Chicago pays tribute to two fallen firefighters for their years of life-saving service

Our city grieves with the families and shares the pride their loved ones must have in two men whose bravery and heroism was part of their nature.

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The body of Chicago Fire Department firefighter Jermaine Pelt arrives on April 7 at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn.

The body of Chicago Fire Department firefighter Jermaine Pelt arrives on April 7 at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The last moments of Chicago firefighter Jermaine Pelt and Lt. Jan Tchoryk’s lives were more than isolated heroic tales. Both men had been running into burning buildings and putting others’ lives before their own for years.

Pelt was a 17-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department. He was a registered nurse, a paramedic and an instructor at the fire academy. His fellow firefighters remember him as “the kindest person” at work and a great firehouse cook. Recently, he proudly walked his 28-year-old daughter down the aisle to get married.

Tchoryk was a 26-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department. He was an outdoorsman and a Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm. He had a big family, and recently celebrated his son’s graduation from the police academy and his start date with the Chicago Police Department.

Editorial

Editorial

Chicago lost the two selfless and dependable first responders in separate fires last week. Our city is grieving with their families and shares the pride loved ones must have in these men, who showed that bravery and heroism were integral to their nature.

Their deaths came in back-to-back tragedies. Jermaine Pelt died April 4 while working to put out a fire in the West Pullman neighborhood. Lt. Jan Tchoryk died the next day, April 5, while battling a blaze in a high-rise building near the Gold Coast neighborhood.

Firefighter Jermaine Pelt (left) and Lt. Jan Tchoryk.

Firefighter Jermaine Pelt (left) and Lt. Jan Tchoryk.

Chicago Fire Department

“It is unprecedented to lose two firefighters in back-to-back days, in different circumstances, but each of them responding to a call to serve and responding to the aid of others,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Visitation for Tchoryk is scheduled for Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. at Cumberland Chapels in suburban Norridge. His funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph Ukrainian Church in Chicago.

Pelt’s visitation will be held Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m. at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in southwest suburban Oak Lawn. His funeral service will be 11 a.m. Friday at House of Hope in Chicago.

Chicagoans will remember the ultimate sacrifice they made for our city, carrying out a job that asked them, day after day, to put the rest of us first.

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