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Did You Know This Chicago Fire Star Is a Real-Life Firefighter?
He's a fan favorite—and it turns out he really does know a thing or two about putting out fires!
The stars on Chicago Fire have gotten very good at making everyone think they're experts in all things fire safety. But it turns out someone among them actually is an expert. Yes, one of the actors on the beloved NBC series is a real-life firefighter. He just lends his talents to Chicago Fire in between shifts!
We're talking about Tony Ferraris, who's played a character aptly named Tony on Chicago Fire since 2012. Tony brings more than just a lovable energy to Firehouse 51. He brings authenticity. Ferraris is quite literally an embodiment of the heroes the cast attempts to honor every episode.
Ferraris is indeed a working member of the Chicago Fire Department, and how the show came to him is actually pretty cool.
"A friend of mine received an email from the Firefighter's Union saying the show was looking for extras. He asked me if I would go with him to the Audition. I went in with him, and I guess they liked me," Ferraris tells Wolf Entertainment. "On the first day of filming, the crew realized nobody in the cast was able to drive squad. Steve Chikerotis, the show's technical advisor who I've known for years, asked me if I would drive. I said sure, and that's pretty much how it all went down. I started out as an extra and then [Chicago Fire co-showrunner] Derek Haas approached me around Episode 5 or 6 and asked me to read for him, and then they started writing me in."
Interestingly, Ferraris says acting is more difficult than being a fireman. "It's tough, man," he says. "I work with some incredible people, and to see them turn it on and off is pretty impressive. But I'm learning. I'm getting better, and [my co-stars] helped me immensely."
That said, he does love being a firefighter as well. It's a job he describes to Wolf Entertainment as "tough" but "very fun." He says the same thing about acting, which is why he's able to handle both gigs. "I enjoy what I do at both ends," he says. "So it's not like I'm really 'working' working, you know what I mean?"
And if you're hungry for more firefighter content, be sure to watch LA Fire & Rescue this summer on NBC. It premieres June 21 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. Here's an official description of the docuseries:
"From the producers of NBC’s hit drama Chicago Fire, comes LA Fire & Rescue, a new docuseries offering unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Responsible for protecting the lives and property of four million residents living in 59 cities across Los Angeles County, the LACoFD’s 2,300 square miles of service is unlike any other in the United States. From helicopter mountain rescues and lifeguard beach SOS, to fireboats, hazmat units and California’s raging wildfires, the department does it all. The series documents real calls and real drama while giving faces to the passionate fire firefighters who risk their lives in the name of service. These real-life heroes and their compelling stories are told alongside the unpredictable dangers they face on the front lines of life and death."