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Chicago firefighter's wife dies 3 days after fire that killed son, injured 2 other children

Community mourns after firefighter's wife, son die in fire
Community mourns after firefighter's wife, son die in fire 02:20

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago firefighter's wife has died after a devastating fire in the Montclare neighborhood, which also killed their 7-year-old son, and left two other children gravely injured.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed 36-year-old Summer Day-Stewart was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The firefighter, identified by Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 as Walter Stewart, performed CPR on his wife after the fire.

Their 7-year-old son, Ezra, was pronounced dead on Wednesday evening.

Their 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son remain in critical condition at the hospital.

Earlier this week, the Fire Department said all four members of the family suffered from smoke inhalation.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, one could still smell the charred smoke days after the fire.

If the smell alone isn't enough to choke you up, the fact that a mother and her son died days apart despite the best efforts of the Chicago Fire Department will leave a lump in your throat.

The fire broke out Tuesday night in a house at 2554 N. Rutherford Ave., right off Wrightwood Avenue.

New video shows response to deadly that destroyed firefighter's home 01:43

New video from the neighbors' Ring camera shows the chaos as firefighters arrived on scene. There was a massive presence as fire trucks lined North Rutherford Avenue.

The video shows what looks like a stretcher being wheeled up to the lawn in a frantic attempt to save the family.

On Wednesday night, a wreath with a teddy bear and a banner reading "rest in peace" was set up outside the house. Two days later, a pink stroller was still stalled in front of the home. 

The little girl who used to ride in that stroller is in grave condition. Meanwhile, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Chicago Fire Department officials have said Walter Stewart, who lived in the house, responded himself – and gave his own 36-year-old wife CPR. He was not part of the fire crew that responded to the fire, but when he heard the address of the fire over radio dispatch, he went to the scene.

We are told the he is also an EMT – and joined the Fire Department within the past few years.

The pain the CFD firefighter is experiencing is hard for neighbors and loved ones to described. Many on the close-knit block were too upset to speak on camera.

Flowers and stuffed animals lined the torched porch Friday night – in a sign of compassion and love from those who only want to wrap their arms around a grieving husband, father, and Chicago firefighter. 

Wife, son of Chicago firefighter die after house fire 02:08

The Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 issued a statement in support of the Stewart family:

"Every member of Local 2 and the Department mourns with our brother Walter and the Stewart family. This tragedy weighs heavy on our hearts, and we pledge our ongoing support," said Jim Tracy President of Local 2. "Local 2 is encouraging everyone to make a donation for Walter and the Stewart family through the "Ignite The Spirit Chicago."

Those who want to donate can do so by visiting the Ignite the Spirit Chicago website

Firefighters handed out smoke detectors and fire prevention materials in the neighborhood on Friday, a common practice for the Fire Department after fatal fires.

The Stewart family's home did have smoke detectors. On Friday, the Fire Department distributed some smoke along the block – an act that holds greater weight following this tragedy.

A memorial continues growing outside the home for the family. As CBS 2's Sabrina Franza reported, the memorial has grown larger with the news of the wife's passing.

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