Chicago officials react to death of firefighter during Chicago River rescue

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to Chicago Fire Department Station No. 13, 259 N. Columbus Dr., on Tuesday afternoon to console firefighters after the death of CFD diver Juan Bucio Monday night. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

City officials sent out thoughts and prayers Tuesday after learning that a Chicago Fire Department diver died while searching for a missing boater in the Chicago River.

Juan Bucio, 46, lost contact with his dive partner during the search. He was eventually found and pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.

Like Bucio, the man he was searching for, 28-year-old Alberto Perez, was the father of young children. Both men lived and worked on the city’s Southwest Side. Authorities are still searching for Perez.

Politicians and community leaders posted tributes and words of remembrance on social media:

“Join the Chicago Fire Department and the entire City in honoring fallen Fire Fighter (EMT) Juan Bucio for his dedication and for always answering the call of duty. We have lost a hero but his sacrifice shall not be forgotten. Let us keep Juan Bucio and his family in our prayers,” said Chicago Fire Media on Twitter.

“OEMC extends our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the CFD Marine Unit Diver who succumbed to injuries he suffered in the line of duty tonight while answering the call to help another,” tweeted Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications. “We will never forget your courage and sacrifice to our city.”

“We lost a real hero. And I want everybody, if they can, to remember he has two young sons. For them, there’ll be an empty seat at the breakfast table. For them, their dad, their hero, our hero, won’t be there on graduation day. We all have to remember that,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“A piece of Chicago was lost tonight – a hero who dedicated and ultimately gave his life attempting to save others. On behalf of the entire Police Department, our deepest sympathies for our brothers & sisters at the Chicago Fire Department and the family of fallen CFD diver,” CPD tweeted.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Juan Bucio and his loved ones this morning. Thank you for your courageous service to the residents of Chicago,” tweeted Ald. Jose Arena (45th).

“Chicago’s heart is heavy with sorrow tonight. We have lost a brave first responder in the line of duty. He died while attempting to save the life of another. We pray for his family and friends, and share their grief and loss,”

said Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) said on Twitter.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the Juan Bucio family. May God Bless his family, and all our First Responders in the City of Chicago,” tweeted Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th).

“Standing with the entire City of Chicago today to commemorate the life of Firefighter Juan Bucio- a true hero,” said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer on Twitter.

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