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Body Missed During Search Prompts Lawsuit Against Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire Department has been sued by the family of a man who died in a fire in 2009. The suit alleges that the failure of the firefighters to find the man during searches of the building contributed to his death.

Crosby Lipscomb, a retired public school janitor, died on April 6, 2009 in the basement of a home at 3534 West Polk Street. The fire was ruled accidental and attributed to cooking.  The fire department did not find Lipscomb’s body at the scene. Family members claim the fire department assured them they had done a thorough search and no one was in the building.

Unable to locate Lipscomb, family members went back to the scene two days after the fire and located his body on the floor near his bed. The cause of death was listed as smoke inhalation. The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court on April 6, 2010, one year to the day after the fire, alleges that firefighters failed to properly search the home to determine if anyone was present and alive.

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