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Solemn procession honors Chicago firefighter who died days after being critically burned

“I think this is our opportunity to come and show our respect for them and their families,” said Maria Walker, who didn’t know Chicago firefighter Mashawn Plummer but felt it was important to attend the procession.

Firefighters and police officers have a procession to honor fallen firefighter MaShawn Plummer.
Firefighters and police officers have a procession to honor fallen firefighter MaShawn Plummer.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Maria Walker didn’t know Chicago firefighter Mashawn Plummer, but it was important for her to attend a solemn procession Tuesday night honoring his death.

“I have family members who are first responders and I don’t think we do enough for officers and firefighters,” said Walker, director of Early Childhood Education at Rush University Medical Center, about a mile from the morgue where the procession ended.

“I think this is our opportunity to come and show our respect for them and their families,” she said

MaShawn Plummer, who had been a firefighter for just a year, died at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood days after he was badly burned in an apartment fire in Belmont Central.

Plummer suffered burns to his throat while battling a blaze at a two-story building just after 2 a.m. Dec. 16 in the 3100 block of North Marmora Avenue, officials said.

MaShawn Plummer
MaShawn Plummer
Chicago Fire Department

Eladio Gomez, 37, died in the fire and another man was taken to a hospital in critical condition, officials said. A woman was also seriously injured.

Plummer was assigned to Engine 94 at 5758 W. Grace St. in Portage Park, Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford said. He is survived by his parents and four sisters.

Firefighters, family, friends and community members gathered at the Cook County medical examiner’s office Tuesday night to show their respect for Plummer.

Firefighters lined up on Harrison and Leavitt streets, creating a path as an ambulance carrying the body of Plummer made its way to the morgue.

“I didn’t know him, but there’s no way to put into words what it’s like losing someone,” said a Chicago firefighter who didn’t want to be named. “It’s not easy. It’s just not.”

Among those in the crowd was Shirley Simmons, who told reporters she was a lifelong neighbor of Plummer’s family and remembered him as kind and generous.

Firefighters and police officers have a procession to honor fallen firefighter MaShawn Plummer.
Firefighters and police officers have a procession to honor fallen firefighter MaShawn Plummer.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

The last line-of-duty deaths in the department were four firefighters who died of COVID-19 over the last two years.

Edward Singleton, a 33-year veteran of the department, died April 14 last year from complications of COVID-19. The 55-year-old worked at the firehouse at Midway Airport and leaves behind a wife and two adult children.

One week earlier, Mario Araujo became the first firefighter of the department to die from the coronavirus. Araujo, 47, joined the fire department in October 2003 and spent most of his career on Truck 25, which operates out of Engine 102 in Rogers Park on the North Side. He was single.

Paramedic Robert Truevillian, who joined the department in 2000, died in December of 2020 from complications of the virus. Truevillian, 55, was assigned to ambulance 71, which operates out of the firehouse at 10458 S. Hoxie Ave. in South Deering, officials said.

Michael Pickering died from complications from the coronavirus in October of 2021. Pickering, 45, joined the department in 2003. He was assigned to Engine 29 in Bridgeport and was a father of three.

In May of 2018, diver Juan Bucio died while searching for a missing boater in the Chicago River. Bucio, 46, lost contact with his dive partner during the search. Bucio was briefly a Chicago police officer before joining CFD, moving to the dive team as soon as he could.