Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Women Injured In Early Morning "Lawrence House" Fire

Chicago Tribune Staff Report
Two women were injured in an early morning fire at a retirement hotel in the city's Uptown neighborhood, officials said.

Firefighters took about 45 minutes to battle the blaze confined to a single room on the fifth floor of the 12-story Lawrence House, 1020 W. Lawrence Ave., officials said.

The fire was put out at about 1:30 a.m.

The victims, described as women in their 40s, were taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital in fair-to-serious condition for smoke inhalation injuries, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Quention Curtis. Continue Reading


  1. OK. What is up with the last line of this article?

    "the 83-year-old art deco structure is now one of the few remaining housing developments in Uptown that offers affordable rental units to seniors and impaired adults."

    What is that supposed to mean?

  2. I'd just attribute it to poor journalism. Probably taken off an old info sheet given from Shiller about the LH or something.

  3. Media, You did not hear? Our former Alderman's quote dictionary is consulted on all stories with the words "Affordable" and "Uptown" in them.

    Does anyone know if the fire alarms worked this time around?

  4. Media, what that means is that before there were more, and now there are fewer. That's pretty much it.

  5. It is totally not relevant to the story. I agree with Meg.

  6. These articles are written by a computer program that dredges news feeds. The program was recently developed in Bangalore, India.

    My comment is also a computer news comment being developed and in beta testing by a Halliburton subsidiary. Beep - Zx9 - eeep - Happy Father's Day! - 8rp - end.

  7. The LH is a dump, i'm sure the smoke damage will be promptly adressed.

  8. How big does the catastrophe have to be at this place before it is forced out of the hands of its current owner.

    I have not been inside myself, but the reports I have read make it sound as though it needs to be condemned and shut down.

  9. I'll put money on it that crack was involved... they may offer affordable rentals for seniors but they should also add the scum of uptown to that list.... I guess that's what they mean by impaired

  10. From what I have heard, substance abuse is a big problem at the LH. But so is careless smoking by people that are not compliant with their medications and not thinking clearly. Frankly the careless smoking is a much bigger problem. The the mental health clients that I work with can smoke up to 3 packs per day. That is a lot of chances to start a fire.

  11. Okay is this the number one problem building of uptown? Im sure we could all agree that its definitely in the top ten. What do you guys think?

    no one needs to do an expose on this building, it cant stay out of trouble.....

  12. It is a big time problem building, but the problems are often self inflicted. Not a lot of gang members living there going out and shooting people. I do however, feel sorry for the people not starting fires that live there. Because one of these times I fear a lot of people are going to die. Then everyone is going to say, "Why was this building allowed to stay open for so long?"

    I am glad the Alderman is doing what he can with Housing Court to force the owners to either fix it or sell it. But as many may know, it is a very slow process.

  13. The Lawrence House used to be a great housing development and has always been used for senior adult living. New management took over and it has sadly fell by the wayside. See prior uptown update post: http://www.uptownupdate.com/2010/04/trib-residents-of-rundown-lawrence.html. These people, our neighbors, are having trouble getting light bulbs replaced. I would love to see the Uptown community at large rally around them to help support them get the basic living help they need. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this? Call the alderman and let him know we care about what goes on here? Especially with the elderly in our community?

  14. The Lawrence House was built to contain a fire to a single unit, fire brick walls between the units.

    I hope the ladies injuries are not serious. How this fire started is anybody's guess at this point...and only a guess.

    It does look at this point like the fire alarms were working and that is a good thing.

    Something is going to change at the Lawrence House in the not-to-distant future. Some great people live in there and they deserve better, This incident may have just been carelessness on the part of a resident, smoking in bed or or fell asleep with the chicken on the stove or whatever...just a guess.

    Our Alderman James and staff among others are working on it and James has said it should remain affordable housing...well run/safe affordable housing and I support that because I live in such a place. It can happen.

  15. "The Lawrence House was built to contain a fire to a single unit, fire brick walls between the units."

    Old building + firebrick sounds like a potential major asbestos issue that would deter a possible renovation.

  16. Jeff Littleton you know I disagree with you. There are other places for affordable housing. Not everyone gets to live in the coolest neigbhorhood for superlow or subsidized prices.

    As one can see the Lakeview SROs have gone and I think its just a matter of time before Lawrence House become market rate or a nice hotel.

    It sure would help the tax base of the city if such a thing would happen. It would bring more money to the neighborhood to local businesses and in property taxes.

