Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 19, 2013

BRADBERRY: Out of the fire: Life from the ashes

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “Our family has suffered and are haunted by what happened in that fire,” William Dietz’s daughter, Patti Dietz said from her California home. “Every day we remember that fire. It will haunt us all of our lives. My dad never wanted that tragic fire to happen. He never wanted anyone to die.” she told Forgione.

Indicted by a 24-member grand jury Dec. 11, 1957, on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter after the jury heard testimony from 42 people in a probe into the fatal fire conducted by District Attorney William H. Earl, a jury of 10 men and two women in March 1958 convicted Dietz on the first-degree manslaughter charge. Genesee County Judge Philip J. Weiss sentenced Dietz to two to five years at Attica State Prison.

Patti Dietz, who was 7 years old at the time of the fire, said she still doesn’t understand why her father was convicted. She said he didn’t collect rent from the families and only agreed to let them stay there temporarily as an alternative to being homeless during the winter months after Hyde Park Village closed down.

“Those poor people had no place to go,” she said. “My dad was just trying to provide them with shelter and a place to sleep.”

Annie Chivers doesn’t remember much about Nov. 16, 1957, she’s blocked out most of the horrific memories of that fateful day, but what she does remember about life before and after is beautifully told in her short, but powerful memoir, “Out of the Fire: Life from the Ashes.”

She told the Gazette reporter in 2007, “My sister threw me out of the (second floor) window to save my life,” she said. “I remember landing on the ground and it didn’t seem to hurt that much because I landed on my butt and I had my hands behind my back. I remember looking up and seeing flames going all the way to the sky.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

    Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?

    July 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Driven to distraction by recent incidents For reasons best left unexplained, Doug drives home from Niagara Falls at twilight many nights, usually alone. It's about 10 miles, 15 minutes, from pressbox to driveway. He exits I-190 at the Beaver Island ramp, hugging its right edge in deference to any mainstream traffic, which would be coming downhill from the left at a 140-degree angle.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Council, administrative hypocrisy, and that is the gospel truth If there isn't a walk-on resolution on the Niagara Falls City Council's upcoming last agenda before the August recess to change the zoning back to what it was prior to the South End Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission opening its hearts and doors, then the city council should just cease its hypocritical practice of even saying prayers before the meeting.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug 071714 GLYNN: Hochul retains a low profile as running mate If you're still not convinced that politics makes strange bedfellows, consider the report claiming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been keeping his running mate out of the spotlight.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Chiropractic doc wants to help area vets

    The idea came to her when she was running a half-marathon in June. Kristin Jacobsen is that type of person. The Pine Avenue chiropractor says she gets her best ideas when she runs. She also uses that time to pray.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Really good summer reading, still great after all these years I am always impressed by the power of the pen, or, in today's parlance; the keyboard. Words can bring joy; they can also bring sorrow; they can bring life, they can be deadly, and they can bring justice which can often deliver neither joy nor sorrow.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page