Hancock Skyscraper Chicago: Fire Breaks Out, Injures One

November 22, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

An accidental fire at the John Hancock Building, one of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago, has left five people injured and dozens of angry residents. According to the Chicago Fire Department, the flames were rapidly contained and the people injured are in stable condition.

Hancock Skyscraper

A fire that broke at the John Hancock Building in Chicago, Illinois, has left several people injured. In a statement issued by the Chicago Fire Department, it was revealed that on Saturday, a fire broke out on the 50th floor of the John Hancock Building.

The blaze, which was accidental, produced heavy smoke in one residence situated on the east side. CFD Deputy Commissioner John McNicholas said the fire was brought under control before 3:30 p.m. and did not spread to other units, but the apartment where it originated was destroyed. The firefighters had a difficult time with the flames due to a snowstorm.

Hundreds of people were evacuated, and five of them were injured and taken to a local hospital. In a tweet posted by the Chicago Fire Department, it was revealed that two of the injured were in good condition while the other three were stable.

At a news conference after the fire, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy added that one police officer had suffered minor smoke inhalation, and he had been released from the hospital. McCarthy shared:

“He’s OK, he called his boss to tell him he was sorry for getting injured.”

Steve Brown and his family, who were at a restaurant located in the John Hancock Building, said staff members did not warn them about the fire and added:

“We had a suspicion that something was going on, but [I thought] if it was major, I’m sure they will let us know.”

Many residents of the building slammed management for mishandling the potentially dangerous situation. A person, who lives on the 59th floor, said:

“My girlfriend asked me if we had our oven on, and I said no, but she smelled something. I tried pressing elevator buttons but they did not work. Then I tried calling down to the front desk and couldn’t reach anyone — no one was answering.”

Another angry homeowner stated that the hallways were filled with smoke and went on to say:

“There was smoldering debris flying around, and I didn’t know what to do. I heard multiple times to stay inside. … People didn’t know what to do because we couldn’t get a hold of anyone. There wasn’t an announcement, and I checked my email, no email,

He added:

“People were kinda standing at their doorways waiting for direction or clarity on what to do.”

After the incident, building management took responsibility for failing their clients in an email that read:

“Management is on site and is beginning the process of evaluating the fire event that occurred on the 50th floor this afternoon. A more detailed message will be sent once the full details of the event have been ascertained. We are aware that the commercial entity’s alarm panel prevented effective communication from the CFD & the commercial entity staff is currently working on their communication issue. Emergency restoration services are onsite to begin the clean up process.”

The skyscraper, completed in 1970, is located at 875 North Michigan Avenue, and is one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. It has 100 stories and measures 1,127 feet and is home to offices and restaurants, 700 condominiums, and features America’s highest indoor swimming pool.

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    1. Joseph M says:

      What building is that in the photo? Doesn’t resemble the John Hancock center. I can’t find any photo of the Hancock center that show the window to structure proportions.

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