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City sued owner of building where Chicago firefighters Stringer & Ankum died. Cited unsafe roof. Commissioner says no fire in truss portion. Before & after pictures, diagram & timeline.

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Chicago Fire Department

WFLD-TV reports the City of Chicago had filed suit against the owners of the abandoned building where Firefighter Corey Ankum and Firefighter Edward Stringer died.

In 2007 inspectors found 14 building code violations, including rotting trusses and holes in the roof of the building in the 1700 block of East 75th Street. They determined the building was not safe and was unstable.

Now Chicago officials say that city attorneys are reviewing further action against the owners. This could include a  $500 per day fine for each violation. They are also looking at the possibility of a criminal prosecution.

Here are excerpts from the story by Dane Placko and Steve Chamraz:

Count seven of the lawsuit says there were holes in the roof, which was rotted through and leaky.

A before and two after shots of Sing Way Laundry building. Click here for the Bing Birds Eye View of 1744 East 75th Street.

Count nine demands the building owners restore the roof’s load-bearing capacity, after inspectors found the trusses in the roof– the wooden support beams– were rotted and vented.

That may well explain why the roof collapsed on the firefighters, even though the fire was confined to a small area nowhere near the trusses.

Last year the building’s owners entered into a consent decree, saying they would either repair the violations or sell the property by Nov. 1, 2010, but the building department said they did neither.

Firefighters are instructed not to enter a burning bow truss roof building.

They surround the fire and drown it with water as quickly as possible.

But there is an exception to that policy.

If firefighters believe someone could be inside the building, they conduct a search and rescue operation as they would in any other structure fire.

Click the image for the Google Maps Street View of the building and neighborhood.

People in the neighborhood told firefighters that the homeless used the abandoned dry cleaning business as a place to sleep on cold nights.

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  • Heavy Heart

    1st off this is horrible and my heart goes out to the families of these brave men, and to all their friends and fellow workers who will never truly go through another Christmas season without having that pain in the heart that they will only be able to mask with a fake smile.
    Maybe Chicago and every other municipality utilize a building marking system, a 911 caution note and any other proigram that will identify known buildings that firefighters will not enter nor do any work other than defensive master streams, no matter what t he incident. This building was not worth the loss. Firemen will be firemen and try to save even the homeless, but there needs to be a line drawn.
    God bless these men.

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  • Tailpipe

    Where do you draw the line? The homeless? Whos next, the poor? This is a dangerous job. Always has been and always will be.

  • Pingback: 2 Chicago firefighters die after building collapse – updates « chicagoareafire.com

  • Heavy Heart

    Great to hear from the 1950′s, Unfortunately some people are still stuck in them.

  • Pingback: Who Are Fallen Firefighters Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum? Plus Building had Previous Violations | The Fire Critic

  • TopJake

    Why are they working on the roof of a vacant building Tailpipe. Risk nothing to save nothing right? We all know the dangers of our job, we aren’t supposed to add to them. I’ve been on too many roofs of buildings I didn’t need to be and got lucky. We have to stop taking chances with our lives when there is nothing to save. Aggressive doesn’t have to be reckless.

  • Just My 2 Cents

    Ladies and gentlemen, PLEASE, this is not the time to bicker back and forth about what you feel “should have” been done. The bottom line is, we all have suffered a loss, but none more than the families of those involved. Please keep that in mind…..

  • Anonymous

    I agree obviously in 2007 there was a problem with this building.

    There is a line, and yes this is a dangerous job. However we are charged with saving saveable lives, and can only do so if the building and fire conditions allow us.

    This building was in no condition to enter even if 100 people were in there. Add to that the heavy fire conditions and the fact that finding viable victims in the middle of an occupied commercial occupancy is hit or miss this had disaster written all over it.

    No disrespect intented to the fallen, but if we truly want to honor there lives we have to learn from there mistakes.

    RIP and god bless

  • HOOKMAN

    Unless you’ve not had the mindset before, that the building isn’t vacant until we say it is, you safety preachers will continue to preach. You’ll never see it the way they do or anyone else who has this mentality, if you’ve never been in this type of enviroment. I’m sure if they were alerted by their communications that this was an unsafe structure, they would not have entered or would have taken extreme precautions. These men are FIREMAN, not FIREFIGHTERS…..There’s a big difference, some people have attended too many conferences, have limited fireground experience and base their knowledge of the many books they’ve read…..2 brave fireman have died doing what they were supposed to be doing, their jobs….May they go easy into heaven and god look over there families….

  • Moggy7

    Building marking systems are not the way. Here in Florida we’ve had a marking system since 2009 after the death of 2 firefighters in Orange County. There is NO difference in the identifying symbol between a huge Walmart complex and a 5′ x 5′ out building. A little common sense goes a long way. We all know the danger. I am at the end of a 30 year FD carreer. It is so sad to see the loss of brothers like this. :-(