As reported in CBS’ Historic Auburn-Gresham Building Torn Down After Partial Collapse, shortly after noon on Tuesday, January 31st, four people were injured when a three story historic building partially collapsed. The building, located on the northeast corner of 79th and Halsted, has been vacant for 20 years and was originally constructed in the 1880’s. It is owned by the city of Chicago. The debris falling from the building injured people on the street and caught two others under scaffolding.
Firefighters worked to remove the victims and searched under the rubble for an alleged fifth victim. According to the Chicago Fire Department it appears the top of the building’s brick façade collapsed along the roofline causing it to fall below. The scaffolding surrounding the building buckled as the roofline collapsed, trapping several pedestrians. Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Robert Hoff included that a tree had grown through the building’s roof and believes years of neglect, along with recent weather conditions, and the age of the building led to the building’s collapse.
Three victims were taken in fair-to-serious condition to local hospitals while a fourth victim was taken to St. Bernard hospital in good-to-fair condition. Their injuries were not life threatening. As of yet no fifth victim has been found and officials stress that news on the alleged fifth victim are unconfirmed. Carl Dean who was walking under the scaffolding around the building when he was thrown to the ground described it as, “I heard just a little crackling noise, you know, like pebbles falling onto the tin roof. Before you know it, the whole thing came down. I was trapped under it.” Tuesday night crews worked with a crane to bring down the upper floors and demolish the building.
Victims should know their legal rights. Thankfully no one was critically hurt but shame on the property owner for letting the building get to such condition. Since there was a tree growing through the building it is fair to say that the responsibility falls on the property owner for not keeping up with the building. Blaming recent weather conditions hardly seems to justify the tree growing through the building.
If you or a loved one have experienced a similar situation and need to know your legal rights contact expert lawyers Zneimer & Zneimer p.c. for a free personal injury consultation.