Chicago firefighter dies after falling through shaft on roof in Lincoln Park

Andrew Price, 39, joined CFD in 2009, Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt says

ByMichelle Gallardo, Jessica D'Onofrio, Tre Ward, Liz Nagy, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Firefighter dies after falling through roof in Lincoln Park
The Chicago Fire Department said firefighter Andrew Price was killed during a fire in Lincoln Park in the 2400-block of North Lincoln Avenue.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago firefighter Andrew Price was killed after falling through a hole in the roof of a building during a fire in Lincoln Park Monday morning.

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CFD Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said the fire broke out at about 6 a.m. in the 2400-block of North Lincoln Avenue in a four-story building. The building houses the Lincoln Station bar and restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. It is also near the Lincoln Hall music venue.

Chopper 7 flies above Lincoln Station as CFD crews respond Monday morning.

Nance-Holt said firefighter Price, better known to his colleagues as "DP," was on the roof opening up holes for ventilation when he fell through a skylight shaft while putting out hot spots at what appears to have been a kitchen fire.

SEE ALSO | Lincoln Park building where firefighter died passed inspection on Halloween

Resident Madison Carter lives on the fourth floor, where, she said, the firefighter fell through a light shaft on the roof and became trapped in her friend's pantry space.

"It's traumatizing to think that at some point we may have to go back and understand that that's where someone lost their life," Carter said. "I do thank that firefighter for being so selfless to try and save us."

The rush to safety for residents in the 2400-block of North Lincoln Avenue was scary.

Nance-Holt said a "mayday" was called and Price was located right away, but they needed to breach a wall to reach him.

"The main body of fire was extinguished. There were still hot pockets we were searching around when the tragedy happened," said CFD Battalion Chief Michael McCormack. "When we first got eyes upon him, firefighter Price was responsive. Lieutenant asked if he could hear him, to move his arm. He moved his arm."

After being rescued, CFD said Price was transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he later died.

Nance-Holt said Price, 39, joined the department in 2009.

CFD Commissioner Annette Nance Holt speaks about firefighter Andrew Price, who was killed in a fire in Lincoln Park Monday.

"This job is a very, very dangerous job, and we go to work and we never know if we'll come home," Nance-Holt said.

She called him a leader and a good friend.

"We all knew Drew," Nance-Holt. "Drew worked out. He was a health nut, loved by so many and will be missed by all."

Price was a member of Engine 55, truck 44.

"He was a lovely man," McCormack said. "He was as sweet as could be. He took extremely good care of himself and his family. He was extremely healthy. He was a light of sunshine. He never had a bad thing to say about anybody. Kind of quiet, a good family man. Everybody loved him."

A 14-year-veteran of the fire department, the husband and son would have celebrated his 40th birthday in January.

Price's fellow firefighters said he had become known around the North Side neighborhood he served with his token "hang loose" hand gesture. It's how he posed in every picture.

They said Price would often wave it out the window of the firetruck and shout his favorite Hawaiian saying, "Mahalo." Murphy's Bar and Bleechers is already commemorating Andrew Price on their marquee.

"It really stinks. He's like a big kid, really enthusiastic. Just a wonderful young man, very himself in very good shape, great physical condition. Just a great firefighter. I loved working with him. We all loved working with him," McCormack said.

Price's name is now scrawled at the top of a firehouse chalkboard no Chicago firefighter hopes to be on.

It has been an unbelievably painful year for the fire department. The procession carrying Price's body from Illinois Masonic Hospital to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday afternoon marked the fourth time members of CFD have had to come together to mourn a line of duty death.

The body of a fallen Chicago firefighter was seen arriving at the morgue Monday.

"Let me let me say this. We all love what we do, and we all know that when we go to work, it may be our last," Nance-Holt said. "We we work through our grief, we really do. Do we understand this? Of course we don't understand this. I'm gonna tell you I've shed a lot of tears today."

Mayor Brandon Johnson was at the hospital as well to give his condolences to firefighter Price's family.

"I'm also grateful that we have brave people who are serving the city every single day, and our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers are with the Price family. The loss of a firefighter in this city is yet another reminder of how sensitive life is," Johnson said.

Meanwhile, residents were forced out on the street after the early morning fire.

"Opened the door to a full hallway full of smoke," said resident Sean Graney. "Bolted through, and as soon as we get down to one of the floors, firefighters and other tenants were saying, 'Get out! Fire! Fire!'"

Fire investigators spent all day going in and out of the building that was home to mostly students. The firefighter's tragic death still lingers with the residents.

"That really hurt because knowing someone put their life out there for me and risked their life for me," Graney said.

The rush to safety for residents was scary.

Kaitlyn Milligan heard firefighters knocking on her third-floor apartment door telling her and her roommates to get out. She scrambled to grab her guinea pigs.

"The hall was filled with a lot of smoke, yeah," Milligan said. "It wasn't too bad. I can still breathe and everything. It just happened so fast to where I just got my guinea pigs, and I just sprinted out as fast as I could."

Milligan's roommate, Madi Childress, rushed to get her cat, but had to evacuate. When the fire was out, she was eventually allowed back inside to find her.

"She's OK," Childress said. "She was terrified but she's OK. She was hiding under my bed. I was worried that the smoke would be too much for her but she was OK."

Many people who lived in the 12 apartments above the bar in Lincoln Park were left wrapped in the few items they could grab.

"I don't have any belongings. What I have is on my body, and my phone," Carter said.

The bar on the ground level has been a well-known staple in the neighborhood near DePaul University for decades.

The fire boke out at a building that has both a restaurant and apartments.

The owner, Benn Hamm, said the damage is devastating.

"We've been around a long time in a neighborhood where it's a revolving door of bars and grills and restaurants, so we're proud of that and we hope we can come back, but we're just trying to figure out what it looks like first I guess," Hamm said.

About two hours ago, people were allowed back inside to retrieve what little they could as they work to find a place to stay for the time being.

There are no reports of any civilian injuries.