Greising: Since 2014, at Least 61 People Died in Buildings With Fire Safety Dangers Known to City Officials. Why Hasn’t Chicago Done More About This?

Earlier this year, the Tribune teamed with the Better Government Association to report that 61 people had died over a six-year period in buildings with fire safety dangers that were known to the city. So far, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has taken no action in response to the report.

Students visit a memorial at the building where four children died in a pre-dawn fire on Sept. 8, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Chicago’s summers mark the time when homicides annually reach their bloody peak.

Winter marks a killing season of a different sort. Just as hot summer nights bring death by handguns, bitter-cold winters bring death by fire.

With winters come the use of stoves to heat apartments; the overloading of outdated electric circuits; the crowding for warmth in cramped quarters. Blocked exits become death traps. Failed smoke detectors become silent killers.

Chicago’s sad record on fire safety has not drawn nearly as much attention as the failure to address the problem of street violence. People die from fires in smaller numbers, which likely is a factor.

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