Building Owner Charged After Fatal Blaze

A vacant building collapsed and killed 2 firefighters in December 2010

By Kristin Callahan
|  Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011  |  Updated 7:20 PM CDT
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A vacant building collapsed and killed 2 firefighters in December 2010.

A vacant building collapsed and killed 2 firefighters in December 2010.

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Deceased Firefighter's Family Files Lawsuit

Oct. 19, 2011: Edward Stringer died in 2010 during a fire at a vacant former dry cleaning business when the roof collapsed.
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Nearly a year after a fire killed two Chicago firefighters, criminal charges have been filed against the owner of the vacant building where the blaze began.

Chuck Dai, owner of the former dry cleaning business at 1744 E. 75th St., is accused of failing to comply with court-ordered requirements to repair and secure the building.

Firefighters Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum were killed a year ago tomorrow while searching the burning building when the roof collapsed on them. Ankum had been on the force for nearly two years. Stringer was a 12-year veteran.

The former business had been vacant for years and became a common place for homeless people to seek shelter. It previously had been cited for several code violations, including some that may have been directly related to the wall and roof collapsing, trapping both men.

City building inspectors ordered Dai to repair the roof in 2007, noting that it had holes in it and was leaking and rotten in some areas.

Records show that other violations also included cracked and defected walls, broken and loose windows, a crumbling chimney and a stagnant pool of sewage in the basement.

The report concluded that Dai had failed to maintain the structure in a safe and stable way.

Stringer's family filed a lawsuit against the owner in October. Jennifer Stringer, his 23-year-old daughter who filed the suit with her brother, called the morning of the Dec. 22, 2010 fire "unforgettable."

"Two heroic firemen are not here today because the roof of the abandoned building collapsed," Jennifer Stringer said, reading from a prepared statement as she introduced the lawsuit.

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