Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Intruders in the Night

This account appeared in the NDA Annals kept by the Sisters. The entry is dated March 4, 1949.

“Notre Dame narrowly escaped being the ninth school to be raided by unknown vandals when intruders broke into the Academy by way of the main entrance about 3:30 a.m., Friday. S. Mary Oliva was awakened by the sound of falling glass, and with alertness of mind, she buzzed the house-phone on all the floors. The Fourth floor answered, and Sister said: “I think someone is in the building—I heard the sound of breaking glass.” S. Mary Xavier, who took the message thought for a moment, “What shall I do?” Then without hesitation she hurried to the fire-siren and turned it on. In less that no time all the Sisters were hurrying down, the siren still howling. Entirely forgetful of danger, one Sister went down stairs alone to the first floor. There she found the glass in the main door broken, just enough (for someone to) to reach inside to open the lock. However, all signs of the vandals were gone. And the siren screamed on. ..The police who had also been called, arrived and made a thorough search but found no one. And still the fire siren screamed on. We tried to turn it off on different floors, but by this time (some) switches were on and some off and we could not determine which one would turn it off. Then to our dismay, smoke began to curl up around the siren horns and we had to call the fire department. One Sister called, and said, “Please come QUIETLY!” But how was this to be done? In a few moments’ time a huge fire motor and ladder truck zoomed up before the Academy. While the firemen searched for smoldering wires, suddenly some on found THE button that turned off the siren. What a relief! Quiet and safety at last. The smoking sirens soon cooled off, the firemen departed, and we went to Chapel to pray a MAGNIFICAT in gratitude for divine protection. The next day we had an exciting story to tell the girls.
Eight other schools in our vicinity did not escape so easily. Unknown vandals did much damage in them by breaking windows, throwing ink around, tearing out wires, and turning on faucets. In less than 24 hours after Notre Dame’s invasion, Holy Cross School sustained about $200 damages from vandals, especially (from) smashed doors and windows. We are longing for the capture of these vandals who seem to be young boys bent upon destruction rather than upon stealing."
So ends another exciting episode of 5th. Street Panda History.