Water tower falls from Lakeview roof, injures 3 - New York News

Water tower falls from Lakeview roof, injures 3

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A water tower fell from a building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove on Wednesday, injuring three people. (Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs) A water tower fell from a building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove on Wednesday, injuring three people. (Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs)
The mount that was holding a water tank that fell off a building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove Avenue Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs) The mount that was holding a water tank that fell off a building in the 2800 block of North Pine Grove Avenue Wednesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs)
Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs. Photo courtesy of Fire Media Affairs.
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Three people were injured — one critically — Wednesday morning when a water tower fell from the roof of a nine-story building in Lakeview.

Two people, including the person in critical condition, were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Fire Media Affairs said another person was taken to St. Joseph Hospital.

The wooden water tank — about 8 feet across and 12 feet high ­— fell at about 10 a.m. from the roof of a building at 2828 N. Pine Grove. Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said the fall took place after the tank's mounting bracket gave way.

A surveillance video from the scene shows debris from the crash falling on a man and woman getting into an Acura parked behind the building. The explosion of water critically injures the woman, throwing her onto the steps of a rear porch and pushing their car back several feet. The water washed the man away. Langford said debris also hit another woman getting out of a building across the alley.

"It was like a bomb went off," Davis recalls. "It was a huge huge noise and then there was just immediate screaming from the fella. I believe it's his girlfriend got hurt real bad."

A daycare worker standing in the doorway of the building next door was also injured.

"When she opened the door the thing came down and all the water and the wood came in and the impact pushed her back," witness Priscila Morales says.

"It's an old wooden water tank," Mike Fox explains. "It's about eight feet in diameter and 12 to 15 feet deep, so it holds a lot of water."

At this point, investigators don't know why the tank fell, Langford said. He described it as more than 100 years old, but modernized at some point with a liner.

"The tank came down intact, and shattered on impact with the ground, so it didn't fall apart on the roof," Langford says. "The mount gave way and it came down."

The city buildings department has launched an investigation with a number of inspectors at the scene. Records show in 2010, the city found several code violations related to exposed iron on the outside of the building.

A city spokesman says the building hired a structural engineer who found the water tank and its support structure in safe condition.

A fire department spokesman says it's clear the structural supports holding the tank above the roof failed.

The Brewster building is a city of Chicago historic landmark, built in 1894 and briefly home to silent film star Charlie Chaplin.

Exactly 118 years ago today, the building's owner died when he fell eight floors during construction.

There used to be thousands of water towers atop buildings in Chicago; most of them tied to fire sprinkler systems. Currently, about 150 survive. Most of the old water tanks like these are now empty, but someone familiar with the building said the tank is an integral part of supplying water to the condos in the Lakeview building.

The city says they are inspected by the buildings department on a routine basis and no one at the city can remember the last time one fell.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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