Chicago firefighter on the force for nearly 20 years dies of COVID-19

Mario Araujo

A Chicago firefighter has died of COVID-19.

Mario Araujo, 49, is the first firefighter from the Chicago Fire Department to die of the coronavirus respiratory disease.

"We lost another brother way to soon serving his city proudly during this pandemic. Thank you for your service. Rest In Peace Brother," Alderman Napolitano posted on Facebook.

Araujo had been on the force for almost 20 years, according to one fire station's Facebook page. He had been on a ventilator.

“CFD has lost one of our own to complications of COVID-19. Firefighter Mario Araujo, a proud member of CFD Truck Company 25 passed away this evening,” department spokesman Larry Langford tweeted.

Araujo joined the fire department in October 2003 and spent most of his career on Truck 25, which operates out of Engine 102 in Rogers Park on the North Side, Langford said.

“This tragic loss underscores the seriousness that we face as a city and a nation,” Langford said. “CFD members put themselves in harm’s way without hesitation to selflessly uphold the oath they took to be there for every person they encounter during an emergency situation.”

An autopsy Wednesday found Araujo died of acute respiratory disease and sepsis brought on by a COVID-19 infection, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Hypertensive cardiovascular disease also contributed to his death.

At least 46 members of the fire department have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Last week, a 50-year-old undercover officer became the first member of the Chicago Police Department to die of the coronavirus.