Chicago Fire Department

Chicago Fire lieutenant laid to rest with procession, funeral

Lt. Kevin Ward, who joined the Chicago Fire Department in 1996, is the third Chicago firefighter to die in the line of duty in 2023

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NBC Chicago later this morning will live stream the procession and the funeral. The stream will play in the video above once it begins.

Several downtown Chicago streets will be closed Wednesday as a funeral procession takes place for a Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant who was killed in the line of duty.

Lt. Kevin Ward died in late August, nearly three weeks after he was injured while responding to a fire in the 8300 block of West Balmoral Avenue in Chicago's Norwood Park neighborhood.

Ward, 59, joined the department in 1996, officials said.

According to Chicago fire officials, Ward's funeral will be held Wednesday at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, located at 126 East Chestnut in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Mayor Brandon Johnson will be in attendance, Johnson's office said.

A walking procession will precede the funeral, with Ward being escorted from Engine 98 to the church.

The procession is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m., with a visitation service scheduled for 9 a.m., Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communication said. The funeral will begin at 11 a.m.

The procession will proceed westbound on Chicago Avenue to Michigan Avenue, where it will head north to the church, according to officials.

Michigan Avenue will close between Oak Street and Chicago Avenue for the procession, officials said.

Streets within an area bounded by Oak Street on the north, Rush Street on the west, Chicago Avenue on the south, and Mies Van Der Rohe on the east will intermittently close between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Additionally, some parking restrictions in the area will be in place, the OMEC said.

Ward's death marks 3rd firefighter death in 2023

Ward was one of three firefighters injured in the blaze on Aug. 11. A mayday call was issued during that fire, with two firefighters, including Ward, ending up trapped in the basement of the home.

He was taken to an area hospital with burns and smoke inhalation, and was originally listed in critical condition.

Ward remained hospitalized after the fire, and passed away on Aug. 29, according to officials.

"We were hopeful that lieutenant Kevin Ward would survived his injuries sustained at the fire about 17 days ago. But unfortunately, he didn't," Fire Commissioner Anne Nance-Holt said last month. "His family was with them as he died peacefully in the hospital."

Ward is the third Chicago firefighter death this year. April 4, Jermaine Pelt, a 49-year veteran of the department, was killed while responding to a fire on the city's South Side. Less than 24 hours later, Chicago Fire Lt. Jan Tchoryk died after collapsing while battling a blaze in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood.

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