|Agency||Northbrook Fire Department|
|Type of Firefighter||Career|
|Age Range||46 to 50|
|Date of Birth||8/15/1951|
|Date of Death||6/21/1999|
|Cause of Death||Contact/Exposure|
|Nature of Death||Burns|
|Attribute of Death||[not applicable]|
|Type of Duty||Fire inspections , Fire investigations|
On June 11, 1999, Assistant Chief Wayne Robert Luecht of the Northbrook Fire Department was fatally injured in the line of duty.
At 1PM, the Northbrook Fire Department responded to a local department store to investigate smoke that was coming out of an electrical closet. Firefighters determined that there was no live fire in the building, but because the store’s lights were inoperable, an electrician was summoned. As head of the Fire Prevention Bureau, Luecht accompanied the electrician, a building engineer, and a store manager to inspect the electrical panels in the store’s engineering room. The electrician was testing the store’s emergency circuit breakers when an electrical fault occurred, producing a fireball with temperatures in excess of 3000 degrees.
Luecht and the electrician suffered critical third degree burns, and the building engineer also suffered severe burns. Despite his severe injuries, Luecht was able to help direct the firefighters who responded to the explosion, instructing them to treat the other injured victims first. The electrician died the following day, and Luecht succumbed to his severe burns on June 21.
Funeral services for Luecht were held at Our Savior Evangelical Free Church in Wheeling on June 25, and he was buried at Memory Garden Cemetery.