THE LOOP — The family of firefighter Dan Capuano filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday alleging that the owner of the building where he died was negligent in violating safety standards.
Capuano was called to a fire in a warehouse in the 9200 block of South Baltimore Avenue early Monday morning when he fell two stories through an open elevator shaft. He later died of his injuries.
The suit charges that there was an "open elevator shaft" and "gaping holes" on the top floor of a two-story building, and that there were "no covers or guardrail system" to protect anyone from falling through them.
Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford later said Capuano "did not have a chance" after falling down the elevator shaft.
On Wednesday, city inspectors found that the building's owner, Anilroshi LLC, had violated building codes by leaving the shaft uncovered without barriers.
That omission is to blame for Capuano's death, his widow, Julie Capuano, alleges in her lawsuit, which charged Anilroshi was contractor on the repairs being made, which also did not have the proper permits.
The suit charged the building owner was "negligent" and displayed "willful and wanton misconduct."
"The defendant blatantly violated [federal safety] regulations and City of Chicago regulations," Capuano family attorney Robert Napleton said, according to the Tribune. Napleton called Capuano "a world-class father, husband, son and friend."
Around the same time the lawsuit was filed, a judge ruled that the building should stay standing while investigators continue to gather evidence. City officials had filed an emergency motion Tuesday to have it demolished.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel scolded the building owner for his alleged negligence Wednesday, saying, "I hope that gentleman carries that the rest of his life on his conscience. The Capuano children deserve better than what he did."
The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
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