UPDATED 8/10/2010 16:00 hrs
Visitation: Thursday, August 12th (1E) (EMS 1) from 3:00 pm-9:00 pm at the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home located at 4727 W. 103rd St in Oak Lawn.
CFD Assembly at 1830 hours – Walk thru at 1900 hours
Funeral Service at Blake-Lamb Funeral Home on Friday August 13th
CFD Assembly at 0800 hours
Prayer Service at 0915 hours
Walk-thru immediately following prayer service
Funeral mass will be held on Friday, August 13th (2A) (EMS 2) will be held at St. John Fisher Church located at 10234 S. Washtenaw in Chicago at 1030 hours
Interment: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery – 3001 W. 111th St – Worth. IL
Uniform – Class A (blouse & white gloves)
He was carrying equipment up an exterior fire escape ladder at the Ayec Restaurant at 615 West Randolph in downtown Chicago overnight when he apparently slipped and lost his hold. He fell about 35 feet to the ground below suffering injuries that were so traumatic they would end his life.
Chicago firefighter Christopher Wheatley gave his life last night, the first CFD member to die in the line of duty since 2008. He had been carrying an ax and hose to open up the grease chute in what turned out to be a minor fire just after midnight.
He was immediately worked on the scene and transported to Stroger Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center (formerly called Cook County Hospital) were dozens of doctors, nurses, and specialists were waiting to care for him. Tragically, Christopher was pronounced dead at 1:19 a.m.
Outside the hospital scores of police and firefighters stood vigil as a Chicago Fire Department Ladder truck extended it’s boom, raised high over the entrance to the building in silent tribute to their fallen brother.
As Firefighter Wheatley’s body was moved from Stroger Hospital to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office nearby, nearly 50 fire, police, and ambulance vehicles with lights flashing lined the streets, officers saluting as CFD Ambulance 15 passed by.
Christopher Wheatley joined the Department ten years ago as a paramedic. In 2008, he “crossed over” and became a firefighter, as many often do. He was currently assigned to Truck 2.
According to Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff, Wheatley “was one of our finest”, “always had a smile”, and well-liked by all who knew him.
“He was a very aggressive firefighter — he was into the job,” Hoff said later, standing outside Wheatley’s firehouse not far from the restaurant that caught fire. “He was aggressive. He was into training. He was an all-around firefighter. He loved the job.”
“He trained constantly, took a lot of difference classes to educate himself and make him better. He was a good team player, helped out with the small things, house cleaning, cleaning up. He never backed off that. He was always there,” said Brian Reese, Chicago firefighter.
Firefighters who worked with Wheatley hung a purple and black bunting at their West Loop fire station, gave each other support and talked about his passion and strive to help others.
“He was a great guy, step-up guy, great shape, worked out every day. Loved his sports, loved to ride on his boat with his fiancée, loved his family,” said Scott Buckley, Chicago firefighter.
Christopher Wheatley leaves behind his mother, father, a sister, and his fiancé.
As soon as arrangements are made known, we will pass them along immediately.
Please pause and pray for our fallen brother, his family, and all those with whom Christopher has served as we remember all the lives which he touched in his all-to-brief presence with us in this world.
WGN-TV news reports as they progressed throughout the morning:
Also on Fire Daily…
- Fire Daily’s 360 Burn Around The Fire Webs – February 2, 2012
- UPDATED Video and Fireground Audio: 42-year old James Rice, a Peabody MA Firefighter Killed in the Line of Duty – December 23, 2011
- NFFF/CFD Video—> Make this a MUST WATCH FOR ALL FIREFIGHTERS. Perfect training. – December 28, 2011
- A St. Patrick’s Day Salute to CFD Chief Eddie Enright – March 15, 2013