I remember visiting Billy while I was undergoing some physical therapy. He was in one of the first Stryker beds.
-- (Anonymous, Friend - August 2009)
I lived next door to Billy (924 N St Louis). He was the fastest runner on the block. My most vivid pre-fire memory was a battle with the kids across the street-sailing old 78 RPM records at the other guys. Billy got a hit on his forehead-big time blood. Pearl passed out when she saw him!
We both had paper routes for the old Chicago American. I took on his routes [after the fire], which doubled my income, assuming he would make it. I recall visiting him very near the end (his Dad didn't permit it sooner), but by then it was all over.
-- (Leonard Blado, Friend - August 2009)
I was a freshman at Marquette Univ. when the fire occured. I saw in the paper the names of students and the hospitals they were in. I sent Billy a card; I picked his name at random. His mother wrote me back and I kept sending cards and later gifts from Marquette, banners, sweatshirts etc. A nun from the hospital would call me about his condition. I then got word that he died on August 9. I was shattered. I had made plans with the Marquette Basketball team to greet Billy at our university when he could travel. I did not know how seriously he was burned. I visited his grave site many times and I have a wreath placed on his grave every Christmas. I now live in Indiana. I have contact to this day with two of his classmates.
I wish I could have met him. God rest his soul.
-- (Larry Giantomas, Friend - August 2009)