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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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