Last week's heavy snowfall wreaked havoc on Des Plaines, leaving in its wake two fatalities and an averted third death in less than an hour.
The trouble started at 3:14 p.m. last Tuesday, when paramedics responded to a traffic accident at Mt. Prospect and Algonquin roads, according to Fire Chief Alan Wax. No injuries were reported in that accident, Wax said.
About six minutes later, emergency crews found a Des Plaines man dead near a snow blower.
- Off-duty cop credited with saving boy, 7, from river
- Des Plaines man dies during snow storm
- Motorvehicle Accidents
- Transportation Accidents
- Des Plaines
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East Algonquin Road & South Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA
1000 South 3rd Avenue, Des Plaines, IL 60016, USA
Miner Street & South River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016, USA
West Touhy Avenue & Interstate 294, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA
2777 Mannheim Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA
Mark Szyndrowski, 61, was found on the ground near his snow blower at 3:20 p.m. in the 1000 block of Third Avenue, according to Wax and the Cook County medical examiner's office.
A passerby noticed Szyndrowski and called for help, but emergency crews were unable to resuscitate him, Wax said.
Less than 20 minutes later, police and paramedics were at the Des Plaines River near Miner Street and River Road, where an off-duty Evanston police officer had pulled a 7-year-old boy to safety after the child threw a snowball into the river and then jumped into the water.
Officer Sean O'Brien, 26, was with his girlfriend when he saw the boy running in the middle of the street. They followed the boy down Schwab Road to the river, where O'Brien got out of his car and told his girlfriend to call police.
Once the boy jumped in the river, O'Brien also jumped in and grabbed the boy's arm before pulling him from the river and carrying him to O'Brien's car.
The boy was taken to the hospital in good condition, and officials in Des Plaines and Evanston praised O'Brien for saving the boy's life.
Emergency personnel were unable to save the life of a Zion man who died in a car crash about 15 minutes after O'Brien pulled the boy from the river.
Jack Edwards, 66, of the 1300 block of Carmel Boulevard, lost control of his car and slid into a concrete wall on I-294 just north of Touhy Avenue, veering back into traffic where he was struck by a semi. Edwards' vehicle sustained heavy damage, Wax said. He was pronounced dead at Lutheran General Hospital at 4:40 p.m.
The weather was not done causing destruction, though. A little after midnight the next day, emergency crews responding to a fire alarm at Café La Cave, 2777 Mannheim Road, found an approximately 30 feet by 50 feet section of the roof had collapsed into a banquet room.
No one was in the room when the roof collapsed, and no injuries were reported, Wax said.
The roof collapse sheared off a pipe from the building's sprinkler system, causing water to flow into the building, Wax said.
While an official cause has not yet been determined, Wax and the banquet hall's owners believe the heavy snow accumulation played a role.
Owner Kim Sutter said this week that the dining area and grand ballroom have reopened to the public, and the smaller ballroom where the roof collapsed should be reopened by May.
"The first thing that came out of our mouths was, 'Thank God there wasn't anybody in the room and it didn't happen when we had a function going on,' " Sutter said.