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Chicago’s Deadly Fire Dispute Is Settled for $100 Million

Lawyers settled on $100 million over a deadly blaze at the Cook County Administration Building in Chicago, which killed six and injured 16 people on Oct. 17, 2003. The city, which led problematic fire and rescue efforts, will pay $50 million, the building’s management agency $24 million and its security contractors $11 million. The owner, Cook County, will pay $9 million out of a CNA insurance policy. The balance is divided among SimplexGrinnell, Folger’s Architects, UBM, Competitive Piping and Environmental Systems Design, which renovated the 12th floor, the fire floor, two years prior to the blaze. Original plans called for interior walls to rise up to the concrete floor above, notes Robert A. Clifford, the plaintiffs’ lead counsel. Instead, the walls stopped at the dropped ceiling. “That is a code violation because it eliminates or compromises the fire rating,” he says.





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