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Bronzeville awning collapse leaves two injured, one critically


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    CHICAGO, Illinois (WBBM) — Two people are injured, one critically, after a heavy stone awning fell on them during home renovations Saturday afternoon.

It happened in the 4400 block of South Vincennes in Bronzeville around 12:45 p.m.

The two injured men were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center. A 56-year-old man has already been released from the hospital. A 57-year-old man is being treated for critical injuries.

Neighbors said the men had been working at that site for weeks before this collapse.

Now heavy cut stones lay in a pile by the front door. Neighbors say the sheer weight of them is evident by the bend left in the fence after their fall.

“These homes were built a long time ago, and if you don’t keep them up that is what happens,” said Richard Taylor, who lives next door.

Taylor’s family has owned the house next door since 1920. It’s the same address that’s on his birth certificate from 1935. He says he has seen the neighborhood change. Historic houses that require a lot of maintenance have been cleared away, leaving empty grass lots in their place.

“You always have something to do, work that needs to be done on the house,” he said.

Taylor says there’s been a crew of three men working at this house for about two weeks, though he wasn’t sure exactly what they were working on. He was home during the accident and went outside to see several fire trucks in the street.

A Department of Buildings representative said they came after the collapse to secure the site. They were concerned about the stones still hanging overhead. They say it’s too early to know what caused the collapse, and they likely won’t have any information about permits until Monday.

Even after the accident, residents say they hope the structure is saved in a neighborhood known for its historic buildings.

“Some of it has been compromised, but I don’t want to see them tear it down,” said neighbor Clyde Smith. “I definitely want to see them keep it restored and rehabbed, so, yeah, I enjoy the area.”

CBS 2 tried to talk with a man leaving through the front door of that building, but he did not stop.

Representatives from the building department say they would have closed off all access to the building if they thought there was a risk of any more collapse or structural instability.

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