The city of Chicago has taken emergency action to make repairs to a building after a 22-year-old woman was critically injured by falling debris on Wednesday.
According to authorities, the city filed an emergency motion to require immediate repairs to the building, located at the corner of Ashland and Milwaukee in the Noble Square neighborhood.
Red and yellow police tape remains on the scene in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee, but extended scaffolding has also been installed one day after the woman was struck in the head by a falling piece of limestone.
“It’s horrible. It’s absolutely horrible, and it could have been prevented,” West Town Dental Group owner Jose Khalifa said.
Khalifa runs the business, which is next door to the building where the debris fell on Wednesday. He says that large pieces of the building’s façade began falling more than three weeks ago.
“When we saw what fell down the first time, we thought ‘God, this could kill somebody,’” he said. “The city came out and they asked us if we knew the owners, and they put the scaffolding up right away.”
The original scaffolding didn’t provide enough protection however, and after Wednesday’s incident the city has taken action against the owner of the building.
“The city filed an emergency motion today in the Circuit Court for an immediate appointment of a receiver to make the necessary repairs to the façade,” the city told NBC 5 in a statement. “The court granted the city’s motion and the receiver is already on-site. This will be in addition to other enforcement actions against the owner.
Khalifa says that he has not seen anybody in the building in over five years, but says he hopes that the city will hold the owner accountable in order to protect the pedestrians who pass by the busy corner every day.
“I’ve told my staff to stay away from that corner now. Even with the scaffolding this woman got hurt,” he said.