Firefighter Christopher Wheatley died early this morning after falling from a ladder while on the scene of a grease fire in Chicago’s West Loop area. Here are excerpts from the news coverage.
A Chicago firefighter died this morning after he fell from a ladder while fighting a fire at a West Loop restaurant.
Christopher Wheatley, 31, was carrying an ax and a hose up a ladder at the Avec restaurant, 615 W. Randolph, when he fell about 35 feet around 12:30 a.m., according to Fire Cmsr. Robert Hoff.
He was taken in very critical condition to Stroger Hospital and was pronounced dead there at 1:19 a.m.
Dozens of police and fire cars, their lights flashing, lined the streets as Ambulance 15 carried Wheatley’s body to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Officers silently saluted.
“Firefighter Christopher Wheatly was carrying his equipment when he was making his way up . He slipped and fell to the ground. They worked to save his life, but it was too late. Firefighter Chris Wheatly was assigned to Truck 2. He left a mother, father, a sister, and a fiance. He was one of our finest, and that’s all I can say for right now.”
Hoff continued, “He was very well-liked, he was a paramedic, he always had a smile on his face. He was one of our best.”
The fire department formed a convoy to escort Wheatley’s body to the morgue. Police cars, their blue lights flashing, lined the street as Ambulance 15 carried Wheatley’s body to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Officers saluted.
Hoff said Wheatley came to the fire department in 2000 as a paramedic and became a firefighter in 2008. The source said he had a fiance.
Wheatley is the last firefighter to die in the line of duty since 2008. Firefighter William Grant was killed when a school bus struck the fire truck he was on.