CHICAGO — Chicago firefighter Jermaine Pelt was laid to rest Friday following funeral services on the city’s Far South Side.
Pelt’s funeral came nearly 24 hours after the department, along with family and friends, said goodbye to Lieutenant Jan Tchoryk, another firefighter who died in the line of duty.
Words used to describe Pelt included selflessness, bravery and heroism.
” I know it hurts but we will get through it together. We are CFD Strong and we will stay together and we will do the work that Jermaine is no longer here to do,” said fire commissioner Annette Nance-Holt, who revealed that Pelt was more than a colleague, he was a friend.
Nance-Holt recalled Pelt’s ever-present smile and legendary cooking.
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson was among the crowd gathered to celebrate Pelt’s life.
The 49-year-old died from smoke inhalation last week after fighting a massive blaze in west Pullman. He served with the fire department for 18 years. Throughout his career, he worked at the fire academy and was also an EMT and nurse.
He spent his entire career on the South Side.
Pelt’s father said he encouraged him to become a firefighter instead of a police officer. Pelt, who joined the department in 2005, had recently walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. The 49-year-old also had a 6-year-old son.
Loved ones described Pelt as selfless and an awesome father who was always striving to do better.
“You are my hero in every meaning of the word. We love you and see you on the other side,” said aunt Velma Genus.
Pelt’s visitation Thursday night at the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home came just hours after the funeral for Lt. Tchoryk, who collapsed and died in a high-rise fire in the city’s Gold Coast.
Services for Pelt began at 11 a.m. Friday.