Airport-Sorgho Fire Department Chief Pat Thompson had the opportunity to visit the set of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” in early February. Thompson was also able to meet the cast and crew of the show, which Thompson says he is a big fan of. Connections with one of the “Chicago Fire” associate producers and technical advisors on the show allowed this meet-and-greet to happen.
“We are friends and colleagues with one of the instructors on the show–he’s a retired fire officer from the Chicago Fire Department,” Thompson said of his friend Steve Chikerotis, who retired from the largest fire department in the midwest, CFD, a number of years ago.
The NBC drama has aired seven seasons so far, and Thompson was able to spend three hours on the show’s set as they filmed an episode for its eighth season.
“[Chikerotis] showed us different parts of the set,” Thompson said. “Station 51 is the station they work at in the show, and they shoot a lot of footage there.”
Thompson said it’s amazing to see how Chikerotis and others are able to create such life-like visuals that mirror the reality of what goes on during real fires. However, some of the visuals have to be altered so that actors can be seen, especially during scenes that require synthetic smoke.
“They work really hard to make everything realistic,” Thompson said.
It takes around nine days to film a 46-minute episode, Thompson said. Thompson only stayed to watch three hours of footage, but he did get to meet the entire cast beforehand.
“Man, they were great, all of them,” Thompson said. “They were very nice. Very down-to-earth and very open. Sometimes you think of actors, and they aren’t always so nice, but they all welcomed us. We got to take pictures and talk with everybody. They’re a very nice group of people.”