[cifnmedia] Officials Urge Wider Chicago Fire Probe

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 16:13:24 -0700 (PDT)

Updated: 10-20-2003 04:03:59 PM

Officials Urge Wider Chicago Fire Probe

CHICAGO (AP) -- Two top county officials are seeking a wider investigation of 
the government office building fire that killed six people and trapped one of 
the officials in a smoke-filled stairwell. 

``We have to understand better what is supposed to be done,'' Cook County 
State's Attorney Richard Devine said Sunday, calling for a sweeping study of 
fire safety regulations and rescue procedures. 

County Public Guardian Patrick Murphy called for an independent investigation 
of the blaze and the evacuation of the 35-story building. 

Devine was among those trapped Friday afternoon as employees tried to leave the 
building through two stairwells, where many of the doors were found to be 
locked. Three of the people who died in the fire were employees of Murphy's 

As many as 2,500 people are in the downtown Cook County administration building 
during business hours. 

The building remained closed Monday, officials said. 

Cook County Board President John Stroger said Sunday he had asked for a 
feasibility study on the possibility of installing sprinklers throughout the 
building. Because it was built before 1975, the city fire code does not require 
sprinklers above the ground floor. 

Although the cause of the fire has not been determined, officials have said 
they do not believe it was arson. 

Federal investigators were focusing on light fixtures in a 12th floor storage 
room as a possible cause of the fire because employees of the Illinois 
Secretary of State's office said they first spotted flames near the room's 

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives hired an 
electrical engineer to test the fixtures, wires and switches. Results might not 
be available for as long as two weeks, ATF spokesman Tom Ahern said. 

After the blaze was brought under control, firefighters found a dozen people 
unconscious in a stairwell and halls. Five were still hospitalized early 
Monday, some in serious and critical condition. 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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