Hoffman Estates firefighter on way to work saves Elgin man

A firefighter/paramedic is trained to protect and save lives to the point that it becomes an instinct that doesn't punch a clock.

Hoffman Estates firefighter Evan VonQualen was commended by Fire Chief Jeff Jorian and the village board this week for helping save the life of an Elgin resident - not to mention his pet cats - while driving to his paid position in Hoffman Estates.

VonQualen recounted that he just happened to look to his left during his morning commute Dec. 11 to see a house that was clearly in the early stages of a fire.

He immediately pulled over and contacted the homeowner to get him out of the house. The man was concerned for the lives of his cats and attempted to re-enter the home to search for them.

VonQualen persuaded the man that the cats would be all right and got him safely away from the burning structure.

Though human life was the immediate concern, the fire crews that quickly responded to the call rescued the cats as well.

VonQualen will be honored again, in Elgin, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

Jorian said that while one individual firefighter is being honored, VonQualen's commitment to his calling is no different from that demonstrated daily by all his colleagues in the Hoffman Estates Fire Department.

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