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Fire Department Historian Passes Away At 84

(CBS) -- The Chicago Fire Department's historian -- retired Senior Fire Alarm Operator Kenneth Little -- has died at the age of 84.

Fire Department Chaplain Father John McNalis says phone conversations with Ken Little would often start with a question from Little:

"'Do you have a minute?'

"And if you said yes, the next time you looked at the clock, it could be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes later. And he just talked, and you'd go, 'I can't remember what we started with.'"

CFD Historian Ken Little
Ken Little, the historian of the Chicago Fire Department and co-author of several volumes, passed away Dec. 8, 2017. (image courtesy:

Father McNalis worked with Ken Little to produce four volumes of the history of Chicago firehouses. The job took 16 years.

"He never forgot anything.  He knew all of the details and could rattle off names and times and companies that responded, where he was when the call came in."

McNalis says Little grew up in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. His funeral Mass will be at St. Michael's.


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