Chicago firefighter's wife dies from injuries days after 7-year-old son killed in Montclare blaze

The Chicago Fire Department is fundraising for the family.

ByDiane Pathieu and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Chicago firefighter's wife remembered as loving, bright presence
Summer Day-Stewart died in the hospital several days after a house fire that also took the life of her son. Two more children remain hospitalized. Her family is devastated.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago firefighter's wife has died from her injuries days after her son was killed in a Northwest Side fire, the Cook County Bureau of Administration said on Friday.

She has been identified as 36-year-old Summer Day-Stewart. Her 7-year-old son, Ezra Stewart, also died after the Montclare house fire on Tuesday night, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Ezra died at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

"Summer lived up to her name," said her sister-in-law Amber Day. "She was the sunshine to everybody."

"Everywhere she went, she meant something to everybody. She was just that kind of person," her sister Sarah Day said. "She was so unique."

Two other children were critically injured in the fire, which broke out just after 9 p.m. in the 2500-block of North Rutherford Avenue, officials said. Everyone inside the home suffered severe smoke inhalation.

A deceased pet was also seen being removed from the home Wednesday morning.

CFD Spokesman Larry Langford said the firefighter at Truck 55 in Edison Park rushed to the scene after hearing his own address come over the scanner. His fellow firefighters huddled around to show their support.

"How do you come back from that?" Amber Day wondered. "How do you recover from that? How do you go on knowing that that was your life? That was it?"

And while the other two children do remain hospitalized, the family is preparing for the worst.

"It's not optimistic," Sarah Day said.

The family has a simple message to others.

"Don't forget to tell people you love them, because one day you're not gonna get another chance," Sarah Day said.

Ignite the Spirit, a Chicago Fire Department charity, has established a fund to support the family.

Chicago fire officials passed out smoke alarms and fire prevention materials near where the fire occurred, as they always do after a deadly blaze. It's a reminder to check devices and change batteries in the detectors, especially as we approach the time change weekend.

The home involved in the fire did have detectors, CFD said.

Fire inspectors are working on determining the cause of the fire. Investigators wouldn't say whether or not the fire was intentional as the cause remains under investigation.