Porch/Stair Collapse

The apartment complex building at 1700-08 W. Estes Avenue in Rogers Park in Chicago, Illinois, registered to one Cameel Halim, an agent for CH Ventures, LLC and Wilmette Real Estate & Management, LLC, has been cited for 39 violations when city inspectors came to inspect it nine times over a 10-year period, public records showed as firefighters tried to extinguish a fire that started in the apartment building on Monday, January 11.

Citations made by the city against the apartment building included rotting window frames and doors, peeling paint, live rats, non-secured porches, water-damaged balconies, stagnant basement sewage, and open plaster in the basement ceiling, among others.

According to Chicago Fire Department commissioner Jose Santiago, one firefighter who responded to the scene of the fire at the apartment complex, instead of just helping extinguish a fire, got bonus injuries from falling from the third floor set of stairs after they collapsed. The quality of the stairs had in no way been affected by the fire; the stairs were rickety to begin with.

Also, Jenira Torres, a resident of 7106-12 N. Paulina Street, which was located near the property, said fire extinguishers could not be found in the building.

Attorneys at the Abel Law Firm say factors that may have contributed to such collapses are deteriorating support structure, too much weight heaped on the porches or stairs at the time of the accident, or shoddy or out-of-code construction.

The city of Chicago conducts porch inspections of structures and determines which might cause potential harm to their occupants or to people within their immediate vicinities, and give out this information to the state Department of Buildings. Aside from making sure that buildings are not made of substandard construction materials, local officials advise residents to avoid crowding or placing too many people in a single area at one time, especially on floors above ground and especially on porches.

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