Teen Dead After Fall in Vacant Building - NBC Chicago

Teen Dead After Fall in Vacant Building

City inspectors say building wasn't properly secured, cite owner



    Teen Dead After Fall in Vacant Building

    A Chicago teen died Monday evening, hours after being critically injured in a fall in a vacant  hospital building.

    The 16-year-old boy was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office as Jose Morales, of the 6100 block of West Eddy Avenue.

    He and two other teens entered the old Ravenswood Hospital, located at 1931 W. Wilson Ave., at around 3:30 a.m., police spokesman John Mirabelli said. It's believed they gained access through a fire escape.

    At some point Morales fell two to three stories inside the building. He sustained bleeding from the head and internal bleeding from the fall and was rushed to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he was initially listed in critical condition.

    The two other teen boys, age 17, were not injured, police said.

    "I've actually seen some kids go up the fire escape in the past and so it doesn't surprise me one bit," said David Fouty, adding that he's seen a number of teens around the building in the short time he's lived in the area. "It's a dangerous place. It doesn't look like anything good is happening there anymore."

    The property is now owned by Lycee Francais de Chicago (The French International School), which plans to demolish the complex and build a 90,000-square-foot school there.

    Tear down is expected to take six months to complete, due to environmental concerns including asbestos and lead.

    "It has to be done very carefully," Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said in April, according to Center Square Journal.

    Lycee is a private, not-for-profit pre-kindergarten through high school.

    Inspectors from the city’s Department of Buildings examined the old hospital on Monday and determined it was not securely maintained as defined by the vacant properties ordinance, said Department of Buildings spokeswoman Caroline Weisser.

    She said it is a vacant property owner’s responsibility to keep the property secure and the city issued a citation for violating the city ordinance. The owner’s will appear before a hearing officer, who will determine if the necessary repairs have been made and if a fine is appropriate.

    The city received a complaint about the building last December and issued a violation notice to Lycee Francais ordering the school to secure the site, city Department of Buildings spokeswoman Caroline Weisser said. An inspection in March found the building had been properly secured, Weisser said.

    A Lycee spokesperson could not be reached for comment Monday.

    Monday’s incident isn’t the first time a teen was injured on the property of a vacant hospital. On March 18, 2011, two 15-year-old boys who climbed onto the roof of the vacant Edgewater Medical Center in the 5700 block of North Ashland Avenue were injured as the result of an electrical transformer explosion.