Church Partially Collapses In Wicker Park

CHICAGO (CBS) – A vacant church under construction partially collapsed Monday morning in Wicker Park.

A collapse of the building’s north wall was reported around 6 a.m. at the vacant Mission Christiana Church, 1905 W. Schiller St.

Phil Luparello, owner of a local laudromat, describes the moment when he saw the church collapse.

“I hear this big bomb,” Luparello said.

After the collapse, he said there was dust.

“It was real black,” Luparello said. ‘You could not see through it at all.”

Luparello called 911 and then jumped out of his vehicle and ran to the scene of the collapse. He was scared people may have been trapped underneath, what had been a venerable Wicker Park church.

The good new was no one was hurt. Firefighters used the aerial ladder and heat sensing cameras to check the debris field. No thermal signatures were detected.

The bad news was many cars parked on the street were damaged from fallen trees and debris.

Tatiana Tien lives across the street from the church and slept right through the collapse. Walking outside was a rude awakening.

“I cried,” Tien said. “Not what you want to see in the morning.”

She wept because her mother’s car was one of at least half a dozen heavily damaged by the collapse. A large tree limb and other debris fell right on top of her Elantra.

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