CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Fire Department is mourning the loss of another colleague.
Firefighter Brian Schofield was one of the two men killed Sunday night in a wrong-way car crash on I-57.
The accident happened near 183rd Street on I-57 just before 9:30 p.m.
Investigators say off-duty Chicago Firefighter, Brian Schofield, was driving a 2009 Hyundai sedan south in the northbound lanes when he crashed head-on into a 2005 Jeep and his car burst into flames.
“Lots of fire, the SUV was in flames,” recalled Tracy Barkauskas.
Barkauskas witnessed the accident and watched as firefighters worked to put out the flames, saying, “It took probably a good 20 minutes to put it up. They would get it down and it would flare up again. It did that quite a few times.”
Schofield, 55, and the other driver whose identity has not been released, both died at the scene.
Traffic on I-57 was backed up for miles and was diverted for hours.
Schofield worked in the Fire Prevention Bureau, which makes sure property is safe by enforcing fire codes. He was killed the night before the funeral of CFD diver Juan Bucio.
Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said the death of another firefighter hits colleagues, who live and eat together, especially hard.
“Anything happens in that family, in that firehouse, really strikes us,” stated Santiago.
Schofield’s brother spoke to CBS 2 on the phone.
“The comradery that he shared with the other firemen was something that made him very happy,” he said. “I’m waiting for them to finish the investigation because from the look of the scene, the car doesn’t look like it was on fire. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
The Fire Commissioner says he’s waiting to see what happens in the crash investigation.
The reason Schofield was driving in the wrong direction remains under investigation.
Schofield’s brother tells CBS 2 that he was a father of three and a firefighter of 18 years. Before serving the city, he served for the country in the military.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams and Charlie De Mar contributed to this story.