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CFD And Community Honors Firefighter MaShawn Plummer, Who Has Died Of Injuries Suffered In Belmont Central Fire Last Week

By Tim McNicholas, Charlie De Mar, and Mugo Odigwe

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own, after 30-year-old firefighter MaShawn Plummer died just days after being critically injured battling a fire in the Belmont Central neighborhood.

On Tuesday evening, a procession led Plummer's body from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, 2121 W. Harrison St.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, Plummer's family was also present as a solemn display was set up at the Medical Examiner's office. Meanwhile, leaders with the Chicago Fire Department said Plummer fought the good fight.

Mashawn Plummer
(Credit: Chicago Fire Department)

An American flag was unfurled on high outside the Medical Examiner's office Tuesday night. It is the heaviest flag a firefighter will ever carry, and the climb to hoist it is possibly the steepest.

The broad stripes and bright stars waved proudly for Plummer.

Meanwhile, a gauntlet of firefighters made sure Plummer wasn't alone as he made his final run. They lined the entrance to the Medical Examiner's office as his body was taken there, as "Amazing Grace' played on bagpipes.

"A special goodbye - the best there could be," said Shirley Simmons.

The cold wasn't going to keep Simmons, a lifelong family friend, away.

"He went down doing something that he loved," Simmons said.

The procession left from Loyola University Medical Center, where Plummer had been battling since last week.

Plummer was injured fighting a fire at 3138 N. Marmora Ave., in which another person died in that fire and two others were critically injured…

"I'm hurt," said Simmons. "My heart is heavy."

On Tuesday night, bunting hung from Engine 94 at 5857 W. Grace St., where Plummer was stationed and had just celebrated his first full year with the department.

But the amount of time on the job didn't matter. What counted to those closest was the man wearing the uniform.

"I'm so proud of him. I've never been so proud of him in my life," Simmons said. 'Rest on, MaShawn. Rest on."

Plummer leaves behind his parents and four sisters.

A prayer and memorial vigil were held for Plummer Wednesday morning outside his fire station, Engine Co. 94.

Plummer's mother, Felicia Townsend Plummer, said it was overwhelming seeing so many people showing up in solidarity for her son.

"He was love," she said.

His mother said Plummer was a man with big goals; to one day rise through the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department. She still remembers what her son said to her when he first became a firefighter.

"This is my time to make a difference. My time to make a difference. My time to show people where i came from. That we don't have to be confined by where we live," she said.

On Wednesday, the Belmont Central community and his fellow firefighters came out to Engine 94, the same fire station where he worked, and recently celebrated his first full year as a firefighter.

Amongst them was Nicole Gomez, whose brother Eladio Luis Gomez, was also killed in the fire that claimed Plummer's life.

"My brother was the most caring, understanding, and persistent person that I ever knew," she said.

She's still moved by Plummer's selfless sacrifice, as both families are now forever connected, brought together by tragedy.

"I feel empty every morning I wake up. Every single day I feel empty, so I know how they feel," Gomez said.

In the end, Plummer's mom finds comfort in the fact that he got to live out his dream of being a firefighter.

"He got that opportunity. Although it was short, he got that opportunity," she said.

Firefighters are still trying to figure what started last week's fire.

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