This is clearly not the case since 24 students perished in her second floor classroom.
Nowhere in news reports in the days and weeks after the fire is there any
mention of students crawling across a teacher's body over a flaming gap in a stairwell. In fact, had any students from the
north wing second floor classrooms actually made it to a stairwell, the death toll would have been much lower.
The death toll was high precisely because the fire trapped students and teachers in their north wing second floor classrooms,
preventing them from reaching the stairways.
Perhaps Sister Helaine, the faculty member most seriously injured in the fire, was chosen to be honored, as she suggested,
as representing all the Sisters who risked their lives that day saving children. In any case, the origin of such wild stories as
students crawling across Sister Helaine's body over a flaming stairway remains a mystery.