CFD releases cause of Chicago highrise blaze that killed veteran firefighter

The cause of the apartment fire that resulted in the death of a Chicago firefighter Wednesday has been revealed.

The CFD Office of Fire Investigation determined the blaze was accidental and started from combustible materials being too close to a heat-generating appliance in a large 27th floor apartment in the Gold Coast neighborhood.

Lt. Jan Tchoryk, 55, was heading to the location of the fire when he collapsed on the 11th floor.

"A mayday was called for help," said Chicago Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt. "The crews started treating him right away by doing CPR on the scene and got him back to the lobby where they continued."

An eyewitness outside the burning building saw the stricken firefighter brought out on a stretcher.

"About 25 firefighters were around the stretcher and medics working on someone. And I think that’s when everybody took a pause that this is something really serious," the witness said.


Paramedics rushed Tchoryk to Northwestern Memorial, but he couldn’t be revived.

Tchoryk had been a Chicago Firefighters since 1997 and worked out of Tower 10 on Division, which is now draped in purple bunting.

On Tuesday, another veteran Chicago firefighter, 49-year-old Jermaine Pelt, was killed while battling a fire on the city’s Far South Side.

"I can’t tell you how this impacts us losing two members in two days," Nance-Holt said. "As I said yesterday, this job is dangerous. And you never know if you’re coming home despite the best training and equipment we can provide."