Calls for cooling ordinance grow after 3 women found dead in Rogers Park senior apartment building

Monday, May 16, 2022
Calls for cooling ordinance grow after 3 found dead in Rogers Park
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Three women were found dead at James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park amid hot Chicago weather as calls for a cooling ordinance grow.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Residents of the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park said conditions in the independent senior living building are better now that the air conditioning has been turned on.

"I would say it has been a lot of improvement temperature-wise," said Beryl Mack, a resident.

But Mack said she went to the emergency room on Saturday after feeling lightheaded. It was sweltering hot in the building because the heat was still turned on and it was unseasonably hot outside.

"I was in too much heat at that point in time, so I just give thanks that I'm okay," Mack said.

But three residents did not survive. The Cook County Medical Examiner has identified the three women who died as 68-year-old Janice Reed, 72-year-old Gwendolyn Osborne and 76-year-old Delores McNeely.

All three women were found unresponsive on Saturday. Residents said they started complaining of oppressively hot conditions days earlier to building management.

"One of the managers told me that the owner didn't want the AC on until June 1," said Charles Jones, a resident.

Calls for a Chicago cooling ordinance have grown after three women died inside of a senior living complex in Rogers Park over the weekend.

Alderwoman Maria Hadden of the 49th Ward said what happened could have been avoided and put forth a resolution Monday, asking several city departments to look into the situation. Hadden also plans to propose changes to city rules around cooling, especially around seniors.

"We want to make sure we've got clear language in our city ordinance to give the guidance necessary to building management for the flexibility that they need," Hadden said.

The building is owned by the Hispanic Housing Development corporation. The CEO released a statement.

"The safety and security of our residents has always been our highest priority at HHDC. We are working with the city of Chicago and conducting our own investigation into the incident," the statement said.

A spokesperson for Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city will make sure that building management owns responsibility for the care of its residents.

A vigil for the three women who died will take place outside of the building on Saturday at at 6:30 p.m.