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Fallen Firefighter Daniel Capuano Honored In Heartbreaking Ceremony

By Howard Ludwig | June 22, 2016 2:51pm | Updated on June 24, 2016 11:29am
 Chicago firefighter Daniel Capuano was remembered Wednesday with ceremonies at City Hall, the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy in the South Loop and the Chicago Fire Department Fallen Firefighter/Paramedic Memorial Park on lakefront at 2300 S. Ft. Dearborn Dr.
Daniel Capuano Remembered
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — Julie Capuano remembered visiting her late husband, Daniel, more than a decade ago when he was a training at the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy in the South Loop.

Capuano pulled his then pregnant wife aside to show her the Wall of Fallen Heroes. Inside the display case at 558 W. DeKoven St. are hundreds of badges of fallen firemen.

Daniel Capuano's badge was added to that wall Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony honoring the fallen firefighter from Mount Greenwood.

Capuano, 42, died Dec. 14 while working to extinguish a warehouse fire at 92nd Street and Baltimore Avenue in South Chicago. He fell two stories down an unmarked elevator shaft while battling the smoky blaze.

"I never thought we'd be here," Julie Capuano said. "It's heartbreaking to see his name."

Daniel Capuano was also honored by the City Council on Wednesday morning. He left behind Julie and their three children — Amanda, Andrew and Nicholas.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) announced on Facebook that the the 10500 block of South Hamlin Avenue will be renamed Aug. 5. as Daniel V. Capuano Avenue. Renaming the street outside the fallen fireman's home is meant "to forever honor his honor and sacrifice," O'Shea said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday afternoon, Amanda and Nicholas Capuano placed a brick engraved with their father's name at the Chicago Fire Department Fallen Firefighter/Paramedic Memorial Park along the lakefront at 2300 S. Ft. Dearborn Drive.

"I knew it was a dangerous job, but nothing can prepare you for this," Julie Capuano said. "Every time he went to work, I worried."

Daniel Capuano was a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department. He joined the department as a paramedic in 2001 and became a firefighter four years later. He also worked on his off-days as a fireman in suburban Evergreen Park.

Seeing the names on the wall, Julie Capuano remembered her husband attending the funerals of some of men whose badges are now placed beside his own. She found several prayer cards belonging to these fallen co-workers recently when going through his things.

"It's a great honor for him to be on that wall with all those other guys," she said.

Daniel Capuano also served as a volunteer hockey coach with the St. Jude Knights Hockey Club. Both of his sons played for the club, and he helped work with players in the off-ice training center. He was also an active parishioner at Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in suburban Evergreen Park.

Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago noted after the ceremony that the warehouse where Daniel Capuano died was having its elevator removed without the proper permit and pointed to the illegal work as a cause of the accident.

He also said his department is still grieving in the wake of Capuano's death. He described the city's firefighters as a brotherhood, adding that strong bonds are made among those working 24-hour shifts together.

"When we lose a firefighter, it is devastating. The entire department is rocked by it," Santiago said.

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