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Veteran Firefighter Dies Fighting South Side Warehouse Blaze

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 14, 2015 5:31PM


Tragedy struck when a Chicago firefighter was killed in the line of duty early Monday. Daniel Capuano, 42, passed away after falling down an elevator shaft in thick smoke while battling a fire at a vacant warehouse at 92nd Street and Baltimore Avenue.

Capuano was a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department and has a wife and three children, according to the Tribune.

He was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn less than two hours after being wheeled out of the warehouse in the South Chicago neighborhood at 2:40 a.m.

Firefighters were searching for the source of the blaze on the heavy smoke-filled second floor with no visibility but the glow of the fire through the smoke.

"As the firefighters went in there, they saw some holes throughout the floor," fire Commissioner Jose Santiago told the Tribune. "They gave out an emergency alert, 'Be careful.' It looks like firefighter Daniel had just walked into the elevator shaft as he was searching, couldn't see and fell."

Capuano was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft, and authorities were able to quickly put him in the ambulance, according to Santiago.

Losing a firefighter in the line of duty is a relatively rare occurrence for the CFD, but this is the second death in Capuano's Tower Ladder 34 in the last five years.

"As a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, Dan spent his career putting the safety of others ahead of his own," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

"He made the ultimate sacrifice so Chicago's residents could be safe. For that, there are no words that can truly express our sorrow for his loss nor our gratitude for his service and sacrifice to the City of Chicago. The thoughts and prayers of a grateful city are with Dan, his family, and his fellow firefighters at this difficult time," he said.