LINCOLN PARK — A firefighter died Monday morning from injuries battling a morning blaze in Lincoln Park.
Firefighter Andrew “Drew” Price, 39, died after falling through a light shaft at 2430-32 N. Lincoln Ave., which houses the Lincoln Station bar and grill and apartments.
Price was married and had been on the job since March 2009, Battalion Chief Michael McCormack said.
“He was a lovely man,” McCormack said. “He was a light of sunshine, never had a bad thing to say about anybody. … Everybody loved working with him.”
The fire started before 6 a.m. Monday in the four-story building, officials said. The building sits two doors down from Lincoln Hall and directly across the street from the historic Biograph Theater.
About 150 firefighters went to the scene of the fire, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
Officials initially reported a fire in a kitchen, but firefighters found smoke at the back of the building. The building was evacuated and the fire controlled, and firefighters were on the roof to extinguish hot spots and open up the roof, officials said.
That’s when Price fell, Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said.
A rescue squad was sent to the basement, where they breached a wall and reached Price, officials said.
“When we first got eyes upon him, firefighter Price was responsive,” McCormack said. “When a lieutenant asked if he could move his arm, he moved his arm.”
Price was rushed in “extremely critical condition” to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Workers at Illinois Masonic did “everything possible” to try to save Price, Nance-Holt said.
Nance-Holt knew Price from working out together, she said.
“I’m shedding a lot of tears right now,” she said outside the hospital where he died. “We all knew Drew.”
DePaul students Lucy Egan and Madison Carter stood outside their apartment building Monday, wrapped in blankets. They said most who live in the building are also college students.
Carter said she woke up early Monday to a “really bad smell,” and couldn’t turn on the light because the power was out.
Carter said she ran across the hallway to knock on other tenants’ doors. They were able to get out of the building safely, she said.
“There was also black smoke coming through the back staircase, and it was seeping out the windows,” Carter said. “The smoke was literally everywhere. You couldn’t see through it.”
Carter and Egan were sitting in DePaul’s nearby recreational center later Monday morning when they read news reports that a firefighter had died inside.
“He was a selfless person doing his job, trying to help other people,” Egan said. “It’s sad to see it happen like that.”
Mayor Brandon Johnson released a statement Monday, offering his condolences and prayers to “the Price family, his CFD colleagues and those he served with on Truck 44. The City is here to support all those who loved him during this difficult time.”
“Andrew gave his life in service to the City of Chicago, taking his position at the front lines of a threat to our safety and community. He made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those in harm’s way – a debt we can never repay,” Johnson said in the statement.
Price is the fourth firefighter to die this year, Langford said.
The department lost two firefighters, Jan Tchoryk and Jermaine Pelt, on consecutive days in April. Lt. Kevin Ward died after battling a house fire near O’Hare Airport in October.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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