Two Injured After Real-Life Accident on Chicago Fire Set: ‘It Could Have Been Much Worse’
Danger on and off the screen. Chicago Fire‘s accidents over the years — which include multiple shootings and a crash that left at least two injured — show that One Chicago’s dangers are only on TV.
Chicago Fire is NBC’s drama series following the personal and professional lives of firefighters, paramedics and other emergency responders at the Chicago Fire Department’s fictional Firehouse 51. The series — which premiered in 2012 and is created by Dick Wolf, the same mind behind the Law & Order and FBI franchises — is the first of NBC’s One Chicago franchise, which also includes Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med.
Cinematographer Jayson Crothers, who worked on Chicago Fire from 2014 to 2018, confirmed that real fires are used in the series. “Every couple of episodes we have a big burn,” he told American Cinematographer in 2018. Crothers explained that outdoor fires are filmed on location while indoor fires are held in a controlled environment in a converted warehouse called a “Burn Stage.”
“Every setup on the Burn Stage takes between 45 minutes and an hour to set up,” he said. “We design our setups to get as many edits as we can within a single setup, but they never run very long.” Crothers also told the publication that scenes with real fires usually last between 20 to 30 seconds because of how intense the heat can become.”
But what about the Chicago Fire accidents in real life? Read on for a timeline of the scariest Chicago Fire accidents so far.
Chicago Fire accidents over the years
Read on for the Chicago Fire accidents over the years and the real-life dangers that have happened on the set of the One Chicago show.
May 2023: Two injured after a vehicle crashes on the Chicago Fire set
Two security guards were injured on the set of Chicago Fire on May 4, 2023, after men driving a four-wheeler ATV broke through a barrier and crashed the vehicle, according to Deadline. The drivers fled the scene. The incident occurred in Chicago’s South Loop and happened on the second to last day of filming on Chicago Fire Season 11.
The guards — retired members of the Chicago Police Department — were struck by the four-wheeler and were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. A source told Deadline that it was thanks to the guards that the vehicle didn’t reach the cast or crew.
“Good evening everyone: unfortunately there was another serious safety issue on a set today. Details will likely come out soon but there was at least one injury and it could have been much worse. Please keep the injured person in your thoughts and prayers,” Twitter account @filming_chicago tweeted at the time.
According to CWB Chicago, the incident occurred after four to five men on four-wheeler ATVs repeatedly tried to enter the set of Chicago Fire as the cast and crew worked on an empty lot across from the Chicago Fire Department Academy in the 500 block of West Taylor at around 5:30 p.m. on May 4, 2023. The security guards stopped the men from entering several times, but one of the drivers “became enraged at security for not being allowed on set and purposely accelerated” his vehicle — a Yamaha 450R — and struck the 60-year-old guard, according to a report by the Chicago Police Department.
A Chicago Police Department spokesperson told CWB Chicago that the driver dropped a handgun as he fell or was pulled from his vehicle. He then abandoned his four-wheeler and jumped into one of the other ATVs as all of the bikes left the area. Neither police nor witness CWB Chicago spoke to reported any shots fired.
Emergency medical services transported the guard to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for his injuries, which included a laceration to his left leg. A crew member told CWB Chicago that many who worked on the show believed the drivers were intentionally targeted the production.
September 2022: Man shot in the head across from Chicago Fire set
A man was shot in the head across from the Chicago Fire set on September 20, 2022. The incident occurred at 3:28 p.m. as a Chicago police officer assigned to secure the show’s set outside of A.A. Rayner and Son’s Funeral Home at 5911 West Madison radioed “shots fired at the Chicago Fire production scene,” according to CWB Chicago. After the call, officers found two bullet-riddled cars on Madison Street across from where Chicago Fire was set to film. No cast members were on set at the time.
CWB Chicago also reported that another vehicle was seen speeding away from the scene with the victim inside. The Chicago Police Department told CWB Chicago that the 40-year-old man was taken to Loyola Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Nine shell casings were found outside the set at 5920 West Madison.
A source told CWB Chicago that Chicago Fire was set to return to film at the funeral home, but the decision was changed after the shooting. According to the source, crew were on set of the funeral home to remove equipment use to make buildings appear to be on fire.
September 2022: Shots fired near the set of Chicago Fire
A man armed with a handgun opened fire near the set of Chicago Fire on September 14, 2022. The incident occurred at 1:45 p.m. as a group of people were shot at while standing at at the 5900 block of West Madison, Chicago, the Chicago Police Department told Deadline. The offender fled in a black SUV. No injuries were reported, though filming was halted for the day.
Law enforcement officers were already on the scene to provide security for the Chicago Fire set, as one of them called out shots fired on the local police radio station, according to CWB Chicago. The gunman was described as a male with braids, who walked out of an alley and “fired several shots at people,” while standing on the northwest corner of Madison and Mason before jumping in a black SUV and fleeing through an alley.
An industry source told CWB Chicago that the “full cast” was on set at the time of the shooting and three cameras were rolling when the gunfire started. The crew was filming exterior shots of A.A. Rayner and Son’s Funeral Home at 5911 West Madison when the man started shooting at the opposite corner. “It happened mid-take,” the source said. “No one was injured on set, but a bullet did ricochet off some equipment.” The source also reported that there were at least six marked Chicago Police Department cars on the scene, and that the shooting “happened right in front of them all.”
Chicago Fire airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
For more on Chicago Fire, check out our photo gallery of the most shocking deaths on the show that we’re still not over.