Sunday, March 5, 2017

A steel worker injured after he fell from the seventh floor to the sixth floor at the criminal courts building under construction in downtown Waukegan, IL

A construction worker was reported to be in good condition after falling from the seventh foor to the sixth floor of a Lake County courthouse tower under construction in downtown Waukegan (Waukegan Fire Department) 

Frank S. Abderholden News-Sun

A steel worker was in good condition after he fell from the seventh floor to the sixth floor at the criminal courts building under construction in downtown Waukegan on Thursday, March 2, and rescuers used a construction crane to get him to the ground and an ambulance.

Waukegan Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Camarato said the incident occurred Thursday just before 9 a.m. when a worker fell off a ladder approximately 12 feet and was injured. Camarato said at the construction site the elevator only goes to the fifth floor, and from there, steel and other construction workers take a series of temporary staircases to get where they need to go. The elevator is not very big, he said.

The victim was immobilized and the Waukegan Fire Department's Special Rescue Team executed a high-angle rescue, determining that the only safe way to get the worker down was to put him in a "Stokes basket" — a metal rescue litter — and lower him using one of the construction cranes, Camarato said.

The worker was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, Camarato said, adding that the man did not lose consciousness during the accident or rescue.

The long-planned expansion of the Lake County Courthouse complex in Waukegan was approved by the County Board in 2012 and will cost approximately $110 million. The plans are for a 200,000-square-foot tower that will include 12 courtrooms and connect to the current courthouse through an overhead walkway, project manager Matt Guarnery said last summer.

He added that the top two floors could remain unused and unfurnished, a move the Lake County Bar Association says will eliminate six courtrooms from the initial plans.

Despite the uncertainty about the use of the top floors, Guarnery said workers have started to build the lower parking level and base of the new building. The tower will also have an underground tunnel to connect to the Robert H. Babcox Justice Center, which houses the county jail.