Two firefighters died after a wall collapsed during a 3-11 alarm fire at an abandoned South Side commercial building this morning, authorities said.
Fourteen other firefighters were injured, including two who were trapped with the ones who died.
The firefighters killed were identified as Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum.
Police squad cars escorted two ambulances north on Lake Shore Drive to Northwestern as ramps were closed to clear it of traffic, according to fire communications.
Stringer was one of the firefighters taken there. The condition of the other one was not known.
Ankum, who had been with the department only 16 months, was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died.
Late this morning, dozens of firefighters stood at attention, removing their caps and saluting, as Ankum's body was taken from the hospital and put in an ambulance. A police escort led the ambulance to the medical examiner's office.
A similar procession with a dozen department vehicles left Northwestern shortly after noon with Stringer's body.
The fourth firefighter buried in the rubble, and as many as 12 other firefighters with undisclosed injuries, were also taken to hospitals.
Fire officials and sources said 10 were stable and six were taken to hospitals in serious to critical condition, including the two who later died.
The firefighters' deaths came on the 100th anniversary of a huge fire at the Union Stockyards that claimed the life of 21 Chicago firefighters, the single greatest loss in U.S. history of professional big-city firefighters until Sept. 11, 2001.
Read more here.
My deepest sympathy to the families of Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer. Deaths which occur during what is supposed to be the 'happiest time of the year' are overwhelmingly sad.
If you, my few readers, could just take a moment today, and say a prayer that these two firefighters' families will have strength to endure their sorrow...that would be the greatest gift you could give!
To those firefighters who were injured, I pray you all make a speedy recovery.
And to the Chicago Fire Department: There are many of us out here who appreciate so very much how you put your lives on the line each and every time you race to strike down a fire. My sincere condolences to all of you on the loss of two of your family members.