The John Hancock building in downtown Chicago is one of the tallest in the city. It alarmed many city goers when they saw a cloud of smoke coming from the middle of building during a recent fire on the building’s 50th floor. People didn’t know how to react, most likely because the fire took place in such a huge building, in a huge city. Fortunately, the fire was accidental, starting in a residential unit in the building. Five people were injured during the fire, none in critical condition.
Fire causes concern for the city
There are 99 floors of the building, which include offices, shops, a tourist observation floor, and residential living facilities. The fire occurred on the 50th floor of the building, located in the home of one resident. Fortunately, the fire did not move to any other part of the building, which was determined by firefighters clearing the building, floor by floor. The apartment did have to be gutted, while other residents on the same floor had to be displaced due to safety concerns. Just a few hours before the famous Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the fire broke out, causing a small panic among those who were in the area. With the events that occurred in New York on September 11, 2001, the smoke left an eerie feeling in the air. When you see a tall skyscraper engulfed in smoke, it is hard not to become alarmed. Luckily, firefighters who arrived on scene were able to put out the fire in a timely manner, and reassure people in the area it wasn’t a terrorist attack.
Problems with fire safety
Those who live in the building claimed they smelled smoke on the floor and immediately began to evacuate. The elevator wasn’t working, as it shuts down in the case of a fire, so residents had to make their way down several flights of stairs. Some people in the building decided they didn’t need to leave, and a full evacuation of the building never happened. Floors not immediately close to the 50th, where the fire broke out, were clear of any health risks due to the smoke. Residents of the building were a bit upset by this and believe the building should have a better set of fire safety standards. Without an evacuation of the building, individuals might have no idea what was going on. In the case where the fire spread beyond the 50th floor, others in the building could have been in danger. Even though the building has multiple fire alarms, the high rise is not required to install sprinklers in the building.
With how tall the Hancock building is, pictures of the fire showed smoke and flames that seemed to be bigger than what they actually were, providing the city with an eerie look. This is not the first strange and scary event to take place downtown. The Willis Tower’s glass observation sky deck cracked while tourists were visiting the building. In a big city with large, old buildings, you never know what might happen.