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As Hobart battalion chief mourned, official cause of death remains under review

Updated: December 31, 2013 4:09PM

The cause of death of the battalion chief with the Hobart Fire Department who crashed his family’s minivan into his home after a domestic disturbance earlier this month is pending review of the police report, officials said.

A spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office Monday said investigators need to make sure they review all information contained in the police report before making a determination on the cause and manner of death of John C. Wall, 48, due to the circumstances surrounding his injuries. The spokesman said the report is expected to be complete Thursday or Friday.

Wall suffered severe burns to his hands and face in the Dec. 10 incident. A representative with the Cook County, Ill., Medical Examiner’s Office said Wall died at 12:50 a.m. at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.

Sgt. Larry LaFlower, public information officer with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, said Wall went into septic shock Saturday and was subsequently taken off of a ventilator.

Meanwhile services for the battalion chief, who was recalled by family and friends as a leader and hard worker who could have been Hobart’s next fire chief, have been set at Burns Funeral Home in Hobart. Visitation is Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. and a memorial service is set at 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home followed by interment at Chapel Lawn Cemetery in Schererville.

“My brother was a loving, honorable, kind and generous man who had two sons he adored,” said Wall’s younger sister, Darla Winland, who added that looking at the fire department’s Facebook page showed the high regard in which his fellow firefighters held him.

“And he had a wonderful, exemplary 20-year career with the Hobart Fire Department. Being a firefighter was his dream, his passion and his life. The world has lost an amazing person.”

Wall started with the department on Dec. 17, 1993, said Tom Castle, president of Hobart Firefighters Union Local 1641. In addition to taking on overtime with the department, Wall also worked two part-time jobs at the steel mills, often clocking in 90 to 100 hours a week

“John worked and worked and worked for his family,” Castle said, adding Wall was like a brother to him.

— Reporting by Amy Lavalley, Michelle L. Quinn and Carrie Napoleon

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