IL - Suit says rats at CHA caused blast, injuries : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

November 3, 2000


The Chicago Housing Authority's failure to address a severe rat problem at a South Side housing development was responsible for a switching equipment explosion that injured two Commonwealth Edison workers in April, a lawsuit charges.

The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by ComEd employees David Schury and Duryea Harlson, accuses the CHA of negligence in the April 13 explosion at 4429 S. Federal in the Robert Taylor Homes housing development.

Schury, 44, suffered third-degree burns to his torso and second-degree burns to his face, said attorney Louis Cairo, who is representing the men. Harlson, 37, suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face and leg. Both men have returned to work, Cairo said.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, charges that the CHA "negligently and carelessly failed to fill rat holes, provide guards or otherwise take measures to prevent rodents from entering the switchgear equipment upon the premises."

An earlier explosion in January at the same location was caused when a rat crawled inside the equipment, causing a power failure that lasted three hours.

Cairo said ComEd re-created the April incident and determined that "rodent contact" also caused that explosion and failure.

Both the CHA and ComEd refused to comment on the lawsuit.

"The CHA was well aware and has been for some time that they had a problem with rat infestation in their buildings," Cairo said.

He said the CHA's $1.9 million crackdown on rats announced in September came much too late.

-- Doris (, November 03, 2000

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