Wednesday, April 08, 2009

RIP: Richard Scheidt

Via FireGeezer, I learned today that Richard Scheidt died on Monday at the age of 81.

Who, you may ask, was Richard Scheidt?

We all know that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Some pictures, however, are worth much, much more. Some pictures capture the very essence of a scene far better than words ever could. The famous photo of the second jetliner hitting the World Trade Center is one of those pictures. So is the photo of the Oklahoma City firefighter carrying Baylee Almon from the rubble of the Murrah building.

Another is this photo of Richard Scheidt:

Scheidt was a Chicago fire fighter. On December 1, 1958, a fire occurred at Our Lady of Angels School, a Catholic school. The fire began about 2:42 PM, just 18 minutes before school would have been dismissed.

When the fire was out, 92 school children and three nuns were dead. Chicago American photographer Steve Lasker snapped this picture of Scheidt removing the body of ten-year-old John Jajkowski. Scheidt also pulled 19 other dead children from the building.

This picture became the icon for the entire tragedy, and was on the cover of Life magazine on December 15, 1958.

Scheidt retired from CFD as a captain, in 1986. Memories of the fire haunted him throughout his life.

Captain Scheidt leaves behind his wife, nine children, 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

1 comment:

  1. Having worked as a paramedic and still a volunteer firefighter, I have seen much tragedy and death in my lifetime. I cannot fathom what Mr. Sceidt and his coworkers experienced that day. Thankfully, he managed to continue onwards as a firefighter and continue to help those in need.