CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Firefighter Walter Stewart lost his entire family after succumbing to injuries sustained in a fire that broke out at their home last week. Stewart was reportedly on duty on Tuesday, March 7, when a fire broke out in his home while his wife and three children were inside.
The veteran firefighter rushed to his residence in Chicago’s Montclare neighborhood to perform CPR on his wife, despite not being part of the original rescue team assigned to the scene. Stewart’s seven-year-old son, Ezra, was pronounced dead Wednesday night, March 8, as confirmed by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. His wife Summer Day-Stewart, 36, died Thursday evening March 9. The two other young children of the firefighter were then hospitalized in critical condition. Two-year-old Emory Day-Stewart and nine-year-old Autumn Day-Stewart died Friday evening March 10, according to the medical examiner.
Memphis house fire kills family of 4 as dad tries to smash windows to save his children, aged 8 and 10
Brave six-month-old kitten dies after saving family of six from devastating fire in their Ohio home
Fire officials previously said all four of Stewart’s family members inhaled smoke during the blaze, according to CBS Chicago. Autopsy results with definitive causes of death were not finalized at the time of publication. Meanwhile, the exact cause of the fire is still unknown and is currently under investigation. Speaking to The Associated Press, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said the fire started in the kitchen. A spokesperson also told CBS Chicago that the department was working with the medical examiner’s office to determine how the incident unfolded.
On Friday, firefighters distributed smoke detectors and other fire prevention equipment to residents of the Stewart neighborhood, which is believed to be standard practice after a deadly fire. However, Stewart’s family home had smoke detectors, according to CBS Chicago. The fire department has since launched a fundraiser to help Stewart’s family through their charity, Ignite the Spirit. “We wrap our arms and prayers around our brother for the loss of his wife and children,” the organization said in a statement on social media over the weekend, adding, “This is an unimaginable loss. and we will be by your side”.
Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times, a fire department source said Stewart had agreed to donate the organs of all four family members to help others in desperate need of transplants. The department informed the other members first and asked if anyone they knew was in urgent need of a donation. Meanwhile, the local 2 firefighters union also issued a statement of solidarity with the family. “All members of Local 2 and the department mourn with our brother Walter and the Stewart family. This tragedy weighs heavily on our hearts and we pledge our continued support,” Local 2 President Jim Tracy said in a statement. the statement, adding, “Local 2 encourages everyone to donate for Walter and the Stewart family through ‘Ignite The Spirit Chicago.'”