CHICAGO (CBS) — A South Holland firefighter died during a training accident Wednesday night at a quarry in Kankakee.
Village leaders announced the firefighter’s death Thursday morning, but did not provide much detail about what happened.
South Holland Firefighter Dylan Cunningham, of Thornton, was diving during a training exercise at Haigh Quarry in Kankakee around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s not clear what happened, but paramedics from the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District were called in to help a diver in distress.
Cunningham, 29, was in “critical distress” when paramedics arrived. They took him to Amita St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee, and he later was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
South Holland village administrator J Wynsma said the cause of the incident is under investigation.
“The Village of South Holland is deeply saddened to report the tragic loss of firefighter Dylan Cunningham, following an underwater dive on Wednesday, September 30, 2020,” Wynsma said in a statement. “We know you have many questions, and so do we. Our efforts will bring conclusions that we will share with you in the coming days. In the days ahead we will be doing everything we can to support the Cunningham family. We ask that you keep Dylan’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
A procession of vehicles from the South Holland Fire Department, Chicago Fire Department and other police and fire vehicles escorted Cunningham’s body to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office overnight.
Firefighters saluted as the procession rolled by.
An autopsy is scheduled for later Thursday.
Cunningham started as a part-time firefighter with South Holland in 2011, and became a full-time firefighter in 2018. He also has served in the Illinois National Guard since 2012.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for his fiancée and unborn son.