Chicago Firefighter Dies After Battling High-Rise Blaze

Chicago Firefighter Dies After Battling High-Rise Blaze
Flames shoot out of the window of a high-rise building in Chicago on April 5, 2023. (ABC 7 Chicago WLS via AP)

CHICAGO—A firefighter died Wednesday after being critically injured while battling a blaze in a high-rise building on Chicago’s North Side, authorities said.

Lt. Jan Tchoryk, 55, “went down” on the stairs on the building’s 11th floor, Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt told reporters.

The blaze was reported before 8 a.m. on the 27th floor of the condo and apartment building in the Gold Coast neighborhood. A medical examiner will determine Tchoryk’s cause of death.

Tchoryk is the second Chicago firefighter to die this week. Jermaine Pelt, 49, died on Tuesday and two other firefighters were injured while battling a house fire on the city’s South Side.

“Our men and women who are first responders in the city are heroic,” outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference. “They are brave. They, every single day, put their lives on the line for us. They deserve our unending thanks and support, not just on a tragic day like this, but every single day.”

Three other firefighters were hurt in Wednesday’s blaze and taken to hospitals where their conditions were listed as fair to serious, officials said.

Two civilians also were taken to hospitals in good condition. Fire officials did not immediately say if they are residents of the building. Fire Department Director Larry Langford said the person who lives in the burning apartment made it out safely.

Langford said it was unclear how the fire started.

Fire department video showed flames and smoke pouring from a terrace or balcony early Wednesday. By mid-morning, most of the blaze was extinguished, but crews were still addressing hot spots and smoke.

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