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Thursday, 22 November 2007 01:12

Chicago Office Fire Raises Plenty of Questions

Written by  Janette Ballman

A recent fatal fire at a Chicago office building demonstrates the need for established evacuation plans and clear communication with emergency personnel. The fire, which occurred at the Cook County Administration Building on Oct. 17, 2003, killed six people and injured 15 who were trapped in a smoke-filled stairwell. Questions surround the rescue procedures used by the fire department and the methods of evacuating the buildings’ occupants, according to published reports. “I wish I could tell you that every aspect of this event went as well as we liked,” Cortez Trotter, Chicago’s emergency management director, told the Chicago Herald. “That is simply not the case.” Edward S. Devlin, a leading contingency planning consultant, said, “From reading the newspaper reports it appears a lot of mistakes were made. We don’t know all the details of what went on, but it sounds like there was a breakdown in communications.” Despite numerous 911 calls from the trapped