Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Man tells how wife fled from Loop fire
Hearings resume after 2 months

Thursday, May 20, 2004
Chicago Tribune
by Jon Yates

As she regained consciousness in the intensive care unit, fire victim Karen Griffin asked her husband, Gene, if anyone had died in the Oct. 17 blaze at the Cook County Administration Building.

"Yes," Gene told her. "Six people died."

Karen Griffin began crying. The 41-year-old had fled down the building's southeast stairwell when an evacuation was ordered, then was sent back up before she got outside. Locked stairwell doors trapped her inside, and the thickening smoke nearly took her life.

"But we did what they told us to," she told her husband at the hospital.

The scene recalled Wednesday by Gene Griffin marked the first public testimony in almost two months before the county-appointed commission investigating the fire.

More public hearings are expected in June, just as several groups, including the county panel headed by former U.S. Appellate Judge Abner Mikva, are scheduled to wrap up their reports on the blaze.

At Wednesday's hearing, the panel heard from industry experts who described the importance of sprinklers and unlocking doors.

Michael LaMont, director of the county's Office of Capital Planning and Policy, described how his office had received requests in 2002 and last year for sprinklers to be installed in the building at 69 W. Washington St.

Both times, LaMont said, the requests from the building's management company were given a low priority, because the company said the lack of sprinklers did not violate city codes.

The requests were rejected, LaMont said, in favor of other capital projects that were considered more important.

Since the October fire, the County Board has approved a $10 million sprinkler project for the 37-story building. LaMont said that project is 80 percent complete. The county is installing a new fire alarm system, and it has replaced the stairwell doors with doors that automatically unlock if a fire is detected, he said.

Six people were killed from smoke inhalation after becoming trapped in the southeast stairwell. The building was not equipped with sprinklers, and the stairwell doors locked upon shutting, creating a trap for those who tried to escape, including Karen Griffin.

In a statement read by her husband, Griffin said she left her office on the 27th floor and fled down the southeast stairs after hearing the evacuation order, but she was sent back up at the 12th floor along with others.

Griffin said that she thought the person telling the group to go back up was a firefighter, but she did not see him.

Griffin's statement corroborates testimony from earlier witnesses who said firefighters sent them back up the stairs, which soon filled with smoke. No firefighter has admitted telling the evacuees to turn around.

Attorneys for the panel said they plan to resume hearings in mid-June with testimony from the commission's forensic experts. Mikva said the "opportunity is open" for former Fire Commissioner James Joyce to testify, but he said no such testimony has been scheduled.

The panel expects to complete its final report within two months.

 

 



Recent Headlines

Cannabis, gambling taxes to boost county amid long-term budget woes
Thursday, July 02, 2020
The Daily Line

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

'Going To Do The Best We Can': Cook County Adjusts Outreach Strategy For US Census Due To COVID-19
Thursday, July 02, 2020
WBBM Radio

Why local school districts are lining up against Fritz Kaegi
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How COVID-19 threatens health care in Cook County
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County’s new website shows nearly half of census funds spent on advertising, marketing
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County opens more in Phase 4
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Daily Herald

Dart, other county sheriffs demand state prisons start accepting inmates again
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A COVID-19 surge in your county? New Illinois website offers ways to check.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois raise minimum wage Wednesday
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Daily Line

Illinois ends June with about half the daily COVID-19 deaths and new cases as in peak month of May
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx confirms office will err on side of dismissing cases related to protests, curfew
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx plans to drop charges against those violating curfew, Fox 32 news reports
Monday, June 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois minimum wage increases take effect July 1
Monday, June 29, 2020
ABC 7 Eyewitness News

Home property taxes still rising despite bigger hike on business
Monday, June 29, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Illinois announces 15 additional coronavirus deaths, lowest one-day total since March
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Former county health chief: Racism common factor in deaths in ’95 Chicago heat wave, COVID-19
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

‘And She Could Be Next’ profiles grassroots political heroines of the moment
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Amazon to open two new fulfillment centers in south suburbs
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Cook County courts reopening July 6
Friday, June 26, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP