Owner of Building Where Chicago Firefighters Died Gets 6 Months

Chuck Dai, 65, pleaded guilty to contempt of court charges

The owner of a vacant Chicago building that collapsed in a fire in 2010 and killed two Chicago firefighters was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail.

Chuck Dai, 65, of South Holland, pleaded guilty to contempt of court charges after prosecutors said he failed to comply with an agreed court order requiring that his building be secured and structural roofing problems be fixed before the fire broke out on Dec. 22.

“Building owners have a legal and a civic responsibility," Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement, "to maintain their properties in our neighborhoods in a safe and responsible manner and this case represents our commitment to holding building owners accountable."

Circuit Court Judge James Obbish also ordered Dai to pay a $5,229 fine.

Prosecutors said Dai violated a 2009 court order to fix multiple code violations at the former laundry on East 75th Street.

The roof of the abandoned building collapsed in a December 2010 fire, killing firefighters Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer. Seventeen others were injured.

The fire came on the 100th anniversary of one of Chicago's most destructive fires: the Union Stockyards Fire that killed 21 firefighters.

“Urban blight is a very challenging community issue," Alvarez said, "and it is also a very serious public safety issue and we will do all that is possible to protect our first responders from the type of negligence that led to this terrible tragedy for the families of these public servants and the entire Chicago Fire Department."

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