IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Ronald Lemar
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Pilot
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range 36 to 40
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 8/13/1975
Cause of Death Vehicle collision
Nature of Death Trauma
Attribute of Death Drowning
Type of Duty Air rescue operations , Training duties , Water rescue operations

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 8/13/1975
Incident Location Water/Waterfront
Incident Attribute Training accidents , Aircraft accidents

Incident Summary

On August 13, 1975, Chicago Fire Department Pilot Ronald Lemar died in the line of duty when his helicopter crashed during a training exercise on Lake Michigan. Lemar and co-pilot Rudolph Allegrucci were flying a Bell G-17, pontoon-equipped helicopter during an air-sea rescue demonstration in which they “rescued” Diver Charles Thiel, who was in the water pretending to be a swimmer in distress. The pilots landed the helicopter on the water, and Allegrucci helped Thiel climb onto the pontoon on the right side of the aircraft. When the helicopter tried to take off, the right pontoon dragged in the water and caused the helicopter to tilt. The rotor blade hit the water and the helicopter was flipped upside down and caught fire. Thiel and Allegrucci were able to escape to a nearby fireboat that was there to witness the demonstration, but Lemar suffered fatal head injuries in the crash.


John O’Brien and Jon Van, “Copter crash in lake kills fireman; 2 hurt,” Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1975.

“Air-sea rescue demonstration ends in disaster,” Chicago Tribune, August 14, 1975.

Firefighter and Incident Images

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