|Agency||Chicago Fire Department|
|Rank||Deputy Fire Commissioner|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||71 and over|
|Date of Birth||0/0/0|
|Date of Death||12/2/1997|
|Cause of Death||Vehicle collision|
|Nature of Death||Trauma|
|Attribute of Death||Duty disability|
|Type of Duty||Responding to/returning from incident|
On February 3, 1985, Chicago Fire Department Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Jesse Stewart was fatally injured in the line of duty while responding to an arson fire in an apartment building on W. North Avenue.
The Chicago Fire Department initially responded to the apartment building fire during the evening of February 2. Firefighters left the scene after extinguishing the flames, but the fire rekindled and grew into a 3-11 alarm fire after midnight on February 3.
As the ranking on-call fire officer, Stewart responded to the alarm from his South Side home. When he was within a few blocks of the fire, his fire department vehicle was struck by another car at the intersection of North and Leavitt Avenues. Stewart had the right of way, and his emergency siren and lights were activated, but the other car ran a red light.
Stewart suffered serious head and torso injuries in the collision, and was transported first to St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center, and then to Bernard Mitchell Hospital at the University of Chicago. He never regained consciousness following the collision, and he remained in a coma until his death at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn on December 2, 1997.
Stewart joined the Chicago Fire Department in 1952, rose through the ranks for the next thirty-three years, and, at the time of the traffic accident, was the highest-ranking African American in the department. Funeral services for Stewart were held at Gatling’s Chapel on December 5, and he was survived by two children, two grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and four siblings.
R. Bruce Dold, “Car crash severely injures high fire official,” Chicago Tribune, February 4, 1985.
Obituary of Jesse Stewart, Chicago Tribune, December 5, 1997.