DOWNTOWN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday praised firefighter Dan Capuano, killed in a warehouse blaze earlier this week, as a special person, then blasted the building owner whose alleged negligence contributed to the death.
Emanuel said he had visited with Capuano's widow, Julie, and their children in their Mount Greenwood home on Tuesday. "I came away saying to myself, 'You don't think they make people like Dan Capuano anymore,'" he said at a news conference at the Harold Washington Library.
Emanuel cited Capuano's work as a hockey coach and volunteer, saying he was "active in his neighborhood beyond just being a fireman."
Then he abruptly shifted tone, saying, "And some guy pulls a permit to fix a building and then breaks the law, takes the elevator out, and three kids are going to grow up without their father."
His voice breaking in anger, Emanuel added, "I hope that gentleman carries that the rest of his life on his conscience. The Capuano children deserve better than what he did."
Emanuel said the case was being referred to the Cook County state's attorney. The property owner is Anilroshi LLC, the city said.
City officials found the warehouse, in the 9200 block of South Baltimore Avenue, had had an elevator removed without the proper permit. Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Capuano "did not have a chance" when he fell down the open elevator shaft while fighting the early morning blaze on Monday.
The city is now working to have the building demolished.
Capuano's funeral is set for Friday at St. Rita High School.
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