West Nile virus suspected in firefighter's death

October 4, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Lieutenant Thomas Flahive, a 23-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, died Thursday. He was assigned to Engine Company 108.

Lt. Flahive's colleagues say he was a highly regarded firefighter.

"To hear his voice brings a smile to your face. Very good guy, his men loved him. There wasn't anything that they wouldn't do for him. A very respected man," said Lt. Darnell Pettis, Chicago Fire Department.

Lt. Flahive returned from a vacation in Wisconsin where doctors believe he was bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus. He was hospitalized for two weeks and had fallen into a coma.

"A couple guys from his shift came in a little teary eyed, and it's going to be hard," said Mark Nielsen, Chicago Fire Department. "Some of the younger guys in this house, Tom is the only officer that they've known."

Flahive is survived by his wife and three adult children.

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