Chicago Construction Worker Dies in Building Collapse Accident

The 141-year-old vacant building partially collapsed, trapping the worker under three to five feet of rubble.   January 24, 2023

By Greg Zimmerman, senior contributing editor

A construction worker was killed in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood when the 141-year-old building he was working on partially collapsed on top of him. It took Chicago firefighters nearly an hour to hand dig him out of the three to five feet of rubble. They weren’t able to use any mechanical equipment for fear that it would cause the already unstable building to collapse further. The worker was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to NBC5. 

The Chicago Department of Buildings is still working to determine what caused the collapse. Crews had been working on the building since last summer, according to a neighbor, but the Department of Buildings had only issued a permit for Interior Demolition in September, 2022. ABC7 reports that the work being done the day of collapse was not in compliance with this permit. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into why the unoccupied three-story building collapsed and whether there might have been safety red flags that would’ve precluded workers working on the building. 

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for and Building Operating Management magazine. 


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