“The children of a Chicago firefighter killed last December when the roof of an abandoned South Shore
laundromat collapsed during a fire are suing its owners for negligence and wrongful death.

Jennifer Stringer and Edward Stringer Jr. filed a civil suit Wednesday alleging that a failure by the owners — Chuck M.Dai and Richard Dai — to properly maintain the building directly resulted in the death of their father, Edward Stringer, 47, of Beverly, three days before Christmas. Their father died from ‘compressional asphyxia from a roof collapse,’ the lawsuit noted,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Another Chicago firefighter also lost his life in the fire – 34 year old Corey Ankum of Chatham. To date, no legal action has been pursued by a Chicago wrongful death attorney on behalf of the Ankum family.

Chicago wrongful death attorneys know that in situations like this, it is possible for the family to also pursue legal action against an employer – in this case, the Chicago Fire Department. In this case, the Stringers have been very clear that they do not blame the City of Chicago or the Fire Department for their father’s death in spite of a reports completed by a federal agency reviewing the fatal fire, which blamed both for “contributing factors” in the firefighters’ deaths. The deficiencies noted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health included the supply of radios for firefighters, and communication between both commanders outside with firefighters inside and the city’s Buildings and Fire departments regarding dangerous properties.

A Fire Department spokesman indicated that they had already begun addressing many of these issues prior to the NIOSH report. They plan to work with the Office of Emergency Management & Communications to identify abandoned and dangerous buildings, require more detailed communications between firefighters inside a building and their commanders outside, and plan to provide every firefighter a radio upon implementation of OEMC’s digital radio system next year.

The Stringers are seeking unspecified damages of over $100,000 as well as tougher enforcement and penalties from the City Council and State Legislature against dangerous building owners. The owners of the building in question had a long history of code violations – they had been sued by the city at least three times since 1987 and were cited for 14 code violations in 2007 alone, including the dilapidated roof which ultimately collapsed and killed Mr. Stringer.

Chicago wrongful death attorneys know that these types of accidents that lead to Chicago wrongful death are often preventable. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a tragedy and legal action on behalf of the deceased’s family to shed light on ways that Chicago wrongful death can be prevented in the future.