Illinois Fire Service Institute


Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Richard O'Connor
Agency Chicago Fire Department
Rank Captain
Type of Firefighter Career
Age Range [Unknown]
Sex Male
Date of Birth 0/0/0
Date of Death 10/4/1987
Cause of Death Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death Heart attack
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Responding to/returning from incident

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City Chicago
Incident State IL
Incident Date 10/4/1987
Incident Location Residential
Incident Attribute False alarms

Incident Summary

On October 4, 1987, Chicago Fire Department Captain Richard O’Connor of Engine 29 collapsed after climbing ten flights of stairs while responding to a false alarm in a multi-story Chicago Housing Authority project building. The building’s two elevators had been vandalized and were not in operation, leaving the stairs as the only way to reach the upper levels of the building. Paramedics attempted to revive O’Connor on-scene for more than forty minutes before taking him to Michael Reese Hospital where he was pronounced dead from a heart attack.


Philip Wattley and Pat Jamison, “Captain Dies After False CHA Alarm,” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 1987.

Philip Wattley, Jerry Thornton, and Pat Jamison, “CHA Elevator Vandalized Where Fire Captain Died,” Chicago Tribune, October 6, 1987.

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