“They loved the fire department, I had no clue what the fire department was,” Santiago told host Steve Edwards Friday on Afternoon Shift.
At that time, Santiago already had a job, and he wasn’t particularly interested in becoming a fire fighter. His friends—impressed by his physical physique from being a reserve Marine—persisted. They bought him a ticket to take the entrance exam, and he passed with flying colors.
Santiago takes over leadership of the department during a time when a lot is on the line. NATO comes to Chicago in just over two weeks, contract talks have started with the Chicago Firefighters Union, and diversity within the department continues to be an issue, all of which he addressed in his interview.