Chicago Firefighter Remembered 30 Years After He Died in The Line of Duty at Hotel Fire

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DNAinfo.com MOUNT GREENWOOD — The same day the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX, the city also lost Chicago Fire Lt. Edmond Coglianese.

Coglianese, 42, of Mount Greenwood died while fighting a fire at the Mark Twain Hotel. He saved two elderly residents who were caught on the third floor of the residential hotel at 111 W. Division St. before he went back into the five-story building to search for more survivors, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

The 12-year-veteran of the department was later trapped by flames and died of smoke inhalation on Jan. 26, 1986, according to Tribune reports.

A bell ringing ceremony will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Coglianese’s firehouse — Engine Co. 98 at 202 E. Chicago Ave. in the Gold Coast. The hardworking father left behind his wife, Eileen, and two children Allyson and Matt.

In all, 35 senior citizens were rescued from the burning hotel using ladders. Another 100 people came out of the building through stairways, according to a fire department report.

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Allyson Coglianese was just 12 years old and in seventh grade at St. Christina Schoolwhen her father died. Her brother, Matt, was nine years old and in fourth grade at the Catholic school in Mount Greenwood.

“He was definitely a family man — really hard working,” Allyson Coglianese recalled about her father Monday.

She said her dad also worked at the Ace Hardware at 10340 S. Kedzie Ave. in Mount Greenwood when he wasn’t at the firehouse. She remembered him as a handyman who would often fix neighbors’ cars while she waited nearby.

Coglianese said her father came from a family of six children. The five Coglianese boys and one girl moved from Englewood to a home in the St. John Fisher Parish in West Beverly.

Ed and Eileen Coglianese later settled in Mount Greenwood. The family patriarch was known among friends in the neighborhood for getting right to the point, Coglianese said.

“He wasn’t a BS-er,” she said. “He was firm and direct.”

It’s these memories of her father that Coglianese carries with her as a member of the Gold Badge Society of Chicago. Allyson Coglianese serves as vice president of the group that helps support the families of fallen firefighters.

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Her mother, Eileen Coglianese, is president of the society. Among their most gut-wrenching duties is to arrive at the hospital and later at the homes of families who are mourning the sudden loss of a firefighter or paramedic who has died in the line of duty.

Their shared experience is meant to help ease the overwhelming emotional toll that is suddenly thrust upon the family. They also help with the finer details such as funeral arrangements, media requests and other issues that come along after such a tragedy.

“Gold Badge didn’t exist when I lost my father,” said Allyson Coglianese, who recently lent her support to the family of fallen firefighter Daniel Capuano of Mount Greenwood.

Capuano, 42, died on Dec. 14 after falling two stories down an empty elevator shaft while searching a smoke-filled warehouse fire in South Chicago. The 15-year veteran of the department left behind a wife, Julie, and three children — Amanda, 16, Andrew, 13, and Nick, 12.

Coglianese said she’s been in contact with Amanda Capuano. The pair share some similarities in that they both lost their fathers to fatal fires, both live in the same neighborhood on the Far Southwest Side and both have younger brothers.

“I just don’t want anyone to have to go through this alone,” she said.

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