Posts Tagged Steve Chikerotis

Veteran Chicago firefighters retire has an article two retiring Chicago Fire Department veterans:

On Sept. 4, 1979, three young men joined the Chicago Fire Department ranks without having any idea that each of them in their own way would leave indelible marks on the job they loved.

After graduating from the fire academy, Jose Santiago, Dan Fabrizio, and Steve Chikerotis were reunited on the [Flying] Squad 2 — then the busiest firefighting team in the department, charged with making some of the scariest rescues their city could muster.

This month, two of them —  Fabrizio and Chikerotis — retired from active duty after 35 years.

“Along the way we touched a lot of lives,” said Santiago, who rose through ranks and now serves as fire commissioner, the top spot in the department.

Fabrizio, a battalion chief, twice served as president of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, where he negotiated a handful of contracts and fought against powerful mayors to preserve fire truck staffing levels, employee benefits and make sure his firefighting brothers had the equipment they need to serve Chicago citizens and protect their own lives.

His Squad 2 partner was Chikerotis, who rose to deputy district chief and became a writer who crafted real-life Squad 2 rescues into the compelling stories in his book, “Firefighters from the Heart.” He also brought real Chicago authenticity to the movie “Backdraft” and most recently to NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” a show born from an idea he scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

It happened in 1985. Chikerotis and Fabrizio were partnered up on the roof of a three-story apartment building on Milwaukee Avenue in a situation eerily similar to a fire that killed three firefighters months earlier.

Chikerotis scheduled his last shift on Veterans Day in an attempt to leave the job with the least amount of fanfare possible because he hates sappy goodbyes and doesn’t plan to leave Chicago. But Santiago, as his commanding officer, wasn’t about to let him get away with it.

On Saturday, Fabrizio’s firefighting brothers were scheduled to celebrate his last roll call in style by crossing two fire rescue ladders over the entrance to the Truck 19 firehouse — home of the “Warriors of West Town.”

An early morning “2-11” fire at a single-room occupancy hotel at Jackson and Sacramento sent Fabrizio sprinting to his “buggy” and racing to the scene.

And if he had his way there’s no chance he’d quit, but he’s in a tough spot.

“I’m an old fart,” Fabrizio said. “I feel like my body isn’t as strong as it was at one time. I feel the aches and pains. I have bronchitis. I got on the job in a time when we didn’t wear masks and used to go into a fire with our nose in our coats. I’m paying for it now. So, it’s time to go.”

Fabrizio, like Chikerotis, said what makes easing into retirement a bit easier is that he’s not planning to disappear to Florida like a lot guys on the job do.

“You know I might try to escape the cold, but I’ll never move,” he said. “I’m always gonna be a Chicago guy. Always.”

thanks Dan

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Chicago FD chief talks about fire safety on TV

Steve Chikerotis from the Chicago Fire Department explains why being careful with candles, space heaters and extension cords is critical to avoiding fires. He also offers advice for putting out grease fires.

This on the Today Show:

thanks Dan

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