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Building Where Four Killed in Fire Cited for Safety Violations

January 20, 1996

CHICAGO (AP) _ Some residents could begin returning Tuesday to the 10-story apartment building where four people died in an early-morning fire that burned to 1,500 degrees and buckled steel beams.

The building was cited Friday for more than 30 new building code violations after residents complained that they had been pleading with the building’s managers for years to repair non-working fire alarms.

The federally subsidized, 145-unit building is owned by a Los Angeles-based corporation that has changed managers several times, said City Council member Toni Preckwinkle.

The current manager is a company owned by Elzie Higgonbottom, a key member of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 1994 campaign finance committee.

Dozens of occupants and firefighters were injured as some residents tried to jump to safety Thursday from upper-story windows. One woman leaped to her death; the other victims were found in the building.

Brian Hurley, an attorney for the management company, said the managers hope to have the property reopened and upper floors reoccupied by Tuesday.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development had cited health and safety violations as far back as September 1994, and the city had cited the owners last year for code violations, including missing smoke detectors.

But the building, built in 1972, wasn’t required to have working fire alarms or a sprinkler system because it was built three years before the city began requiring such safety systems, fire officials said.

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