Chicago Firefighters Come Together to Raise Thousands for Colleague Critically Injured in Shooting

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A fundraiser for a critically injured colleague has brought in thousands thanks to the efforts of one Chicago firefighters group.

Black Fire Brigade members told CBS that a recent fundraiser was helping Timothy Eiland’s family. An armed person shot the 32-year-old man in the face during a Sept. 11 incident in a West Pullman neighborhood.

Additionally, the group sold special $50 armbands during the fundraiser to support Eiland.

Initially, the firefighter’s parents have started a GoFundMe account that raised more than $31,000 to help the family pay his medical bills. Furthermore, the family hopes to raise $50,000 for multiple procedures.

Sept. 11 Party Tragedy

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the gunmen emerged from a dark gangway and opened fire around 9:30 p.m. before running off.

The off-duty firefighter was one of five injured people. Another woman, 42-year-old Schenia Smith, died that day.

Eiland is a husband and father of five children.  

According to Eiland’s mother, the family was celebrating a son’s birthday party. As people left the party, bullets hit Eiland, his niece, and a family friend. Emergency personnel took the firefighter to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

In a Facebook video, members of the firefighters group prayed for Eiland’s family. They post words of support too, saying, “WE ARE OUR BROTHERS KEEPER… We got you Eiland!!!!”

In a video, Black Fire Brigade president and founder Quention Curtis said, “We have a duty and responsibility to help his family and take care of his kids.”

Curtis’s organization helps recruit and train black kids for future jobs as medical technicians and firefighters. 

Firefighter, Family Tries to Heal

According to The Chicago Sun-Times, no one had identified the assailants days after the shooting.

Eiland’s sister, Elishama Wright, said the firefighter could respond to his name and move his fingers. On a happy note, hospital officials released her daughter after the incident.

Wright, who works in the payroll for the Chicago Police Department, asked for prayers for the family.

She said her brother is “an awesome fireman, an awesome husband, an awesome friend” and is known for his sense of humor. 

Eiland said her father was a firefighter, too.

Crime numbers for that part of Chicago are up in 2021. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the murder rate is up 42 percent from 2020 in that West Pullman district. Shootings are up 35 percent, with sexual assaults (38 percent) and aggravated battery (11 percent) rising as well. 

Firefighters Say Eiland’s Road To Recovery Good

Chicago firefighter Steven Ellerson Jr. said everyone is optimistic about Eiland. By the same token, they think he will make a full recovery.

Ellerson Jr. said reports of the firefighter “coming around more” and being “responsive” are a good sign. For instance, the man has been up 6-7 hours at a time daily. 

“When anything happens to one of our firefighters, everybody comes together,” Chicago Fire Battalion Chief Arriel Grey Jr. said.