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Suburban 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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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.

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

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.”

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.

Contributing: Mitch Dudek

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