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1 killed, 2 injured in building collapse

By Jessica D’Onofrio

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    CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago building officials are removing unstable parts of a Garfield Park home after a man died and two men were seriously injured when part of the home collapsed onto its front porch Tuesday.

Chopper7 was over the 3400-block of West Jackson Boulevard about 4 p.m. as Chicago firefighters pulled one of the men from beneath the rubble. He appeared to be talking as he was removed on a stretcher.

Chicago fire officials said a 32-year-old man and a 68-year-old man were critically injured and taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital for treatment.

Anthony Wright, 52, was trapped under the rubble and pronounced dead at the scene, fire officials and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury while responding to the scene.

Officials said the part of the building that collapsed onto the porch is called a “cockloft.” The officials said bricks crumbled, causing it to fail. The sound of the collapse was heard around the neighborhood.

“It was a loud crash and you felt the ground move,” said Teena Branch, neighbor and witness.

Greg Augustus, the closest neighbor to the home, rushed to help while firefighters were still on their way.

“I was able to lift two to three stones off one of the guys that was trapped in between. There was one screaming in pain and the other one tried to stay as calm as possible,” he said. “The one under the bottom didn’t have no response.”

Relatives said a father, his adult son and a cousin had been sitting on the front porch when the top of the home collapsed, crushing the porch and the men on it.

“They were hollering ‘Help;’ he was saying that somebody else was trapped in there,” Branch said of the victims as firefighters dug them out of the rubble.

According to Chicago’s Buildings Department, this home has failed two inspections, including one in 2015 that revealed more than half a dozen alleged code violations. One of those violations was for “failing to maintain the exterior walls of the building,” with city records noting “washed out mortar.”

Inspectors were on the scene trying to determine if the home was stable enough to remain standing or if it needed an emergency demolition.

Relatives said the woman who owns the building is a nurse who worked through the COVID pandemic.

They said she kept trying to get financial assistance to fix the building but was never able to secure any funds.

The family living in the home has been displaced.

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