Canopy collapses at Club Hawthorne Chicago in Pullman, killing man

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Jesse Kirsch WLS logo
Friday, February 19, 2021
Canopy collapses at Club Hawthorne Chicago in Pullman, killing man
Randy Pate's family said they want the off-track betting site where a snow-covered canopy collapsed to be held accountable for their loved one's death.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One man was killed and another was injured after an a canopy collapsed over a driveway Wednesday at an off-track betting site in Pullman on the Far South Side.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the man killed as 54-year-old Randy Pate Sr. and ruled his death an accident. His death was caused by multiple injuries as a result of "compression by awning and snow."

Chicago police said Thursday they are investigating Pate's death as an accident.

Still in shock, Pate's family said they want the off-track betting site to be held accountable as they began making funeral arrangements Thursday.

Pate went outside to smoke a cigarette underneath a canopy when it suddenly came crashing down under the weight of a foot and a half of snow.

"I feel bad because they had nothing supporting that, It's a pandemic and they're letting people in to gamble and stuff. And the snow, build up to the top and then fall and hurt my uncle," said Antione Pate, the victim's nephew.

Pate's family said he was a regular at Club Hawthorne Chicago, an off track betting site in the Pullman neighborhood.

On Wednesday, at around 5 p.m., firefighters raced to shovel snow and saw through the collapsed canopy, but Pate died a short time later.

"The people from the racetrack, they know me. They knew that was my brother, and they called me, and I informed the family, you know. And now for me I'm like, no, no, baby brother gone," said Alice Pate, the victim's sister.

According to records, the facility passed its last eight annual building inspections.

Pate's family said they believe someone should have removed the snow from the canopy.

RELATED: How much snow can a roof hold?

"I don't appreciate what happened. You're supposed to inspect before you open," Alice Pate said. "Suppose they went out there, or you or me. Not only Randy. But it cost his life. He's only 54 years old."

A second man who was trapped underneath the canopy survived, police said. The 59-year-old has injuries to his head and back.

Fire officials said the canopy was not designed to hold that kind of weight for an extended period of time.

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Pate was a former construction worker on disability after being injured on the job. He also once worked as a security guard.

Pate leaves behind two teenage sons and an adult daughter.

"He's a good person. He always called me and talk to me, man. He's uplifted to me that's my friend, that's my uncle. I miss him that's my uncle," Antione Pate said.

Club Hawthorne has not returned request for comment. Signs posted on the building doors say "closed until further notice."