CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — The Fire Department held a christening ceremony Thursday in Burnham harbor, naming its new $8.5 million fire boat in honor of a firefighter who died last year.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, Mayor Richard M. Daley was in attendance for the christening of the 90-foot Christopher Wheatley.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports
“It’s been one of my great privileges to work closely with men and women like Wheatley,” the mayor said.
Wheatley, 31, was killed in August of last year, when he fell 35 feet off a ladder and died while he battled a fire at the Avec restaurant, 615 W. Randolph St.
Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff said Wheatley is truly deserving of being called a hero.
“In an age that worships professional athletes, movie stars and the rich and famous, we need to understand the difference between being a hero and being famous,” Hoff said. “Chris Wheatley was a standout, and without a spoken word and without expectations of any reward, Chris was a hero and is a hero.”
Wheatley’s mother broke a bottle of champagne over the bow of the new fire boat.
Wheatley family friend Tom Miller said they’re very proud.
“He would say he didn’t deserve it. I know Chris,” Miller said. “He’s looking down on all of us now and thinking it’s good.”
The Christopher Wheatley is the first new fire boat for the Fire Department since 1949. She weighs 300 tons and cost $8.5 million to build, the Windsor Star of Windsor, Ont., Canada, reported.
Coincidentally, the boat was constructed in the town of Wheatley, Ont., Canada.