1946 called us again this year. With a voice hoarse with smoke and ice-calm with the fear of the doomed they asked us to audit our monitoring infrastructure, to schedule response drills, and to confirm that we clearly documented escalation paths for our incidents.
Chicago, June 5 (AP)
A 44 year old switchboard operator, though surrounded by smoke and flames which swept through the La Salle hotel early today, called room after room to notify guests of their danger.
The first firemen to reach the phone room on the mezzanine floor found the operator, Mrs. Julia Berry, dead at her post.
It was through Mrs. Berry's switchboard that the first alarm was sounded. W. H. Bradfield, assistant night manager, told Central police that he ran to the phone room and told Mrs. Berry to "get out."
"No. I'm going to stay at my station. We've got to give those folks on the top floors a chance." she answered.
Bradfield ran to rouse guests. A short time later he remembered Mrs. Berry and tried to get back onto the phone room but was swept back by the flames.
The LaSalle Inferno and the Winecoff Hotel fire in December of 1946 prompted the City of Chicago to mandate automatic fire alarms in all new hotel construction and specialist training of firefighters.
Julia Curran Berry was declared a heroine of the telephone service by AT&T.