On March 24, 1995, Engineer Donald J. Kaczka of Engine 28 of the Chicago Fire Department died in the line of duty while fighting a refuse fire on S. Laflin Avenue. At 8:15PM, Engine 28 received the alarm from the main fire alarm office and, when they arrived at the scene, the firefighters were confronted with a very large pile of burning rubbish. Kaczka drove the engine into the fire area and positioned the engine in the location that was considered to be the best vantage point for attacking the fire.
Kaczka assisted with a number of these tasks, helping to pull the dry four inch hose line that was initially connected to the faulty hydrant. He also helped move the waterlogged line when the engine was backed up and repositioned, and then dragged the waterlogged line to the engine’s new position. He also helped pull the 1-¾ inch horseshoe line off of the engine bed. Kaczka was ordered to charge the line, but before he could do so he collapsed to the ground. Kaczka’s fellow firefighters called for an ambulance and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.
Donald J. Kaczka, 57, a Chicago firefighter, died Friday in the University of Illinois Hospital after having a heart attack at the scene of a fire at 24th and Laflin Streets.
Born in Chicago, Mr. Kaczka was an engineer who served with the fire department for 27 years.
Survived by his wife, Shirley; a son, Scott; a stepdaughter, Janice Stojetz; a stepson, Gary Siwek; his mother, Dolores; two sisters; and six grandchildren.