Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9, 2002 -- Hancock Scaffold Kills Three

March 9, 2002 – Three people die as high winds cause part of a 25-foot aluminum scaffold to fall from the forty-third floor of the John Hancock Center onto Chestnut Street, crushing three cars.  As Saturday afternoon shoppers duck for cover, the section of the scaffold that did not fall swings dangerously on winds that approach 60 miles per hour before firefighters and workers for the scaffold company can secure it.  The first 40 floors of the 100-story tower aree closed as well as the building’s observatory and the Signature Room restaurant.  An investigation of the collapse that took over two years to complete found a combination of errors by a number of involved parties.  The operations manual for the scaffold called for it to be lowered to the ground or raised to the roof when it was not in use.  The contractor in this instance secured the scaffold at the forty-second floor of the structure, saving time – and thousands of dollars a week – at the beginning and end of the day by not raising or lowering the scaffold.  The scaffold also had friction clamps that were supposed to be used in windy conditions; they were not utilized.  The scaffold itself was also found to be inadequate for the loads it was designed to carry. [] As a result the city code regarding scaffolds was changed in July, 2002.  Prior to this tragedy the city did not require permits for scaffolds, mandating only that they be “so constructed as to ensure the safety of persons working on or passing under or passing by the scaffold.”  The new code stipulated stronger requirements for scaffold design and construction and mandated training courses for those erecting and working on scaffolds.

March 9, 1965 – At the conclusion of a conference at McCormick Place the federal government orders industries and cities bordering the southern end of Lake Michigan to stop the bacterial pollution of the lake within a year.  They are given an additional six months to cease the dumping of other pollutants.  Murray Stein, the chairman of the conference and the person in charge of the enforcement branch of the pollution control division of the United States Health Service, says, “This is indeed a milestone in pollution control if the industries and municipalities institute the recommendations we have outlined, the threat to the lake will be over.”  [Chicago Tribune, March 10, 1965]  Five other recommendations come out of the four-and-a-half day conference:  (1) All sewage treatment plants in the Indiana-Illinois area will be required to provide secondary treatment to sewage and to disinfect the effluent by chlorination;  (2) Beaches will be considered unsuitable for bathing if the amount of bacteria exceeds 1,000 per 100 milliliters; (3) Industries will be required to improve their housekeeping practices to minimize the discharge of waste from industrial sources and to end the pumping of untreated or partially treated wastes; (4) Industrial plants discharging wastes will be required to take samples of their wastes and to keep them in an open file; and (5) The Thomas J. O’Brien lock, located in the Calumet River, be placed into operation to keep the Calumet River from flowing into Lake Michigan.  Stein says, “This pollution control process is inexorable.  Once the federal government enters an area that has a gross pollution problem, the law requires it to see that the pollution is cleaned up.”

March 9, 1902 -- The course of true love never did run smooth, and that was especially true for Miss Carolina Nuzioto and her distant cousin, Francisco Nuzioto, as they head with more than 20 of their friends in a half-dozen carriages toward their wedding in a church on Kinzie Street. As reported in the Chicago Daily Tribune, "As the first carriage crossed Madison Street the Taylor Street trolley car whirled down upon it. There was a shout of warning, and the carriage driver, A. J. Curry, whipped up his horses, but too late. The car struck the rear wheels, there was a crash of glass, a scream and the wrecked carriage was tossed on its side. The prospective bride and groom were thrown into the street . . . The wedding guests sprang from their carriages and hurried to the spot, thinking some one had been killed. They found Miss Nuzioto trying to remove the mud from her bridal gown and veil, while the groom was sorrowfully removing kid gloves that had once been white." As the crowd of angry wedding guests surrounded the driver and the motorman, a policeman intervened and scolded the group for keeping the priest waiting. "Go now and get married," he commanded. And so they did.

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