Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

County fire tragedy could have been avoided

Monday, October 25, 2004
Chicago Tribune
by Robert A. Clifford

Chicago -- With all due respect to John Stroger, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners ("Editorial about fire unfair to Cook County," Voice of the people, Oct. 18), I must agree with the Tribune's Oct. 6 editorial "Chicago's next high-rise tragedy."

It was a sad day after reading the Mikva and Witt reports on the fire that killed six people a year ago at the Cook County Administration Building, but one must agree with the newspaper when it says, "The most troubling conclusion to be drawn from those reports is that not enough has been done to prevent something similar from happening again today."

Hundreds of hours examining the scene and listening to testimony of those who were there led to one lesson by these independent experts, as the paper pointed out: " . . . these six deaths didn't have to happen."

It is clear that many mistakes were made and much could have been done to have avoided the Oct. 17, 2003, tragedy. Certainly the fact that the county and the Chicago Fire Department have instituted some of the changes bespeaks to their courage to recognize just how wrong things were.

But too many relied upon an apparently inadequate fire code, a mangled communication system and inept building management and security companies.

Dozens of people barely escaped with their lives because they took their own initiatives to get out of the building, ignoring the very orders that were repeated over and over on the public address system throughout the evening to use the deadly stairwell. Those who had followed orders and collapsed in the smoky stairwell were not found for almost an hour and a half, and for many of them that was where they were found--slumped on the stairs, covered in soot, clutching cell phones or bags or their hands clasped in prayer. Some would not be revived.

Although that building has been retrofitted with sprinklers--a device that both investigatory commissions are convinced would have prevented the spread of this fire--many high-rises in Chicago do not have such protective measures. An ordinance that could correct this is stalled somewhere in City Council.

Some of the victims and their families are looking for justice. Certainly no one can bring back their loved ones or put them back to the places they were before the fire. But these families are also bonded together in a unique sense of commitment to assure that such a tragedy does not befall another person who lives or works in the city of Chicago. They want to see change, a sensible fire safety ordinance--including sprinklers in high-rises--that will make Chicago a model for other major cities across the country to emulate.

Certainly it would cost money, but what price does one put on the lives of those who thought they were safe, who thought they would be safely evacuated or who would be accounted for by rescuers in a timely manner?

Toward that end, when we filed lawsuits against the city and county in early October on behalf of a dozen victims, we suggested the appointment of a mediator so that a multifaceted solution could be designed so that all parties can come away with a sense of accomplishment, with a greater assurance of safety. The Tribune's brave stance in its Oct. 6 editorial should be applauded; instead, Stroger says that the paper took the meticulous findings of the investigatory commissions and "manipulate[d] them to meet its political agenda."

The fact is that until the time of the release of the Mikva and Witt reports, the county, through its officials' remarks, was, and apparently continues to be, in a state of denial regarding responsibility.

Ultimately it will take a jury's determination to demonstrate the impossibility of defending the actions and lack of pre-fire preparation by the city, the county and its politicized independent contractors.

Recent Headlines

Records falsified in Metra work logs
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

How we shaft the mentally ill
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

County Board Of Review To Digitize, Streamline Property Tax Appeals System
Monday, July 28, 2014
Journal Online

Three DUI arrests, revoked license still on sheriff's payroll
Monday, July 28, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County approves road projects for upcoming years
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Northwest Indiana Times

Palatine, County Forest Preserve To Partner Up
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Palatine Journal Online

Man dies following beating at Cook County Jail
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health Board selects new leaders
Friday, July 25, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to the Cook County Land Bank
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board adds two questions to packed fall ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County to cut buildings' carbon emissions
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments

Forest Preserves of Cook County to get expertise, guidance from new Policy Council
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Special to

Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches for a price
Monday, July 21, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Community leaders, sheriff aim to help mentally ill inmates
Monday, July 21, 2014
FOX 32 Chicago

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.