Owners of Rogers Park senior complex fined $1,500 after 3 die during heat wave: report


CHICAGO — The owners of a Rogers Park senior complex where three women died during a heat wave were fined $1500, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victims as 76-year-old Delores McNeely, 72-year-old Gwendolyn Osbourne, and 68-year-old Janice Reed. The women were found dead on May 14 at the James Sneider Apartments as temperatures inside the building climbed.

The city told the Sun-Times its fines were based on inspection violations only, and it did not have access to autopsy reports before issuing the fines.

When temperatures rose into the high 80s and 90s last May, some people living in the senior home were told they could not turn on their air conditioners until June 1.

The Sun-Times reports the primary cause of death of the women was heat exposure. Seniors living in the home made several calls to 311, complaining of the heat — but said nothing was done.

Family of those who died said the owners of the building citied a city ordinance that had to do with heat, but not air conditioning.

There are pending lawsuits against the owners of the building. The Hispanic Housing Corporation, people living in the building and families of those who died believe the owners did not turn the air conditioning on to save money.

Since the deaths, there has been some movement by city leaders to push a ordinance to require residential high rises and senior buildings to establish cooling centers when the temperature hits 90 degrees.

The Sun-Times reports there are hearings scheduled which the city’s building department is expected to detail its findings of its investigation.

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