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Crackdown May Be Coming On Vacant Buildings

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75th Street Fire

Two firefighters were killed and 14 more were injured while fighting a fire at 1744 E. 75th St. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – The deaths last month of two Chicago firefighters in a roof collapse may result in a tougher law regarding vacant buildings.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, Ald. James Balcer (11th) has introduced a proposal, which would allow owners of vacant buildings to be jailed for up to six months if its determined code violations lead to death or injury.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

The goal, Balcer says, is to enhance current laws that require owners of abandoned buildings to make repairs and take steps to prevent people from getting inside.

Firefighters Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer were killed in the building at 1744 E. 75th St., which had once housed the Banner Laundromat and Dry Cleaners.

It was later discovered that the most recent time city inspectors looked at the building, they found 14 code violations and said building owner Chuck Dai had failed to maintain it “in a structurally safe and stable condition.” Two code violations related to the roof, including failure “to maintain roof in sound condition and repair.”

Under current law, building owners can only be fined up to $1,000 for violations.

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