CHICAGO — A worker died Thursday after a building collapsed in Bronzeville.
Chicago fire responded with a still-and-box alarm to the building in the 700 block of East Oakwood. Half of the building was occupied at the time of the incident, but residents were able to vacate the property. The other half of the building, which was being worked on, is where emergency crews rescued a worker who was reportedly 3-5 feet under debris.
In a press conference, Chicago fire said three people were working at the time when the building “just came down.”
At around 11:55 a.m., the worker was removed from the debris and transported in grave condition to the University of Chicago Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A man who wished to remain anonymous said he and his wife live near the construction site. The man’s wife was home when the collapse occurred.
“She was getting ready for work. She heard a loud sound, a loud bang, and then she felt the house shake a little bit,” he said. “She thought it was an earthquake.”
Due to the potential that the rest of the building may come down, Chicago fire was rotating 10 firefighters in and out of the “hot zone” as the rescue was happening. Throughout the afternoon, workers remained on site along with the city’s building department, assessing the structure’s integrity.
“It’s not clear how safe that is at this time, so our neighbors to the other side, they have to wait and stay out of the house until it’s been cleared,” the man who did not wish to be identified said. “So, they are going to demolish…”
The incident, the unidentified man says, is heartbreaking to those in the area.
“Devastated by it. It’s something that could have been avoided. We’ve been watching them do the construction here for over six months,” the man said. “Now it’s about taking care of my neighbors and making sure they have a place to stay, so we’re opening up our doors to them. My heart goes out to the families and the loved ones.”