Excerpts from the ChicagoSunTimes.com:

In 1965, Chicago Firefighter Richard Franzen lost his grip while riding on the back of Truck 20 after a rescue in Englewood. He fell into a coma, never regained consciousness, and died a few months later from complications related to the fall. In 1982, Chicago Firefighter Robert Danaher collapsed from smoke inhalation and suffered a fatal heart attack after re-entering a burning home where he had already rescued a woman in a wheelchair.

Now, Matthew Franzen and Maria Caponera, the grandchildren of both fallen firefighters have followed in their footsteps.

 At a Navy Pier graduation ceremony for 110 new firefighters and 30 new paramedics, 12 members of the class are Chicago Public School graduates, 20 previously served as police officers, and 33 are military veterans.

Fire Commissioner Richard Ford II couldn’t resist a joke about the former cops. “I am pleased that 20 of you came to your senses and exchanged your police service weapons for a fire hose and a ladder … I understand. Most of my family are police.”

The large graduating class of firefighters and paramedics will help the mayor achieve a goal of reducing overtime in the fire department.