Processions honor 2 Chicago firefighters who died this week as they are taken to funeral homes

A crowd of dozens of first responders and supporters gathered for separate processions from the Cook County medical examiner’s office to suburban funeral homes.

SHARE Processions honor 2 Chicago firefighters who died this week as they are taken to funeral homes
merlin_112626074.jpg

The body of Chicago Fire Lt. Jan Tchoryk arrives at Cumberland Chapels funeral home in Norridge, Friday, April 7, 2023. Lt. Tchoryk, 55, a member of the department for 26 years, died Wednesday battling an extra-alarm blaze in a high-rise building in the 1200 block of North Lake Shore Drive — the second firefighter to die in the line of duty this week.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The bodies of two Chicago firefighters who died battling separate fires this week were escorted Friday to suburban funeral homes by their fellow first responders.

The body of Jermaine Pelt was driven south to the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn, while the body of Lt. Jan Tchoryk was ushered north to Cumberland Chapels in Norridge ahead of expected services for the two men.

A crowd of dozens of first responders and supporters gathered for separate processions to see the bodies of the two men off from the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Ambulances carrying each of the firefighters were trailed by emergency vehicles running their lights as a flag was extended over them from the raised ladder of a fire department truck.

Chicago Fire Department firefighters salute as the body of firefighter Jermaine Pelt arrives Friday at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn.

Chicago Fire Department firefighters salute as the body of firefighter Jermaine Pelt arrives Friday at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Pelt, 49, died Tuesday battling a blaze early that morning at a home in the West Pullman neighborhood’s 12000 block of South Wallace Street. He had been operating a hose with a lieutenant on the second floor of a building near the initial extra alarm fire before they received an order to evacuate the structure, which also caught fire.

Fire officials said Pelt’s partner began to leave before realizing Pelt had gone down. The 17-year veteran of the department was quickly located and rushed to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.

merlin_112626102.jpg

Chicago Fire Department firefighters stand at ease as the body of firefighter Jermaine Pelt arrives at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn, Friday, April 7, 2023. Pelt, 49, a 17-year veteran of the department, died Tuesday while battling an extra-alarm house fire in the 12000 block of South Wallace Street in West Pullman — the first of two firefighters to die in the line of duty this week.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Pelt was a registered nurse, paramedic and had been an instructor at the fire academy, fire Lt. David Bernicky said.

Just a day later, tragedy struck again at a fire at a high-rise apartment building in the Gold Coast’s 1200 block of North Lake Shore Drive.

Tchoryk, 55, collapsed in an 11th-floor stairwell as firefighters made their way up to a blaze on the 27the floor. The 26-year veteran was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in “very critical” condition and also died.

Tchoryk was a Navy veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said.

A visitation will be held Wednesday afternoon at Cumberland Chapels followed by a funeral service Thursday at St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Catholic Church and interment with military honors at St. Nicholas Cemetery.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled Pelt died from smoke inhalation and Tchoryk died from cardiovascular disease.

“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,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Funeral arrangements for Pelt have not been announced.

The Latest
Cubs starter Jameson Taillon was charged with one run through 7 ⅓ innings
The boy was inside a car about 5:30 p.m. in the 8300 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue when someone approached him and fired shots, police said.
Lisa Kudrow leads the bumbling marauders in Apple’s funny follow-up to 1981 film.
Two men, a 46-year-old man from Washington state and a 55-year-old man from Franklin Park, were hospitalized in serious condition following a fire about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Their boat burned.