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Building where Chicago firefighter died to be demolished

A photo by city inspectors shows an open elevator shaft inside a three-story warehouse at 9213 S. Baltimore. Chicago Firefighter Daniel Capuano was killed when he plunged into the open shaft inside the burning building during a search. | Provided photo

The owners of a South Side warehouse where a firefighter was killed last month agreed Wednesday in court to allow the city to demolish the building.

Attorney Patrick Cummings, who represents Anilroshi LLC — a contracting company that owns the building and was doing work on it at the time of the fire — said his clients agreed to pay to have the building torn down despite the fact that it remains structurally sound.

“It’s a matter of doing what’s right and my client continues to be concerned about this tragedy,” Cummings said Wednesday after a court hearing at the Daley Center.

But demolition of the property at 9213 S. Baltimore will have to be delayed because on Wednesday morning inspectors found a neighboring building at 9227 S. Baltimore to be structurally unsafe and potentially hazardous. The building houses a chicken packaging plant.

The business was ordered shuttered, and city attorneys plan to file a complaint seeking emergency demolition of the neighboring building.

Daniel Capuano | Provided photo

Large amounts of ammonia were being drained improperly from the packaging plant into the sewer, Deputy Corporation Counsel Kimberly Roberts said.

Circuit Court Judge Pamela Hughes Gillespie said Wednesday that it was fortunate flames didn’t reach 1,500 pounds of ammonia that was stored in the basement.

The city hopes both buildings will be torn down at the same time. A hearing on the case was scheduled for Feb. 10.

Gillespie said she was “disappointed” that city inspectors had not been to the fire-damaged warehouse to ensure that gaping holes in the building such as the elevator shaft where firefighter Daniel Capuano, 42, plunged to his death on Dec. 14 had been covered, as she had previously ordered.

Gillespie said she wanted to be sure that if another fire broke out at the building firefighters would be protected.

Arrangements were hastily made in court for a city inspector to return to the property at 10 a.m. Thursday to make sure the safeguards — which Cummings said had been put in place — are sufficient.

City Hall accused Anilroshi LLC contractors last month of making major renovations to the warehouse — including removing an elevator — without the proper permits or inspections to ensure that the elevator shaft and other floor openings were properly surrounded or sealed.

A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Capuano’s wife against the building’s owner is pending. Capuano, a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, had three children.