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‘Chicago Fire’ Showrunner Drew Inspiration from Real Life Firehouses for Current Season

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)

“Chicago Fire” returned last night with an epic Season 9 premiere. Already, we can tell that our favorite firefighters have a lot in store for them this season.

Executive producer and showrunner David Haas spoke with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the new season to explain what we can expect in the future. Apparently, he and head writers Michael Gilvary and Andrea Newman pulled quite a bit from what real firehouses experience in everyday life.

“When we look at any season, including this one, you go back to what’s been happening in real firehouses, first and foremost, pulling stories from real firehouses around the country,” Haas said.

Part of his job is balancing these real stories with the stories of the characters the show created.

“And then you look at these unique characters who have been with us for so long and think of how can we shake things up, move things around, explore new relationships, put different people together,” the “Chicago Fire” producer continued. “Not romantically, necessarily. I’m saying just onscreen together. Those are always fun to do and then introduce some conflict.”

That conflict can come in the form of an on-the-job issue, personal issue, a relationship issue. You can never predict where the next obstacle might come from.

“What’s unique about ‘Chicago Fire’ and why I think we’ve connected with so many viewers over the years is that you don’t tune in and watch a procedural or you don’t tune in and watch a straight-up drama,” Haas said. “It’s got comedy, drama, action, suspense, romance, thriller. On any given five minutes of the show, there’s so much going on. It really makes it fun writing.”

‘Chicago Fire’ Creators Bring in an Issue Real Firehouses Dealt With During the Pandemic

Haas gave a specific example of a storyline from Season 9 of “Chicago Fire” that firehouses dealt with during the pandemic. He structured the storyline around the character Sylvie Brett, who starts up a new program in the CFP. Haas said this project “takes up some of her energy in the first part of this season.”

“We were doing some research on how fire departments have handled themselves during the pandemic,” Haas explained. “And one of the factors that has affected firehouses across the country is what they consider non-emergency 911 calls. Because of that, when there’s a real emergency, they’ve had delays on response times. So Brett tackles that problem head-on and it becomes a big part of the first half of the season.”

We could totally see Brett getting involved in something like that. And it’s also an interesting issue raised about what firehouses deal with across the country. We’ll see how Brett’s project shapes up this season.