[cifnmedia] Security Camera Pictures from Chicago Loop Fire

  • From: "Wilcox, Christopher M" <cmwilcox@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "CIFN LIST" <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 06:06:41 -0600



As It Happened

Security cameras capture action during high-rise fire

By Paul Meincke
January 23, 2004 - Security cameras captured the action during the Loop
high-rise fire that killed six people who were trapped in a smoke-filled
stairwell. In addition to giving us a good look at what happened during
the fire at the cook county administration building, the pictures are a
valuable tool for those working on the post-fire investigation. 

  ABC7: Images from high-rise fire
  ABC7 Video Clip <http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/video/0123pm43.html> 

The county administration building had at least ten security cameras
positioned to record a variety of angles. Most of them are in the lobby.
One of the cameras was pointed to the street in front and another on a
neighboring courtyard. 

There is no audio on the tape, but they are stamped with a precise time
of day and to that extent they are helpful to investigators who are
trying to establish who did what and when. 

It is the end of the workweek. Employees in the county building are
calling it a day. It's just before 5. A security guard is locking down
one of the revolving doors. 

A couple minutes later, there is suddenly more activity at the lobby's
main desk. This is about the time that a smoke alarm has alerted
security and the fire department is being called on the phone. 

At 5:06, the first fire truck arrives. Firefighters enter and start
heading for the 12th floor, where very soon, the flames will start
breaking through exterior windows. 

A security guard is already on the intercom telling building occupants
to evacuate using the stairwells. Children in the building's day care
center are evacuated. 

Soon the lobby is filled with firefighters and command officers. The
battle is already raging 12 floors above. It's also at this time that
workers on the upper floors - six of whom will perish -- have found
themselves caught in the southeast stairwell. 

Building management says there were no security cameras trained on the
main floor stairwell exit doors. It was there that some workers who
successfully escaped told security workers that people were trapped
behind them. 

As more gear and manpower heads in and up, the various security cameras
show tape of a situation that appears to be under control until eight
minutes to seven when the first of the victims in the southeast
stairwell is discovered. A plan two, then plan three EMS response is
called. Thirteen people are found in the southeast stairwell. 

Gurneys are rushed in and the victims brought down by elevator are moved
to wait for ambulances. Seven of them will survive. 

The state's attorney, who was among those trapped for a time in the
southeast stairwell, returns to the lobby and is on the phone trying to
account for the whereabouts of one of his employees -- Randy Roberts.
Randy Roberts was one of the survivors. 

The security tapes obtained by ABC7 NEWS show over 50 hours of tape shot
by ten different cameras. 

A rear lobby picture, which is where many of workers exited the
stairwells, and where some of the fire command operations were set up,
does not exist on he tapes we've obtained. A spokesperson for building
management says there were no cameras trained on those lobby stairwell

You can see the ABC7 report by clicking on the video icon above.  You
will need Real Player 8 to view this video. You can get it FREE by
clicking here
oice_c1&dc=777675> . NOTE: Video clips will only be available for
10-days from the date they were created.

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