JOLIET, Ill. — A Joliet man is fighting for his life after falling about 30 feet inside an abandoned U.S. Steel property on Joliet’s east side. The incident happened on Friday morning, and it took about two hours before Joliet police and firefighters found the man.
According to Joliet Fire Department Battalion Chief Jim Ryan, the man was inside a locked building and fell from what Ryan believed was an old steel mill catwalk. The man kept yelling for help, and that’s how authorities eventually found him. Before finding him, police and firefighters had to canvass an area roughly the size of an entire city block.
The Joliet Iron Works Site, located at 75 Columbia Street, was alerted of the incident at 8:32 a.m. by someone not on the scene who had received a call from the victim. Several officers and Joliet Fire Department members could not locate the injured person, and a drone was also deployed. Following an extensive search lasting almost two hours, police found the 37-year-old man in an abandoned steel mill building in the 900 block of Collins Street.
The man suffered serious injuries and was rushed to St. Joe’s hospital by a Joliet Fire Department ambulance. He was conscious and alert during transportation, according to Joliet police spokesman Dwayne English. The events leading up to the fall are unknown at this time, English said.
The old U.S. Steel property, with several buildings, encompasses nearly 40 acres along Collins Street and bordering Ohio Street. The incident is currently under investigation.
The Joliet Iron Works Site has been abandoned since the 1930s, but it remains a popular spot for urban explorers despite its dilapidated state. Authorities have warned that the site is dangerous and trespassers risk injury or death.