CHICAGO — Early indications are that a house on Chicago's south side flashed just after Capt. Herbert Johnson entered. He sustained second- and third-degree burns as well as damage to his lungs and airway and went into cardiac arrest; he died at the hospital.
Another firefighter suffered smoke inhalation, but he is reported to be in good condition, The Sun Times reported.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the fire was burning in the attic of the 2 ½-story house when firefighters arrived. CFD spokesman Larry Langford told the Tribune it is not yet clear if the house flashedover, but that appears to be the case.
"The problem was the damage is done internally from the super-heated air," Langford told the paper. "It compromised his airway and his lungs, and they (the doctors) made a valiant effort ... They worked an extended period of time in the ER ... above and beyond."
Johnson was 54 years old and leaves behind a wife and three children
"He touched everybody that ran into contact with him," Mayor Rahm Emanuel told ABC 7. "He was a larger than life person."
According to the Sun Times, Johnson had been promoted to captain this past summer and volunteered his time at a burn camp and put together a team of firefighters to go to New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was also awarded the state's Medal of Honor in 2007 for bravery.
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Tom KellySaturday, November 03, 2012 12:14:05 PMthis will be a great loss not only to his crew but also all the lives he would have touched through the burn camp....RIP Captain Johnson.
Steve MetchoMonday, November 05, 2012 9:33:44 AMRIP. Brother...........
Tom KellyMonday, November 05, 2012 10:35:41 AMLets all learn from this tragedy.
Wayland SlaterMonday, November 05, 2012 4:06:50 PMGodspeed, Cappy. I certainly hope that others will step up and start working at that burn camp.
Monday, November 05, 2012 4:12:19 PMRIP Cap. Your brothers found a much better world, knowing you. Salute from an Old timer.
ReneeAnd Henry MorenoMonday, November 05, 2012 4:15:59 PMRIP Captain Herbie, from all Firefighters on the West Coast. You made the "Ultimate Sacrifice", that someday any Firefighter may have to make.No matter how safe we try to be. God Bless
Francis CookMonday, November 05, 2012 5:02:23 PMRest In Peace Capt. God bless...
Steve FergusonMonday, November 05, 2012 5:35:57 PMgreat-loss-for-chicago-fire-and-ems-rip-brother
Tracey L DrewMonday, November 05, 2012 6:08:41 PMvery sorry for your loss RIP Capt.........blessed be.
Tommie Jarrell XerriTuesday, November 06, 2012 12:50:34 PMI'm so sorry for the lose to the family and the community of firefighters without you there would so many more lives lost.
Will SavoyTuesday, November 06, 2012 5:58:29 PMRIP Capt. Johnson and my condolence to his family and my brother firefighters of The Chicago Fire Department. Tragic news and horrible reality of our dangerous career.