ROGERS PARK — A month after being struck by a minivan while working on his own vehicle, 43-year-old Chicago firefighter Lorenzo Douglas died Tuesday.
According to the Medical Examiner's office, Douglas, of Rogers Park, died at 11:05 a.m. Tuesday from injuries caused by being hit by the van.
He was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston with critical injuries, fire officials said.
The death came as a "tragic surprise" to the city's fire department, said spokesman Larry Langford, who said Douglas had been struck by the van in June but appeared to be on the road to recovery.
Douglas was eventually released from St. Francis to a rehabilitation center in suburban Des Plaines, where he fought to regain his strength.
During that process, Langford said Douglas suffered what appeared to be a seizure for unknown reasons "and just didn't come out of it."
"We were concerned he wouldn't make it for a while, but he fought through," Langford said. "He appeared to be recovering ... he was going through the rehab process. We all kinda all thought he was gonna make it — that was just a tragic surprise that we weren't expecting."
A 2012 profile picture on Douglas' Facebook shows him wearing a formal fire department uniform with the caption, "I got God, got love and now I got the badge."
Douglas worked as a firefighter at the Engine 103 station, a single-engine firehouse in the West Loop known for its open-door policy to the public and its firehouse dog, Freckles.
He had "always dreamed" of becoming a firefighter, and would dress as one as a little boy, his younger sister Anita Douglas told DNAinfo.
"He was well-known over there in that neighborhood, and well-liked at the firehouse," Langford said. "It's just a single-engine firehouse there, just a few guys, but he was well-liked."
Tributes from other stations and friends of Douglas appeared on social media the day after his death, expressing condolences to his family and the Chicago Fire Department.
Douglas said her big brother always "cracked jokes" that made her laugh, and he was the "strongest God-fearing man I knew."
He leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter and fiancé; his mother, a retired Chicago Police officer of 24 years; his father; brother, William Douglas and sister Anita.
"He also leaves behind his firefighter brothers and sisters," his sister said.
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