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Chicago Fire Department Chief Dies After Father-Son Water Polo Match

By Howard Ludwig | May 8, 2017 12:13pm | Updated on May 9, 2017 2:10pm
 Chicago Fire Department Chief Michael Murphy, 56, of Beverly died Sunday after attending a father-son water polo match at Mount Carmel High School in Woodlawn.
Chicago Fire Department Chief Michael Murphy, 56, of Beverly died Sunday after attending a father-son water polo match at Mount Carmel High School in Woodlawn.
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Tim Olk, Northern Illinois Fireground Photography.

BEVERLY — Chicago Fire Department Chief Michael V. Murphy, 56, died Sunday after attending a water polo match at Mount Carmel High School in Woodlawn.

Murphy, a Beverly resident, led the department's Office of Fire Investigations. He was a member of St. Barnabas Parish and is survived by his wife of 31 years, Sarah, and their three children — Clare, John and William.

Murphy's son Will is a captain on the Caravan's water polo team, and Murphy suffered a suspected heart attack in a father-son water polo match on Sunday at the school at 6410 S Dante Ave. in Woodawn, said Dan LaCount, Mount Carmel's athletic director.

"I knew him as a father. He was a great dad," LaCount said Monday.

"All the kids on the water polo team knew him, and he was super encouraging," he said. "It's a tremendous loss for their family, and we respect their time to be together."

Murphy joined the fire department in October 1996. He was named the commanding fire marshal in February 2015 — a position tasked with determining the cause of structure and vehicle fires in the city.

Murphy was also the catalyst for an ordinance that requires the victims of vehicle fires to report such fires before any insurance claims are made. The new law has been credited for a decrease in fraudulent insurance claims involving automobile fires, said Larry Langford, a fire department spokesman.

Before joining the fire department, Murphy served as a physics teacher at St. Rita High School in Ashburn. He also coached cross country there in the early 1990s, according to a spokesman from the all-boys Catholic school.

 Chicago Fire Department Chief Michael Murphy, 56, of Beverly was the catalyst for the newly passed ordinance that requires the victims of vehicle fires to report all such fires for investigation before any insurance claims are made. The new law has been credited for a decrease in fraudulent insurance claims involving automobile fires, according to a fire department spokesman.
Chicago Fire Department Chief Michael Murphy, 56, of Beverly was the catalyst for the newly passed ordinance that requires the victims of vehicle fires to report all such fires for investigation before any insurance claims are made. The new law has been credited for a decrease in fraudulent insurance claims involving automobile fires, according to a fire department spokesman.
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Chicago Fire Department

The Ende, Menzer, Walsh & Quinn Retirees', Widows' and Children’s Assistance Fund will provide financial assistance to Murphy's children, said Bill Sullivan, who works for the group dedicated to widows and orphans of Chicago Fire Department personnel.

Visitation will be held from 3:30-9 p.m. Thursday at St. Barnabas Church, 10134 S. Longwood Drive. A funeral Mass for relatives and friends will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Barnabas.