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Article posted: 7/23/2012 6:00 AM

Firefighter recognized in Des Plaines almost 60 years after his death

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Debbie McCann, whose mother survived the Oct. 25, 1952, Argyle Hotel fire, speaks at the graveside ceremony for John Minich, the firefighter who died after saving her mother, at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. Cemetery employee John Stewart is on the left.

Courtesy Dignity Memorial

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This is the freshly placed memorial stone donated by Mount Emblem Cemetery of Elmhurst in honor of John Minich.

Courtesy Dignity Memorial

Members of the Chicago Fire Department Pipes and Drums and the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 Honor Guard process through All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines to honor John Minich.

Courtesy Dignity Memorial

Members of the Chicago, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect fire departments salute John Minich almost 60 years after his death. The fire was set by an Argyle Hotel employee who was angry at his girlfriend, a hotel resident. He was charged with murder by arson.

Courtesy Dignity Memorial

John Stewart, left, an All Saints Cemetery employee; Chicago Firefighter Bob Arens; Tina Diaz, Mount Emblem Cemetery general manager; Debbie McCann, survivor of the 1952 Argyle Hotel fire; and Tom Ryan, CEO Chicago Firefighters Union gather at the new headstone for John Minich.

Courtesy Dignity Memorial

About this Article

No one knows how John Minich ended up in a grave with no headstone in All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines but that is rectified now. The Chicago firefighter died almost 60 years ago, collapsing after rescuing a very pregnant woman from a residential hotel fire on the North Side. Debbie McCann was born 12 days later and grew up hearing her mother talk about how she wouldn't be alive without Minich. "He's my hero," she said.
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    • Debbie McCann, whose mother survived the Oct. 25, 1952, Argyle Hotel fire, speaks at the graveside ceremony for John Minich, the firefighter who died after saving her mother, at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines. Cemetery employee John Stewart is on the left.
    • This is the freshly placed memorial stone donated by Mount Emblem Cemetery of Elmhurst in honor of John Minich.
    • Members of the Chicago Fire Department Pipes and Drums and the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 Honor Guard process through All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines to honor John Minich.
    • Members of the Chicago, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect fire departments salute John Minich almost 60 years after his death. The fire was set by an Argyle Hotel employee who was angry at his girlfriend, a hotel resident. He was charged with murder by arson.
    • John Stewart, left, an All Saints Cemetery employee; Chicago Firefighter Bob Arens; Tina Diaz, Mount Emblem Cemetery general manager; Debbie McCann, survivor of the 1952 Argyle Hotel fire; and Tom Ryan, CEO Chicago Firefighters Union gather at the new headstone for John Minich.
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