Excerpts from NBCChicago.com:

The owners of the building where a veteran Chicago firefighter died Monday morning didn’t have proper permitting for some construction work at the site, the city officials said. Additionally, the removal of the elevator and other structural alterations were underway without authorization, city Building Department spokeswoman Mimi Simon told The Associated Press.

City officials said they were still confirming the building’s ownership.

Dan Capuano was among the firefighters dispatched to a three-story warehouse fire at 9213 S. Baltimore just before 2:30 a.m. The 42-year-old father of three fell down an elevator shaft to the building’s basement. He was a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department. He and his family planned to celebrate the upcoming holiday in Florida.

“As the firefighters went in there they saw some holes throughout the floor,” Santiago said. “They gave out an emergency alert, ‘Be careful.’ It looks like Firefighter Daniel had just walked into the elevator shaft as he was searching, couldn’t see and fell.”

A mayday call was immediately sent [out] and [shortly] Capuano was wheeled to an ambulance and rushed to Oak Lawn’s Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

“Chicago has lost one of its bravest in Dan Capuano,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday. “He made the ultimate sacrifice so Chicago’s residents could be safe. For that, there are no words that can truly express our sorrow for his loss nor our gratitude for his service and sacrifice to the City of Chicago. The thoughts and prayers of a grateful city are with Dan, his family, and his fellow firefighters at this difficult time.”

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford called the death an “inexcusable” safety lapse. “There is absolutely no protection to keep the firefighter from falling in,” Langford said. “It could have been something as simple as pylons and a rope or a more substantial barrier, that was not there it was just floor and then hole.”

The Capuano Memorial Fund has been established for anyone who would like to make donations to the family.