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Bristol-Kendall firefighter dies in accident at home

Bristol Kendall Firefighter Dawn Brown passed away Monday Big
Rock while off-duty.

Bristol Kendall Firefighter Dawn Brown passed away on Monday in Big Rock while off-duty.

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Updated: November 14, 2012 6:33PM

Bristol-Kendall and Big Rock Fire Protection District firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their own, following the death of firefighter/paramedic Dawn Brown.

Brown, 44, of the 400 block of Jefferson Street, Big Rock, died in an accident at her home Monday, according to Fire Chief Michael Hitzemann. The Kane County sheriff’s office said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing, but that foul play is not suspected.

“We don’t know a whole lot right now,” Hitzemann said of Brown’s death, which he said appears accidental.

Calls to the Kane County coroner’s office were not immediately returned.

Hitzemann said that Brown had been a member of the department since June 2007, and was nicknamed “Mother Dawn,” by her co-workers.

“She was just a very kind, very caring person,” he said. “She mothered everybody, and tried to take care of everybody.”

Hitzemann said Brown did not have children of her own, but lived with her husband who apparently found her on Monday after returning home from work. Sheriff’s deputies and Big Rock paramedics were called to the Brown home at 4:15 p.m. Monday, the sheriff’s office said.

Hitzemann, who has been with the Bristol-Kendall department for 20 years, said Brown’s death marks the third active-duty member he has lost.

“Chicago has had two terrible losses, one after another, and now we have a loss of our own,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to take.”

‘Loved being a paramedic”

Brown and her husband, Bob, began training with the Big Rock Fire Protection District in 2003.

“It is a small town, we all know each other,” said Big Rock Fire Protection District Capt. Debra Raymond. “They only live about six houses down from the fire station.”

Raymond said Brown and her husband worked together well.

“They were very much in love,” Raymond said. “Bob is devastated, and our thoughts are with him right now.”

Raymond called Brown a beautiful person with a kind heart, “an energetic, kind individual.”

“She loved being a paramedic, and was so kind to all of her patients,” she said. “It is very, very somber here. We are all grieving at this time.”

String of deaths

The death of Brown continues a tragic two weeks for firefighters in the Chicago area.

On Sunday, firefighter Walter Patmon Jr., 61, known for his barbecue and quick smile, died after suffering a heart attack at his fire house in the Beverly neighborhood in southwest Chicago.

The day before, Chicago firefighter Michael F. Boyd, 49, known to friends as “Mr. Fix-It” because he was so handy, died at his home in Wrigleyville after battling cancer.

And firefighter Herbie Johnson, 54, known for his loyalty and love of family, died Nov. 2 while battling an extra alarm blaze on Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago Sun-Times staff writer
Mitch Dudek contributed to this story.

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