Chicago, IL Norwood Hotel Fire, Nov 1951


Chicago, Nov. 19. -- (AP) -- Two investigations wer planned today into a south side hotel fire which claimed three lives, injured nine others and left many homeless.

Some occupants of the Norwood Hotel, leaped from windows and others were brought down ladders by firemen battling the blaze in freezing weather. Five persons who jumped from the top floor to a concrete sidewalk were seriously injured.

EARL DOWNES, assistant corporation counsel, and Coroner A. L. BRODIE, ordered separate investigations into the fire on reports that there had been a delay in reporting the blaze.

Authorities say 213 persons were registered in the hotel at the time.

Killed in the fire were OWEN J. BENSON, 61; BART CRONIN, 60, and MISS EDITH CROCKER, 71, a retired school teacher.

Moberly Monitor Index Missouri 1951-11-19


norwood hotel chicago fire

Hope you find this interesting. I came across it in a book I was reading, this bit is about two thirds down if you search for thomas haire the praying plumber
It was four o'clock on a bitterly cold November
morning when the telephone rang and an excited voice told
me that the Norwood Hotel was burning and the guests were
fleeing into the street in their night clothes to escape the

Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, and his prayer
helper, Tom Haire, who were engaged in evangelistic meet-
ings in our local church, were stopping at the Norwood. My
informant could tell me nothing about these men. He only
knew that some guests had died in the fire and others had
been badly injured.

In a few minutes one of the elders of the church picked me
up and together we raced over the icy streets to the scene of
die fire. The police and firemen had the area blocked off.
The basement of the First Nazarene Church, located within
one block of the hotel, had been converted into a first-aid
station and the less seriously injured victims of the fire were
being cared for there. A hurried search among the shivering
and frightened persons who had gathered in the church base-
ment failed to discover either Ravenhill or Haire. The excited
guests could not tell us anything about them, but some thought
that the two men had been among the victims who had
jumped from the hotel windows.

The next logical place to look was St. Bernard Hospital, a
few blocks away. There the scene was one of confusion. We
stopped one of the hurrying sisters and inquired whether two
Protestant evangelists had been admitted to the hospital in


the last few minutes. The sister replied that she did not
know. "But " she added, "as I helped to bring in one elderly
man who had been hurt in the fire, he patted my cheek and
asked me if I loved Jesus." We did not need to ask further.
We had found Tom.

Both Mr. Ravenhill and Mr. Haire had been seriously in-
jured by the long jump to the pavement from the third story
window of the hotel. Both had broken bones in many parts
of their bodies, Tom suffered deep burns on one hand and
Ravenhill received internal injuries.

Nothing else within the sphere of my own experience has
demonstrated so beautifully the real quality of present-day
Christians as did the hotel accident suffered by the two evan-
gelists. The news wires carried the story to every part of the
United States and Canada and finally to England and Ireland.
Immediately telegrams and long distance calls began to flood
into my office from far parts of the continent. Churches
wrote to offer assistance; Christian nurses and doctors volun-
teered their aid; visitors came in great numbers and prayer
went up like incense from coast to coast. The two men
hovered for a while between life and death and then slowly

Norwood Hotel fire

I beleive my mother and I where in this fire,I was very young then,and I think my picture was taken back then,I remembered opening up a church widow and opening up a door to the church to let the people out of the cold,I wa woundering if you can send me any infornation on the fire.I'am now 67 and my mother has long past away.

Edward Pokorski