Chicago Fire Dept. honors fallen 33-year veteran - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago Fire Dept. honors fallen 33-year veteran

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Family and friends describe Captain Herbie Johnson as a devoted man who just wanted to make Chicago a better place.

The body of the 33-year Chicago Fire Department veteran was transported from the Medical Examiner's office to a Chicago Ridge funeral home one day after he succumbed to his injuries.

Family and friends remain stunned by Capt. Johnson's untimely death.

SEE: Chicago firefighter killed in extra-alarm blaze on South Side

At McNally's in Morgan Park, a popular pub for firefighters, Bob Graney described his friend of 20 years.

"He would go in and help anybody at any given time. We just thought he was a great guy," Graney said. "Big shock, big shock, the whole neighborhood is in shock, everybody is in mourning right now."

Capt. Johnson suffered 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns to his face, in addition to damage to his internal airway and lung, all leading to cardiac arrest. Firefighters filled the streets surrounding the University of Chicago hospital and held a tribute moments after Johnson's passing Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon, purple bunting was draped across the Engine 123-Tower Ladder 39 fire station where Johnson is remembered as having a larger than life personality and being a leader.

Capt. Johnson was promoted to captain this past summer. He posed for a picture with Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago on the day of the ceremony. It was a proud moment for the husband and father of three.

"His family is very, very close to me," Tom Smith said. "His wife used to babysit my kids and my kids babysat his kids. I know the family pretty well."

The cause of the huge fire at 50th and Western remains under investigation. Although on Friday night, resident Longino Soto said a cable may be to blame. He also said there was no warning and that smoke detectors were not working.

The Chicago Tribune reports Capt. Johnson's family has asked that residents make sure their smoke alarms are working and to give their children a hug, in honor of the fallen firefighter.

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