    Again not everyone gets to live in a cool/central neighbhorhood, there will always be affordable housing in general, will it always be close or in the city center? Likely not. Its just a matter of time. I have a republican and a liberal side.

    If people really want to live in a great neigbhorhood you have to earn it, look at how some of these people treat their neighbors and their cars and where they live, with contempt and little regard. Right now in the center of Uptown there is still way too much flophouse/sro housing. This area was never designed from the beginning to become what it has become. And this is something that public policy and politics helped create and sustain way beyond what naturally should have occured with a free market.

    Its an example (uptown and L house) and extreme liberalism gone unchecked for decades.

  17. oops

    *its an example (uptown and L house)when extreme liberalism
    has gone unchecked for decades.

  18. Amen, jeffo.

    For the record, I would LOVE it if Lawrence House became a hotel. (A real hotel and not one of those trashy weekly rentals.) When guests come to visit me, I basically have to send them downtown to stay, requiring them to commute to my home.

  19. @ Jeffo

    With all due respect I disagree with all of your "opinions" about my neighborhood. Except for the "cool" part.

    Some people are wealthy, some middle class, working-class, low-income....but we are all people first and last most important. We share many values and all of the important ones.

    We are neighbors. And at this time in my life, not always, but right now I am low-income. So I should leave this neighborhood Mr. Jeffo of Rogers Park?

    The fire brick in Lawrence House is an asset not a liability as we see from this incident. Don't be concerned about asbestos.

    Lawrence House will remain affordable.....yes it will.

    I wish you had the heart jeffo to introduce yourself and actually meet some of the individuals who live in LH.

    There is my buddy Jose.. a talented Puerto Rican artist you might like him.

    Or more likely James,,,he is a cool dude, the old guy with the big glasses. He lives in LH, is an active supporter, friend and neighbor of the other James (our Alderman Cappleman) and he likes to cross-country ski at the lakefront in winter. I hope I can do that at his age....

    In other words real people, good people live in the LH, multidimensional.

    The negatives have been well covered so I am not glossing over it, just trying to give balance.

    Balance is good. Uptown is Home!

  20. @ Alek

    It would deter a renovation that called for changing the existing floor plan that is true.

  21. Who cares if there are nice people living in LH? I no longer do. Just like I wouldn't care if some old granny were booted from her CHA house for letting her gangbanger grandson live there while he terrorizes uptown. We can have the multidimensional, diverse Uptown with out the incessent violence and drug use. I am originally from Long Beach (CA), which is alot, alot like Uptown, minus the never end ing supply of addicts. Even the gangs in Long Beach are 'under control' because rampant public housing projects are a thing of the past.
    We need to make changes, and unfortunately, someone will be booted from their home or lose something in the process. So be it. It's the only way.

  22. If I'm not mistaken, isn't this the 3rd fire reported at LH this year?

    After all these incidents I can't believe that still nothing is being done. How is it that the owners are not being held liable for any of this? The building code violations alone are disgusting.

    It breaks my heart to think about the people in LH. I read that government agencies still recommend placement of elderly and impaired individuals despite the fact that it's common knowledge that the place is infested with roaches, has a major drug problem amongst it's residents and is all around an unsafe/unhealthy environment to live in.

    It's really such a shame that the building is being left to rot (or burn to the ground) because from what I've seen of it LH looks like a really cool building and it has a neat history.

    Remember that building that burnt down in the south loop about 6 years ago and it turned out to be insurance fraud?...I wouldn't doubt there is something similarly fishy happening here. Just a thought.

  23. We need some fresh ideas.

    Would something similar to the what is happening with the Viceroy be a template for the Lawrence House.

    It took a lot to pull off over there n ear Union Park but it is getting done and will soon be a safe and well managed affordable housing option.

    The Viceroy back in the day was 10 times more notorious then the LH on a bad day. No I am not exaggerating....

    The fact is...LH will NOT become a tourist hotel. You don't need an MBA in the hospitality industry to figure that out. If the poster above is looking for a closer place for visitors to stay a hotel will soon be constructed next to Wrigley Field. I am sure the rates will be reasonable in the off-season. If the Cubs keep it up maybe during the baseball season too...just sayin'.

    Here is a link to the aforementioned Viceroy Hotel project:


    I have a hybrid of an idea for the LH, I will post it on an everyblock neighbor message soon...it is a fresh idea possible or not.

    The good people of the Lawrence House, the great majority actually, deserve consideration beyond some of these comments, and they will get that consideration where and when it counts.

