Reporting Susanna Song
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A senior citizen is refusing to leave her South Side home, even though it’s literally crumbling around her.
But as CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, neighbors are worried that the dilapidated state of the woman’s house could put their homes in danger too.
Part of the roof and the entire front porch collapsed Thursday night at the woman’s rowhouse at 3832 S. Calumet Ave. in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Bricks and crumbled debris were left scattered all over.
“It just came out real fast,” said neighbor Elise Willoughby. “We had no idea it was ready to fall.”
Willoughby told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones that strangely enough, she and another neighbor were just commenting on the building right before the collapse.
“I looked, and I said, ‘It looks like it’s ready to fall down,’ so we just continued talking for about 10 minutes, and then it came down,” she said.
Police and fire crews responded quickly, and found the elderly woman living inside. They tried to get her to spend the night elsewhere, but she refused.
“She’s still in the house,” Willoughby said. “She is still in there, and we’re concerned.”
Neighbors say structural problems at the rowhouse are nothing new.
“This has been an existing problem for probably the last maybe five or 10 years,” said Jimmie Greenlee Jr., who lives next door. “We’ve been talking to the City of Chicago about this property.”
City inspectors came by on Thursday night to assess the roof. They will decide whether the building must be deemed uninhabitable.
Meanwhile, Greenlee said the building is becoming a nuisance for him.
“One of the conditions were when it rains in her building due to the fact that her roof is that way, we get rain in our back – the enclosed porch – as well as the whole building,” he said. “We had to have electricians come in and disconnect some of the electric wiring in the back of the room to keep the rain from getting in.”
No one was hurt in the collapse, but police say there was no warning when the porch fell.
Overnight, police returned to the scene because bricks were falling down again.