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1 Firefighter Killed, Another Injured, In Extra-Alarm Fire

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Herbert "Herbie" Johnson, covered in soot, talks with reporters at a 2006 fire scene. (CBS)

Herbert “Herbie” Johnson, covered in soot, talks with reporters at a 2006 fire scene. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) –A 54-year-old Chicago Fire Department captain died Friday after helping fight a two-alarm blaze in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood.

Herbert “Herbie” Johnson incurred fatal injuries was injured while battling a fire at 2315 W.  50th Place that began in a house attic. A “flashover” may have occurred, fire officials said.

Johnson, a 33-year veteran of the department, suffered second- and third-degree burns and went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived at University of Chicago Medical Center, Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said.

“Our main concern right now is the family,” an emotional Santiago said at a news conference.

Johnson is survived by a wife, a daughter and two sons and has siblings in the Chicago Police Department. He became a captain over the summer.

A “Mayday” call — indicating a firefighter is in distress — came around 5:30 p.m.  Besides Johnson, another firefighter was injured and was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center. He was in good condition Friday night.

“On behalf of the people of the City of Chicago, I want to express my condolences to the family and friends of Chicago Fire Department Captain Herbert Johnson, who tragically paid the ultimate sacrifice while battling a blaze early this evening,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a written statement.  “As we mourn Captain Johnson, we are all reminded of the dangerous job and selfless work of our brave firefighters. Being a firefighter is not simply a job, but a call to serve the public and greater good.  In his 32 years protecting Chicago, Captain Johnson certainly exemplified the best traits in firefighters everywhere.”

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