Commuter injured by falling concrete at Union Station

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A woman was hit by falling concrete at Union Station Tuesday evening as she got off a Metra train.

"With all of the blood and pain, I honestly didn't know how badly injured I was. People around me started asking 'Are you okay, are you okay? You're bleeding!'" said Hilda Piell.

Bloodied and confused, fellow passengers and eventually paramedics came to Piell's aid. She said a station worker told her this wasn't the first time concrete had fallen, but she was the first person to be hit.

Union Station has been riddled with problems. In 2015, burst sprinkler pipes spewed a murky brown liquid into the station. There's also been concerns about poor ventilation trapping dangerous levels of diesel exhaust.

Tuesday night three platforms typically used by Metra trains that serve the northern suburbs are closed while crews determine if more concrete could fall.

"Whoever is responsible for maintaining Union Station, they need to pay attention. The station is crumbling. There is no way big chunks of concrete should be falling 20-25 feet from the ceiling and striking commuters," Piell said.

Amtrak owns Union Station. A spokesperson said that falling concrete came from a "non-railroad structure built over the tracks" but did not specify what that is and whether it will be made safe enough for the three platforms to reopen before Wednesday morning's commute.
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