This morning, as a watched firefighters putting out a fire at the site of a house explosion on the south side, I had a flashback to December 22, 2010. That was the day Corey Ankum and Edward Stringer were killed while battling a fire in an abandon building.
Following is an article written by Maudlyne Ihejirika, Staff Reporter for the Chicago Sun Times.
Fallen firefighter’s brother: ‘He was doing his job’
Slowly, the cars pulled up outside the brick two-flat with the silver tinsel twined around outside bannisters — at the foot of which stood two Christmas penguins that should have heralded joy at the Chatham home of firefighter Corey Ankum.
But only a sadness — heavy as the footsteps of family and friends who trudged up the five stone steps, crying and hugging and holding each other in mourning — could be felt here.
“Oh my God! No! Not Corey!” a shocked next-door neighbor, Karen Roberson, said over and over Wednesday afternoon as the news of the 34-year-old firefighter’s death in the line of duty spread down the block.
Ankum, a member of the department for less than two years, was fatally injured, along with firefighter Edward Stringer, a 12-year veteran, when the roof of an abandoned building where they were battling a blaze caved in.
Ankum’s wife, Demeka, is Mayor Daley’s personal secretary and one of his closest assistants. The mayor was in New York when the building collapsed, but quickly returned to Chicago, where he held an emotional news conference Wednesday night.
“I knew Corey very well,” said the mayor, who choked up and had to pause. “He’s a wonderful father, husband and friend. He loved the Fire Department. That’s all he talked about.”
In the Ankums’ neighborhood, there was shock and sorrow.
“When I heard the news, I had no idea it was him. Oh, Jesus!” Roberson said. “They’ve been our neighbors for at least three years. I just saw him yesterday. He was shoveling the walk. Oh my God! They have a new little baby. And right before Christmas? No! No! No!”
Her disbelief was echoed by other neighbors, and her emotion reflected tenfold among the stream of family and friends who converged on the home — and the uniformed firefighters who somberly came bearing huge tinfoiled pans of food.
Ankum was a former Chicago cop who joined the Fire Department’s Engine 72 a year ago and was described as a favorite at the firehouse at 79th and South Chicago.
Ankum’s older brother, Gerald Glover, also a firefighter, said Ankum had switched careers to join him in the fire department because he felt “police officers weren’t getting respect any more.” Glover said his little brother knew the dangers of his job.
“He ran in that building — he didn’t know what was happening, but he was doing his job,” his brother said.
The father of three children under 12 years old — including a 1 year old — was “first and foremost, a devoted family man,” said his brother. “He was an outstanding young man that took care of his kids and family,”
Neighbors said Ankum and his wife had been married only a few years, that the firefighter adored his two daughters, and was obviously a proud new father of their baby boy.
Ankum was quick to help out neighbors on his block, and was known for his excellent cooking and his jokes, said his brother, who worked a different shift at the same firehouse.
Said Roberson: “They are such a very nice family. That young man took really good care of his house, and he just took really good care of his family.”
Contributing: Cheryl V. Jackson
With such accolades being given to Corey, and the fact that his family was grieving so terribly, I felt the time was not right for what I’m about to write. And truth be told, I may never have written this as long as Marie, Corey’s mother, was alive. But Marie Ankum died last month. So here is what I’ve been keeping to myself.
I know may family and a host of other people think that the stalkers, that I wrote about in ‘STALKED! By Voices,’ are only following me. But I can assure you with absolute certainty that that is NOT TRUE. I am just a diversion, so to speak, a distraction to pull your eye away from what you should actually be noticing. And that is, that these people are spying on every member of the family, some close friends, and a LOT of high level politicians.
And that brings me to this, and there is no other way to say it, is that I think the stalkers got away with murdering Corey. And he was not the first member of the family, to be murdered by them.
Corey was not supposed to be on that truck that morning. Someone else was. And according to that person, Corey took his place because he was running late and didn’t make it to the firehouse on time. I remember that because my only question as I watched the TV reporter doing an interview with him was, Why?
Why was he running late? Did he oversleep? Was he having trouble finding his car keys? Or had he, like some of the survivors of 9-11 gotten a mysterious phone call, warning him to stay home? I think it was the latter. I think he had help running late that morning.
That was what was on my mind this morning as I watched those firefighters raking through the rubble of that exploded house looking for survivors, just as they’d done on December 22nd for Corey Ankum.
Was Corey, dead at 34, because of someone’s twisted imaginary vendetta?
Eliza D. Ankum
STALKED! By Voices
OneThreeThirteen – Master of the Day of Judgment