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Water-Tank Accident Probed by Buildings Department

By Ted Cox | August 2, 2013 5:16pm | Updated on August 2, 2013 5:34pm
 The Chicago Fire Department said a water tower fell and left three people hurt.
Water Tank Plunges to Ground
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CHICAGO — The city's Department of Buildings is trying to determine what caused a water tank to fall from the top of a Lakeview apartment building this week.

The accident injured three on Wednesday, and left a woman hospitalized in critical condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. On Friday, two of the victims hired a prominent Chicago law firm and sued the building's owner, Brewster Condominium Corporation.

The water tank, which was operational, fell from the top of the Brewster Apartments at 2800 N. Pine Grove Ave. The building was cited in a 2010 city inspection, which ordered building managers to "relocate steel bands to original position on water tank."

According to mayoral spokesman Bill McCaffrey, city inspectors never formally confirmed those repairs were made, instead accepting a report from a structural engineer.

"The owners submitted a report from a licensed structural engineer that deemed that the water tank and its support structure were in a safe condition," McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey said that's standard operating procedure, in that iron inspections are only performed every five years. According to McCaffrey, the structural engineer's report was written by Advanced Consulting Group. The company did not reply to requests for comment Friday.

An architect who won a 2005 competition on preserving rooftop water tanks has said his idea could still be adopted to renovate and revitalize the structures. There are about 150 across the city, and a 90-day delay on demolishing any rooftop water tank, passed by preservationists in 2006, remains in effect.