Mayor Richard M. Daley’s statement:
STATEMENT OF MAYOR RICHARD M. DALEY ON THE DEATHS OF FIREFIGHTERS EDWARD STRINGER AND CORY ANKUM
On behalf of all the residents of Chicago, I extend my condolences to the families of Firefighters Edward Stringer and Cory Ankum, who died today in the line of duty. I knew Cory Ankum and his family and I share in their loss today.
Our prayers go out to the families of these two firefighters and to their brothers and sisters in the Chicago Fire Department, who put their lives in danger every day to keep Chicagoans safe.
FF Edward J. Stringer, Engine 63 on the left and FF/EMT Corey D. Ankum, Truck 34 on the right.
And our thoughts and prayers are with the other brave firefighters who remain hospitalized as a result of today’s fire.
The deaths of Firefighters Stringer and Ankum are both a sad reminder of how much gratitude we owe our first responders and a tragedy for all Chicagoans.
Uncredited Chicago Sun-Times photograph. More photographs here
One of the firefighters who died in an extra-alarm blaze this morning had been a police officer before deciding he wanted to join the Chicago Fire Department, his family said.
“He loved helping people and, I guess, he wanted to join to be like his older brother,” Gerald Glover, a firefighter himself, said about Corey Ankum. “I’ve been a firefighter 25 years.”
Neighbors said the second firefighter who died, identified by Mayor Richard M. Daley’s office as Edward Stringer, had two grown children and lived alone. Records show he has worked for the Fire Department since 1998.
“He was the best neighbor we’ve ever had in the 50 years we’re living here,” said an elderly woman who lived down the block from his brick Cape Cod home on the West Side.
Stringer and Ankum had been on the roof of the building in the 1700 block of East 75th Street with other firefighters when it collapsed, according to the brother of a firefighter on the scene.
Ankum’s wife is Mayor Daley’s personal secretary.
“I knew Cory Ankum and his family and I share in their loss today,’’ Daley said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. “. . . The deaths of Firefighters Stringer and Ankum are both a sad reminder of how much gratitude we owe our first responders and a tragedy for all Chicagoans.’’
Ankum was a former Chicago cop who joined the Chicago Fire Department’s Engine 72 a year ago and was described as a favorite at the firehouse at 79th and South Chicago.
The father of three children under 12 years old — including a 1 year old — was “first and foremost, a devoted family man,” said his brother, Gerald Glover, also a firefighter, who worked a different shift at the same firehouse.
The older brother said Ankum switched careers to join him in the fire department because he felt “police officers weren’t getting respect any more.”
The Chicago Fire Department District Commander, who didn’t want to be identified, was walking out of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office Wednesday carrying a Chicago flag that had been used to drape the remains of both firefighters and a red plastic bag filled with Stringer’s clothing. He said he knows Stringer’s mother, a retired city worker.
“We lost a friend, we lost a brother,’’ he said of Stringer. Stringer “would jump in’’ whenever needed. He also had a “quick wit.’’
Both firefighters were “excellent men, excellent firefighters, excellent parents, excellent friends,’’ the district commander said.