What Chicago Fire Gets Wrong About Firefighting

Fictional shows about emergency response teams are wildly popular. During the COVID-19 pandemic, profiles of first responders took off with more and more streaming platforms featuring these types of shows (via US Weekly). From "Grey's Anatomy" to "Station 19," these fictional shows give most of their audiences somewhat of an inside look at what life as a first responder looks like, even if what is featured isn't entirely factual.

Most of these shows work with real-life first responders to ensure they are getting the details correct — at least to the best of their abilities. "Chicago Fire" takes it a step further by having a real-life firefighter in the cast (via Showbiz CheatSheet). The character Tony Ferraris is a firefighter who plays himself on the show.

While "Chicago Fire" does a great job at portraying firefighting in the most accurate way possible, the show is fictional. Therefore, it occasionally gets things wrong from time to time.

"Chicago Fire" uses real fire on set

The cast of "Chicago Fire" trained with the real Chicago Fire Department to make things as accurate as possible. A member of the Chicago Fire Department opened up about the experience, telling Entertainment Tonight, "People don't really get to see what we do, so with this show and keeping it real, it gives viewers a chance to see what firefighters really do for a living."

What is impressive is the fact that they use real fire, according to Showbiz CheatSheet. Actor Charlie Bennett shared, "I know when I'm running into most of those buildings it's hot and there's a real fire in front of me — it's not CGI," adding, "All the tools are real and that's largely down to [executive producer] Dick Wolf; he made sure we had everything possible to make it real — the tools, the trucks, the gear, all of the people in the background are real firefighters." However, some firefighters have taken issue with the fire scenes.

Apparently, there is not enough smoke during these scenes. "[The smoke is] the only exception," former firefighter Steve "Chik" Chikerotis told AV Club. "[T]he smoke is 90 percent less than in an actual incident. If you shut your eyes right now, that's our visibility in an average fire."