sunday to honor the memories of 92 children and three nuns who died in the Our Lady of the Angels school fire 61 years ago.

The mass was set for 5 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Rd. It is held annually at the church to commemorate the lives lost in the Dec. 1, 1958 fire, which remains one of the deadliest in Chicago history.

The fire heavily damaged the school, at 909 N. Avers Ave. It began at the foot of a stairwell, raced up the stairwell and through the second-floor classrooms.

Those who managed to get out of the wing of the school that burned said that they first realized something was wrong when smoke curled under the classroom doors and wafted through the glass transoms above the doors.

Many students were seriously injured as they jumped from second-floor windows to escape.

The remnants of the old school building was torn down several months after the fire and replaced by a new building. The school closed in 1999, but much of it has been renovated into the Kelly Hall YMCA.

Mass is still said in the adjoining church at 3808 W. Iowa St., which was not damaged by the fire, now known as the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels. The church underwent a major restoration in 2012.

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