Police have begun searching through decades-old records to investigate the claim of a paroled murderer and arsonist who says he started the 1958 fire at a school in which 92 children and three nuns perished.
Officials met for several hours after a television broadcast Sunday night during which a 32-year-old man said he started the fatal fire in the basement of Our Lady of the Angels school but "had no intention of hurting anyone."
Police Lt. William Corbett of the bomb and arson unit said the broadcast has generated a "lot of interest" including calls from a number of policemen, some now retired, who had worked on the investigation.
The three-story parochial grade school caught fire about 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, 1958, while most of the 1,300 pupils were in class on the second floor. The blaze never has been ruled arson.
Alex Burkholder, WGN-TV producer and one of those who conducted the interview, said the man who confessed was 11 at the time and a student at a nearby training school who claimed he was smoking a cigarette in the basement of the parochial school and discarded a match, not knowing it would cause a fire.
The man is reportedly on parole for convictions of murder and arson in two fires during the 1960s.