CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of mourners packed a chapel Friday morning for the funeral of a Chicago firefighter who died after falling down an elevator shaft while battling a warehouse fire.
Firefighter Daniel Capuano, 42, fell Monday as he searched for the fire’s source. He died hours later. The 15-year department veteran was a married father of three and was remembered at St. Rita High School as a hockey dad who loved his family and faith.
“He was a big guy who had even a bigger heart,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during the service. “He put his duty above danger.”
The mayor said Capuano’s life was defined by service, sacrifice and selflessness. He thanked Capuano’s wife, Julie, and their three children, Amanda, 16, Andrew, 13, and Nick 12.
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“No one who wears the uniform of the Chicago Fire Department ever does so alone,” Emanuel said. “Their family suits up with them and serves alongside them.”
Capuano’s fire helmet with “Tower Ladder 34” written on it sat on a table during the funeral. Firefighters lined up in cold weather to honor Capuano and a fire truck was covered with purple bunting and flowers.
Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Tom Ryan called Capuano a hero.
“A hero to his department, a hero to his community, and most importantly, a hero to his family,” Ryan said.
Capuano will be buried in Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery in Alsip.
Separately, Capuano’s wife filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cook County court against Anilroshi, the company that owns the warehouse on the city’s South Side.
The lawsuit accuses Anilroshi of negligence by leaving the elevator shaft unguarded. It also says the company did not have work permits for renovations. The city is seeking to demolish the building but a judge has ruled it will remain standing while inspectors complete investigations.
Anilroshi attorney Patrick Cummings says no violations or citations had been issued at the property since the renovations began.