A fire in Chicago’s Linclon Park neighborhood led to tragedy for the Chicago Fire Department, particularly Andrew “Drew” Price, a 39-year-old firefighter from the Windy City. Mr. Price crashed through a light shaft on the building’s roof when opening ventilation holes, plummeting through the building’s four floors and only stopping when he landed on the basement floor. After being found by his fellow firefighters, Mr. Price was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died of his catastrophic injuries.
Mr. Price had apparently been warning students to get out of the building when the fire began at around 5:30 in the morning on Monday, with a kitchen fire having started the blaze. Firefighters arrived when there was a small amount of smoke coming out of the building, but the fire escalated as they battled it and residents had to evacuate. Eventually the fire was put out, but Mr. Price died in the process.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford, commenting on what happened that led to Mr. Price crashing through the sky light, said that it appears that Price’s vision was impaired from fighting the blaze so he missed it, and so crashed through. “He just did not see where his footing was, and the visibility may have been the issue here, but everything points to the fact that it’s an accident due to not being able to see,” Langford said.
Sean Graney, a Northwestern University master’s student who lives in the building, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “He’s risking his life to save me, he doesn’t have to do that, as much as that is his job, he still didn’t have to do what he did.” Graney continued, “It’s just really sad for me to know that someone passed away saving my life, saving all of these other people’s lives.”
Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt, commenting on the matter, speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, said, “We all knew Drew. Drew worked out. Drew was a health nut. [He was] loved by so many. He will be missed by all.”
Nance-Holt added, when speaking about the department’s reaction to Mr. Price’s tragic passing in the line of duty, “We all love what we do, and we all know when we go to work it may be our last. We all realize that, but I think having all the members behind me, our command staff, the members of the fire department with me, the hugs we share with each other, we work through our grief.”
Also joining in was Mr. Price’s battalion chief, Michael McCormack, saying, “He was a lovely man. He was as sweet as can be. He took extremely good care of himself and his family. He was extremely healthy. He was a light of sunshine.”
Mayor Brandon Johnson commented on the matter as well, releasing a statement saying, “Our collective hearts are heavy this morning as we mourn the passing of firefighter Andrew Price, who has fallen in the line of duty battling a fire in Lincoln Park. Andrew gave his life in service to the City of Chicago, taking his position at the front lines of a threat to our safety and community. He made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those in harm’s way — a debt we can never repay.”
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