August 11, 2010

Flags lowered to honor firefighter

Under a proclamation signed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, the United States flag and the Illinois flag are to be at half-staff at all State of Illinois facilities in honor of a Chicago firefighter who died while battling a blaze earlier this week.

Flags are to be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset, Friday, Aug. 13, in honor of firefighter Christopher Wheatley of the Chicago Fire Department.

Reports say Wheatley, 31, died after falling about 35 feet while fighting a grease fire at a West Loop restaurant early Monday. Officials say Wheatley slipped and fell from a ladder in the fire escape while carrying an ax, hose and oxygen tank -- about 75 pounds of equipment.

Wheatley initially became a member of the fire department as a paramedic in 2001 before becoming a firefighter in 2008, according to reports.