Baltimore, MD Church Roof Collapse, Feb 1967


Baltimore, Md. (AP) -- The roof caved in today on a Roman Catholic church filled with children attending an 8 a.m. Lenten Mass. The fire department said 20 to 30 persons were taken to hospitals.
No one was killed.
The roof of the St. Rose of Lima church sagged under heavy snow and collapsed with a roar as Father Francis O'Brien was saying Mass to 60 or 70 children and a dozen or so adults.
"I heard a noise and the roof just caved in," said Father O'Brien, who had blood on his face, apparently from helping carry out injured persons.
The injured persons were taken to four hospitals. The most seriously injured was listed as a 13-year-old boy with a fractured skull.
The children attend St. Rose of Lima School, located next door to the church. They were returning to school after being off two days because of an 11 inch snowfall that blanketed Baltimore Monday night.
The Rev. Francis X. Moran, a Catholic priest who was in the school, said, "A noise was heard and seconds later the whole roof came in at once."
"The principal (of the school) was able to get some of the children out immediately," He identified the principal as Sister Mary Anne.
The school burned to the ground in 1925, and in 1950 a fire damaged the old church so badly that a new one had to be built.
GEORGE FEELY, JR., 7, a pupil at the school, said he was about seven pews from the altar and heard something that "sounded like a door shutting."
"I saw something coming down," he said. "It was the ceiling."
By 9:30 a.m., firemen had removed all the children
and adults from the building.
The roof fell into the portion of the building housing the chapel, buckling and collapsing in the middle. The collapse occurred near the portion of Mass called lifting of the chalice, the climax of the Mass.

Nashua Telegraph New Hampshire 1967-02-09