CHICAGO (CBS) — A Wednesday night porch collapse on the South Side is prompting inspections from the Chicago Department of Buildings, and records show this is not the first time the property has caught the attention of city inspectors.
Tunya Alexander said her family was bringing in groceries Wednesday night when the top of an exterior wooden staircase gave way from the second floor, sending four people to the hospital. Since last fall, Alexander has rented an apartment at the property on the 11700 block of South Church Street in the Morgan Park neighborhood.
“It came unloose like Jenga,” Alexander said. “Like Jenga. That’s how those planks fell from up under that porch.”
The city’s Department of Buildings cited the owner Thursday for having a “dilapidated and dangerous porch that will require plans and permit to replace.”
Records show prior to the collapse, the city had last inspected the property in 2008. That was a follow-up inspection after the city cited the former owner for several violations including failure to maintain exterior stairways in safe condition and in sound repair.
According to the city, the former owner arranged some repairs to the stairway but was eventually fined for part of the structure not being anchored.
It’s unclear if those violations contributed to the collapse or if the structure was ever fully repaired.
“All I know is I am in pain,” Alexander said. “My head hurts. My neck hurts. My legs hurt. My hip bone hurts.”
The current owner is responsible for fixing the damage caused by the collapse, a city spokesperson said.
Alexander said her adult cousin is still in the hospital. Her grandchildren, an 8-year-old and a 10-month old, are now out of the hospital and appear to be okay.
“Nobody should have to go through what we went through last night,” she said.
The Chicago Fire Department said at the scene that a large amount of debris and coolers stacked up put stress on the porch and contributed, but Alexander said many of those items were already underneath the porch.
According to Alexander, aside from the four people, there were two bags of mail, bags of groceries, and one cooler on top of the porch at the time of the collapse.
CBS 2 made several attempts to contact the current owner and we has not heard back.