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City Continues Effort To Raze Warehouse Where Firefighter Fell To His Death

(CBS) – The city of Chicago on Thursday continued efforts to demolish the vacant Southeast Side warehouse where firefighter Daniel Capuano was fatally injured earlier this week.

Demolition, if it happens, won't occur right away, CBS 2's Derrick Blakley reports.

"We felt the warehouse was not safe for people and the public and we wanted to make sure that it was wrecked immediately," Kimberly Roberts, city of Chicago deputy corporation counsel, told reporters in court.

City officials say the building is unsafe because the elevator was removed, leaving an open shaft where Capuano, 42, fell to his death early Monday at 92nd and Baltimore as smoke from a rubbish fire obscured his vision.

"Permits were applied for. The work we've seen is beyond the scope of those permits," Roberts said.

Judge Pamela Gillespie said she was concerned, too, about continuing danger and wants the holes covered.

The judge allowed two weeks for attorneys for all sides to inspect and videotape the interior before owner Jantil Patel does the repairs.

Patel was not in court Thursday, but his attorney was.

Firefighter Remembered At Visitation

A preliminary report by a structural engineer concludes the warehouse won't collapse, at least for now.

Any repairs must be done by Jan. 2, with all parties back in court Jan. 6.

Attorneys for the owner signaled part of their defense. They said no citations or code violations were ever issued against the warehouse.

Also Thursday, mourners streamed into St. Rita High School, on Chicago's South Side, Thursday to pay their respects at visitation for Capuano.

Hundreds stood in lines that snaked through the corridors of St. Rita High School.  Some knew Capuano well, said he was a leader from the day he joined the department and said he looked forward to a promotion to lieutenant.

Others, such as Chicago Fire Department retiree Tom Cook, wanted Capuano's family to know they appreciated his service, and their sacrifice.

"We're all here just to say a kind word or two," Cook said.

Other firefighters came from the suburbs, downstate Illinois and far-flung parts of the country. Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen said he believed there was a firefighter contingent from Europe.

While most mourners were from the fire service, in dress uniforms, dozens of youngsters were on hand as well, in hockey sweaters. They were players from Vikings Youth Hockey. Capuano was an off-ice coach whose sons also play for the league's St. Jude team.

The funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Friday in the chapel of St. Rita High School, 7720 S. Western Ave.


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