Rooftop Water Tank Falls in Chicago; Three Injured

July 31, 2013
The wooden water tank fell from a 120-year-old building

July 31--Three people were injured when a wooden water tank fell from a 120-year-old condo building near Diversey Harbor in the Lakeview neighborhood this morning.

A woman was listed in critical condition and her boyfriend and another person were in fair to serious condition, according to the Chicago Fire Department. The woman and her boyfriend were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and the other person to St. Joseph's Hospital.

The black tank fell from a mount on the roof of the nine-story building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove Avenue shortly before 10 a.m., authorities said.

The tank appeared to have struck a small car in a parking lot in the rear of the building. It came to rest near two U-Haul trucks. Neighbors said the leases of many residents on the block had expired and several were moving out today.

A neighbor said he heard a loud noise "like a dump truck unloading," then someone yelling for help and asking anyone to call 911.

He walked down the block and saw a woman moving on the ground and a man who appeared to have abrasions on his side. The neighbor described the water tank as old and made of wood.

The woman and her boyfriend had been moving out of the building next door, witnesses said. The woman was hit by flying debris and her boyfriend was knocked down by "a wall of water," a witness said.

"I was in my bedroom and I heard a loud crash," said a resident of the building, Patricia Pappas, 24. "It was disturbingly loud. I looked out the window and I saw her. Her boyfriend was screaming, swearing.

"I yelled down and said to move the U-Haul trucks because I knew the ambulance would have to get through," Pappas said. "She looked unresponsive. She had cuts all over and her neck looked wrong."

Pappas said she could have been one of the victims because she's moving today too. "It easily could have been me. I passed him (the boyfriend) carrying a load downstairs."

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the woman "suffered a trauma. She suffered physical impact." Her boyfriend and the third person were less seriously injured.

Langford said the investigation would look "into the mechanics. . .Was any maintenance done recently? Did anyone check the mounts recently? Obviously the wind didn't blow it over."

The building is known the Brewster but originally was called Lincoln Park Palace when it was built in 1893. It is listed as a Chicago landmark.

The nine-story building features a large atrium with an operating cage elevator and glass-block walkways lit from below. The building was used in several movies, including "Child's Play" in 1988.

Copyright 2013 - Chicago Tribune

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