Barrington Hills man found dead in car co-owned Elgin demolition company
The 43-year-old Barrington Hills man found dead in a burning car in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood last week co-owned Elgin-based Omega Demolition Corp.
Authorities say the body of James D. Gerage was found in the back seat of a burning vehicle on the 600 block of West 21st Street near the Chicago River and the Chinatown neighborhood. The block where the vehicle was found is largely vacant.
Chicago police have not yet released details on the car fire.
Pete "Esaun" Keller, an anti-violence advocate with United Legion One Nation, said the anti-recidivism organization has reached out to residents in the area and local gang members regarding Friday's car fire and a recent string of arsons in the area.
After talking with the community members, Keller said, they do not believe Friday's car fire involved any gang member.
"We are trying to nip this in the bud because we don't want this trend to spread," Keller said.
Gerage is survived by his wife, Chanel, and two children, Brianna and Vincent, students in Barrington Area Unit School District 220. District spokeswoman Morgan Delack said district officials reached out to the family "immediately after to see how the school district could help the family at this difficult time."
James Gerage and his brother Chuck Gerage have operated Omega Demolition Corp., which employs about 300 people, since 1997.
A person at the Omega Demolition office Tuesday said the company is not making a statement on Gerage's death at this time.
The company has worked on high-profile projects including demolition of the Ohio Street feeder bridge to and from the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago and the removal of concrete and a seating area at the Allstate Arena to install the Chicago Wolves ice rink.
An Omega Demolition employee was killed in April when a 40-ton steel beam hit him after it fell from the Jane Addams Expressway onto Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the accident was preventable and that it was investigating.
OSHA had previously issued Omega nine citations, many for lead hazards.
The Cook County medical examiner's office said a determination on the cause and manner of Gerage's death is pending.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Anne Church in Barrington. Arrangements are being handled by Salerno's Rosedale Chapels in Roselle.