Broken Bucktown water main reveals building owned by Rock Island business man is dangerous


Jack-hammer crew waits in front of main break with dangerous building on far right


Edge of 2041 W. Armitage facade

At some point during Tuesday night, a water main broke in the 2000 block of west Armitage in Bucktown. Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward, was notified around 7 a.m., Wed., May 22. But,
no one realized a building near the main break had the potential of losing its facade.

Water was gushing out from the street, directly aimed at two buildings east of 2041 W. Armitage. The water was shut off to all buildings on the southside of the street between Damen and Hoyne Avenues.

Later in the morning, a Water Department's jack-hammer crew was digging up the street in search of the broken pipe. A worker noticed that the façade of 2041 was pulling away from the building. Concerned that the vibrations of the jack-hammer would cause the failing building's front to fall, they stopped work.

The fire and police departments were called and traffic was closed between Damen and Hoyne. It wasn't until about 9:30 a.m. that Waguespack was able to reach the building owner, Dennis Spurghetis, on the phone. 


Water Commissioner Randy Conner and Police Department representative confer as Waguespack looks across the street with a displaced tenant and her cat

Informed of the problem, the Rock Island businessman told Waguespack to "just get it fixed."  

"I explained the problem to him and that the digging had been stopped in consideration of his property's issue. He said, 'Yah,'' explained Waguespack with an incredulous look. "I even explained that all the people on the street had no water." 

Waguespack called an engineer out who was still at the site at 6:15 p.m., evaluating the building's situation. At approximately 9:15 p.m. the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) resumed eastbound #73 Armitage bus travel. 


Worker stands in hole dug to replace pipe

The two-unit 2041 building has four tenants plus one dog and one cat. Amanda Maicuba and her dog Bowzer are among them. She was contacted by Waguespack, who let her know that there was a problem with her building. She left her place of work to return home and take her dog out of the apartment. Another tenant was holding her physically challenged cat in a special carrying case as Our Urban Times was at the scene.


Amanda helps Bowzer get a drink of water

Maicuba related that the building department representative advised that she and the other tenants stay at the back of their apartments and "that it would be smart to stay elsewhere overnight."

While Spurghetis gave officials no indication in the morning that he planned to go to his Armitage property, it is unknown whether he either showed up or took action to manage his property on Wednesday.



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