Let’s remember and honor Chicago firefighters who gave their lives to save others

Firefighters like Andrew Price, and three others who died this year, chose to enter a career that they knew might involve risking their lives for others. How many of the rest of us would do the same?

SHARE Let’s remember and honor Chicago firefighters who gave their lives to save others
Members of the Chicago Fire Department gather in uniform as an ambulance brings the body of firefighter Andrew Price to the Cook County medical examiner’s office on Nov. 13.

Members of the Chicago Fire Department gather as an ambulance brings the body of firefighter Andrew Price to the Cook County medical examiner’s office on Nov. 13.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

It is heartbreaking when a first responder loses his or her life on the job, as happened Monday when firefighter Andrew “Drew” Price died of injuries he sustained while fighting a Lincoln Park fire that had broken out early that morning.

Price was just 39, but was already a 14-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, which he joined in 2009. All of Chicago should join Price’s family, friends, fellow firefighters and the CFD in mourning the tragedy.

Price’s death is also a somber reminder of the hazards first responders willingly face: Every time a firefighter clocks in for work, jumps onto a fire truck and runs without hesitation into a burning building, he or she could end up tumbling down a skylight shaft — with deadly consequences, as happened to Price.

Editorial

Editorial

Yes, that is their job. But firefighters — and cops, and other first responders whose jobs are inherently dangerous — make the choice to enter a career that involves potentially risking their lives for others.

How many of the rest of us would do the same?

“He’s risking his life to save me, he doesn’t have to do that,” as one student who lived in the building where the fire broke out, told the Sun-Times. “As much as that is his job, he still didn’t have to do what he did.”

Price was on the roof of the burning building, trying to open holes for ventilation, when he apparently lost his visibility and fell. He was the fourth firefighter to die on the job in Chicago this year, the most in a single year since 1998.

Lt. Kevin Ward died in August from injuries he suffered more than two weeks earlier when he became trapped in the basement of a burning home near O’Hare International Airport.

Lt. Jan Tchoryk died of a heart attack while battling a blaze in a Gold Coast high-rise in April, a day after firefighter Jermaine Pelt died of smoke inhalation in a South Side fire.

Nationwide, there have been 74 on-duty firefighter deaths so far in 2023, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Next Thursday, Nov. 23, is Thanksgiving, a day when Americans pause to reflect on all that they are grateful for, especially the people in their lives.

Chicagoans, whether they knew them or not, can add these four names to their list: Andrew Price, Kevin Ward, Jan Tchoryk and Jermaine Pelt — men who didn’t hesitate to put their lives on the line when it mattered most for others.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com

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