A fire department spokesman called the death of a Chicago firefighter “maddening” and a tragedy that could have been easily avoided if the building’s owner had been following the law.
The city says there was no permit for the elevator work going on at that site.
The Department of Buildings says its inspectors found unauthorized work was being performed at a warehouse at 92nd and Baltimore., including the complete removal of the elevator which left the gaping hole that firefighter Daniel Capuano fell into.
Capuano was found in the basement having tumbled two stories down the elevator shaft while searching through thick smoke for the source of the flames. He died at the hospital.
WGN News reached out to the person listed as the building’s owner but have not gotten a response.
The Building Dept says when its inspection is completed it will report the findings to the Cook County circuit court for prosecution.
This is the second death of a firefighter from Tower Ladder 34 in just five years. Capuano replaced Corey Ankum at the firehouse when Ankum and Ed Stringer were killed fighting a blaze on the South Side three days before Christmas 2010. A rotting roof came down on top of them during that fire. The building’s owner was sentenced to six months in jail.