Evanston officials honor CTA worker killed in Chicago fire


Ina Yang/Daily Senior Staffer

CTA employee John Fasula died while saving an elderly woman in a Chicago fire Jan. 22. Fasula worked on the Purple Line which runs through Evanston.

Ciara McCarthy, Reporter

A Chicago Transit Authority employee who frequently worked in Evanston died Jan. 22 in a Chicago fire while saving an elderly woman. Evanston officials mourned the man, John Fasula, last week, remembering him as a hard-working and efficient collaborator with the city.

Fasula and another man, Jameel Johnson, died in a building fire in the 6700 block of South Shore Drive. After a fire started on the seventh floor of the building, the men rescued an 81-year-old woman and sent her downstairs to safety on an elevator, the Chicago Tribune reported. The men died when they returned to the apartment with a fire extinguisher and were overcome by smoke, the Chicago Police Department confirmed.

Fasula, 50, was the manager of the CTA’s west shop, in charge of system maintenance for both rail lines and bus routes. He often worked on the Purple Line train, which runs through Evanston. He began working for the CTA in April 1983, CTA spokesperson Lambrini Lukidis said.

Lukidis praised Fasula’s dedication to the company and described him as a well-respected employee who worked on a variety of different projects. Fasula was off from work the day he died in the apartment building, a site where he was reportedly working a side job.

Evanston city manager Wally Bobkiewicz sent an email to Evanston media last week praising Fasula’s contributions to the city and his dedication to his work.

“John Fasula helped make the commute on the Purple Line better by his personal attention to getting things done,” Bobkiewicz wrote. “Evanston is a better place because of his work.”

Fasula worked with many city staffers during his time with the CTA, including collaborating with Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) on Purple Line maintenance issues, Bobkiewicz wrote.

Karlton Mims, a sign inspector and graffiti technician for the city, worked with Fasula for more than 12 years to remove graffiti from Purple Line stations. Mims said graffiti has plagued Evanston for years, and Fasula’s work ethic ensured its prompt removal.

“He was very good about getting the crew out on the streets right away,” Mims said. “He will be missed.”

Fasula also worked with Jim Maiworm, the city’s superintendent of streets and sanitation, to clean trash from the CTA right of way, a space that usually includes the area between tracks. Maiworm said he was “pleasantly surprised” with how easy Fasula made the process.

“He was an excellent representation of the CTA,” Maiworm said.

Fasula is survived by a wife and three children, among other extended family members.