A 45-year-old worker is apparently safe Tuesday afternoon after being trapped for a short time inside a shuttered building supplies store in Hoffman Estates that was undergoing demolition.
Police received a call shortly before 4 p.m. to the vacant Menards store at the Barrington Square Mall off Higgins Road near Barrington Road. The structure sustained a partial collapse, leaving a man trapped, Hoffman Estates Assistant Police Chief Steve Casstevens said. The fire department freed him about 55 minutes later from a 3-foot-high pocket underneath the fallen roof, police said. Paramedics took him to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, where he was treated and released.
Workers have been at the site for three weeks, said Richard Garcia, owner of America's Bar and Grill. Garcia's establishment neighbors the Menards, with his office sharing a wall with it. He and an assistant heard a loud "ka-boom." He said he saw paramedics take the trapped worker off on a stretcher. The victim, who is from Chicago, was talking.
"They were doing a pretty good job," Garcia said. "Everything looked like it was done proper."
The collapse didn't cause damage to neighboring businesses, Garcia said.
The Menards closed in November 2008 after a bigger store opened in Hanover Park. Recently, the strip mall's Dutch owners had plans approved by the Hoffman Estates village board to revamp the site, trying to lure a grocery store as an anchor. There's talk of utilizing tax increment financing to draw a business.
The mall was built in the early 1970s, and the owner wanted to invest $15 million to remodel the 230,000-square-foot shopping center. The mall's owners said infrastructure improvements were needed, including lights and drainage.
OSHA crews later arrived and the partially collapsed wall was later demolished, police said.