CHICAGO — The first Chicago firefighter has died due to complications from COVID-19.
Mario Araujo, 49, passed away Tuesday after complications from the virus, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
Araujo was a 17-year veteran of the department, who served almost his entire career at Engine Company 102 in Rogers Park.
“CFD has lost one of our own to complications of COVID-19. Firefighter Mario Araujo, a proud member of CFD Truck Company 25 passed away this evening,” CFD spokesperson Larry Langford said.
Araujo became sick with coronavirus about two-weeks ago. He had no known underlying conditions. Fire officials said he was always hopeful and dedicated.
Fire Commissioner Richard Ford released a statement that said:
I regret to inform you all that we have lost a dedicated member of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) due to complications from COVID-19. Firefighter Mario Araujo passed away this evening, April 7th. He was 49 years old and joined the CFD in October 2003. Firefighter Araujo spent most of his career on Truck 25 located on the far North Side of Chicago. This tragic loss underscores the seriousness that we face as a city and a nation. CFD members put themselves in harm’s way without hesitation to selflessly uphold the oath they took to be there for every person they encounter during an emergency situation. Firefighter Araujo’s service will never be forgotten. We ask that the entire city extend prayers for Firefighter Mario Araujo, his colleagues, and his entire family. May God bless his soul.
Engine 62 posted Tuesday night, “It is with a heavy heart to report that Mario has passed away from C-19”
“He joined CFD in October of 2003 and spent most of his career at Truck 25. May God bless his soul,” Langford said.
The loss is also felt in Rosemont, where the police superintendent called Araujo a great man. He served within that public safety department as an auxiliary corporal.
Alderman Anthony Napolitano posted on Facebook Tuesday as well.
“Please say a prayer for Mario Araujo and his family. We lost another brother way to soon serving his city proudly during this pandemic,” Napolitano posted.
Most colleagues throughout the department are now masked and taking precautions. But many others are still adapting to fighting something other than smoke and flames.
There is now concern over a close colleague of Araujo.
“He also has coworker on the first shift who also tested as positive. He’s at home right now. They are monitoring him,” said CFD Dept. Dist. Chief Brian McKermitt.
That colleague is said to be recovering well.
CFD is actually tracking nearly 50 paramedics and firefighters who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, nine have recovered and returned to duty.