    Life is short, have a heart.

  24. Im first and foremost Jeffo of CHICAGO. What happens in Uptown affects everyone on the northside by the lake. I have spent the majority of my years living on the northside by the lake in THE CITY.

    My father was an artist. He could not make a living as an artist. He became a technical illustrator and worked for companies like signode(now itw fastex) and worked for the military doing blueprints. My father was still able to make beautiful artwork AND make a living doing something he enjoyed. We as a society cannot support tons of starving artists.

    I am not personally saying you cant live in uptown jeff littleton, thats up to the free market and local politics, thats not in my power.

    I dont think it serves the interest of CHICAGO to allow a very important commercial/entertainment hub to languish for the sake of low income housing. The city decided to get rid of cabrini green for the same reasons, the real estate was too valuable and too near downtown. For the good of THE CITY it was torn down, some low income was put back in, but mostly market rate housing.

    Maybe we could come to a compromise. Some units in L house low income/senior housing and the rest market rate/luxury hotel. Right now the L house's mission statement aint working. Unless part of its mission is slow miserable decay.

  25. http://rogersparkbench.blogspot.com/2010/06/second-lawrence-house-fire-highlights.html

    Here a rogers park blogger dares to speak of occurences outside of his neigbhorhood. Nice pictures. Hmmm. Looks like others outside of uptown have noticed the good ol L house isnt doing so good, this was a little over a year ago

  26. @ Jeffo of Rogers Park,

    I am not low-income because I am an artist. I am pretty open but there is a point where talking about my personal life would be gratuitous.

    I am not a stereo-typical "starving artist", but I would rather have starving artists for neighbors then a neighborhood starving of art.

    I find this little crusade against the Lawrence House of yours curious, heartless, narrow in focus and repetitive.

    We are seeking unity and peace in Uptown after a long spell of division and your asking us to sneak photographs and point fingers.

    How has that worked for Rogers Park? Back it up with facts rather then opinions and views. The majority of readers on UU are familiar with Rogers Park and know the answer to that question.

    Cabrini closed down because it was a horrible concept from the get go. Similar projects such as Henry Horner Homes closed in the same CHA initiative...far from the Loop. Please do some homework and be more factual in regards to economic trends.

  27. Sorry, Jeffo! Bad example! The author of this "Rogers Park Blog" was living a block from Lawrence House when he wrote about it.


  28. Okay....
    I find that jeff littleton's unwavering support for L house to be strange just the same.

    Well the nerve of that blogger living in one part of the city and then moving to another part of the city and then maintaining that its a Rogers Park blog! He even continues to speak about issues not pertaining to Rogers Park!

    How has what worked for Rogers Park?, i dont understand the question. I can tell you that Having a similar type building like the Block buildings (two four plus ones) being emptied out and rehabilitated has helped Rogers Park immensely. Essentially that was the reason the Broken Heart of RP even existed. Craig lived in the alley behind these once notorious buildings. He would photograph drug deals and dealers all the time from his condo.

    The Block buildings werent strictly low income housing, but there was sure alot of section8 and it was a mismanaged unregulated mess and the drug sales that went on there would make your head spin. The Block four plus ones WERE essentially the most high profile mess of RP.

    Now its Reside on Morse (since 2008). Morse wouldnt be what it is today unless those buildings (110 units) were made market rate housing. We have even been successful at getting the gangs off morse. Sure they walk by and try to loiter but its not tolerated.

    Tell me that emptying out L house and rehabilitating it to market rate or atleast a mix of market rate and subsidized housing wouldnt make the same kindof impact for Uptown and for the city at large.

  29. Okee doh kee.

    I have unwavering support for my neighbors who include the residents of the Lawrence House.

    For me it is about the people...agree to disagree and see you in the next Lawrence House post "jeffo" formerly "geofredo", did ya change your name as a homage to yours truly.? ..heheh.

    The article did mention what O.N.E. did regarding the owner at his bar in Wicker Park...that took some guts. I doubt the brothers read UU, but that was harder to ignore right?

    They were looking out for the people too, and at the same time serving the interest of ALL of Uptowners.

    That is why I love O.N.E.!

    At least that news bench blog declares themselves conservative unlike FOX news....I can respect that.

  30. Well I never thought I could change your mind Jeff Littleton, nah Im just a Jeff, geofredo was my spanish name and apparently a spanish equivalent to jeffrey.

    And for the record I think that the Bench is a bit of nutty blog.

    I will indeed see you again at the next L House discussion.