CHICAGO (SCS) — Chicago firefighters are working to cool down a north side apartment building where three people were found dead. Residents and their loved ones attribute these deaths to the sweltering heat.
Police and firefighters were on the scene Saturday afternoon at the James Sneider Apartments, a building for the elderly and disabled in Rogers Park.
Residents are devastated, upset and scared. They told CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray that they’ve been complaining about the heat to management all week. The city brought in a CTA bus to cool the residents as the cooling center management provided was not sufficient.
Gray went inside to speak to management and felt the intensity of the heat in the hallway before being evicted from the property.
“I don’t want to die in my apartment,” Loran Barnes said.
She is furious that two of her neighbors died on Saturday night from what she describes as heat exhaustion.
“Grace, I didn’t die, but my friends did,” she said.
Theresa Gregorczyk said she came to see her aunt because she didn’t show up for breakfast.
“When we walked into the apartment it was 102 degrees on the thermostat,” she said. “While we were with my aunt, mourning her, the ambulance arrived and there was another deceased person on the seventh floor.”
Chicago police said three women – 67, 75 and around 70 – were found unresponsive inside the James Sneider Apartments, which is a seniors’ residence.
The building is owned by the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation.
Linda Sharpe also lives in the building.
“Last night I couldn’t sleep. I was up until 3am. I was sweating, drinking a lot of fluids, but all night it was very uncomfortable,” he said. she stated.
Barnes said two of the deceased ladies lived on his floor.
“I’m so angry. I just told them I didn’t want to die in my apartment,” she said. “You can’t breathe in there.”
Barnes said she called Ald. Maria Haddon on Thursday about the lack of fresh air. She immediately came over and spoke to the management.
“Their interpretation of the city ordinance is that they have to provide heat through June 1, but they assured me they had that planned, so they turned off the heat,” Haddon said.
And they installed a cooling room with air conditioning units, but residents said it was still hot in there.
We don’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this,” Barnes said.
Haddon said another reason the air conditioning was not on was the difficulty of turning off the boiler and then turning on the chillers. She and State Representative Kelly Cassidy, along with volunteers, went inside and performed health checks.
CBS 2 contacted the chairman and president of the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, but did not hear back.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released the following statement:
“Earlier today, the City of Chicago responded to calls for service which led to the discovery of deaths in the same residential building. Currently, representatives from the City of Fire, Buildings, Department of Family Services and support, and others are on the scene to help residents A unit-by-unit wellness check is underway by the Chicago Fire Department and city officials are monitoring building management in the failover air conditioning in the building. In addition, a cooling bus is available for residents. the investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. We will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure that the residents of the buildings are in security and we will ensure that building management is accountable for the care of its residents. We will provide a further update when more information becomes available. If of residents experiencing uncomfortable hot temperatures in their buildings, they should call 311 and building management. ent and the City will respond.