Chicago fundraiser raises money for families of fallen city firefighters

Just one week after two fallen firefighters were laid to rest, support for their families continues to pour in.

"We always talk about that the fire department is a family when they come on the job and even though we’ve lost these guys, their family is still our family," said Lt. Jim Pack with the Chicago Fire Department.

On Friday, a fundraiser to support the families of Chicago Firefighter Jermaine Pelt and Lieutenant Jan Tchoryk was held at Leona's Pizzeria & Restaurant in the city's Irving Park neighborhood.

"When things like this happen and we lose people in the line, it cuts deeply like a lightning rod," said Billy Marino, Leona’s Pizzeria & Restaurant owner.

The event became a meeting place for memories to be shared and support to be fostered, with friends and strangers, alike, showing their appreciation for the fallen first responders.

"With the craziness in the world right now, unfortunately, something so tragic brings our community back together," said Pack.

Both Pelt and Tchoryk died in the line of duty – fighting two separate fires – earlier this month.

Pelt, 49, died while battling a fire in the city’s West Pullman neighborhood on April 4; Tchoryk, 55, died the next day while fighting a fire at a Gold Coast high-rise.


During the fundraiser, pizza was served along with appetizers and drinks.

In addition, a raffle and silent auction were held — all to support a cause that hits close to home.

"We’re a family, and you know what, we’re going to look after family," said CFD Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt. "The outpouring of support has been wonderful, and it just really warms my heart to know that perfect strangers even care about what’s happening in the city of Chicago and to our firefighters and paramedics here."

To assist the families of Firefighter Pelt and Lt. Tchoryk, visit