DKI Members Respond to Large Chicago Fire

January 11, 2005

Disaster Kleenup International Inc., a network of quality, independent property damage restoration contractors, announced that two of its member companies, United Services by Permaco Inc. of Lake Bluff, Illinois and Quantum Fire and Water Restoration of Bloomington, Minnesota, played a vital role in the initial response to the large fire that severely damaged the headquarters of LaSalle Bank in downtown Chicago on the evening of Dec. 6, 2004.

While the fire was still being fought by city firefighters, a call was placed to United Services, a DKI member company, to begin staging equipment and personnel and to be ready to mobilize on the building once the fire was put out and safe entry to the building was permissible.

In addition to assembling his own team in suburban Chicago, United Services’ president Gary Swenson enlisted the assistance of his DKI colleague David Ellings, president of Quantum, who arrived in Chicago within a few hours of Swenson’s call. Together, they were the first contractors permitted access to the building at 135 S. LaSalle Street to begin assessing the damage on Tuesday afternoon.

After a quick review of the situation, United Services began deploying its staff at critical points throughout the building to begin mitigating the enormous damage to the building. While the fire was largely confined to a single floor, smoke and soot damage was prevalent throughout the majority of the upper floors, and large quantities of water used in fire suppression effected several floors below the fire in the 46 story building. More than 100 personnel worked around the clock to enable the bank to have an opportunity to open again as quickly as possible.

The response of the United Services staff and the team they assembled was able to stabilize the building in such a manner that bank senior management was able to make a better assessment of the situation in just 48 hours. As a result, the main floor of the bank was reopened to the public on Monday, Dec. 13 and work on the remaining floors still vigorously continues.

“We are pleased to have been called to respond to such a significant loss as the LaSalle Bank fire,” said Swenson. “The confidence placed in our organization when speed and expertise truly mattered is very gratifying.” Added Ellings, “I was glad I was available to help when Gary called me. The strength of DKI has always been our ability to assist one another when the situation demanded it and this was my turn to lend a helping hand.”

The 135 S. LaSalle Street building houses more than 3,000 LaSalle Bank employees, as well as the offices of more than 40 other small companies. The fire caused injuries to 39 people, of whom 24 were firefighters. More than 450 firefighters responded to the blaze. The financial loss from the fire is expected to be in excess of $10 million.

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