Winds shatter window in Hokin Gallery

By The Columbia Chronicle

High winds in the Chicago area last Tuesday were blamed for the sudden blowout of a plate glass window at the Hokin Gallery in 623 S. Wabash building. The incident occurred between 3:30 and 3:40 PM.

Air pressure differences within the building combined with wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour caused the glass to shake and eventually shatter from the stress. The glass blew out toward the street.

No serious injuries were reported, though one woman who was passing the Wabash building at the time was struck on the ankle by a large chunk of falling glass. She did not seek treatment and left the

scene.

Tonya Reed, who works in the Hokin Center, was across the street when it happened. “I was walking back,” she said, “and I saw the glass starting to wobble. I was think, ‘what if it breaks?’” At that moment, Reed said, the pane shattered. “She was covered in glass,” Reed said of the passerby, “but she didn’t have any cuts or anything. I don’t know how she survived.”

Columbia student Jean Lesniak was sitting on the stage in the Hokin Gallery when the glass broke. “It was really loud… it just broke,” she said.

A similar incident happened two years ago at the 600 S. Michigan building, Brown said, when a plane of glass shattered during a severe summer storm. That time as well, no one was injured.

“It’s miraculous no one was hurt,” said Jose Gallegos, director of security at Columbia. “The glass fell from the top in large chunks. If someone had been sitting there,” he said, noting that the area is a haven for smokers, “we could have had a fatality.”

After the incident, onlookers had to be moved away because the wind was whipping shards of glass into the air. The area was quickly cleaned up and the window has since been replaced. There were no reports of any damage in the Hokin Gallery.

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