Otis in Chicago Fire

Who Was Otis on 'Chicago Fire'? Everything You Need to Know


In the world of television dramas, few shows capture the hearts of viewers quite like Chicago Fire, the action-packed NBC series that explores the lives of the courageous firefighters from Chicago's Firehouse 51. Among the show's memorable characters, Brian "Otis" Zvonecek stands out as a fan favorite, known for his humor, loyalty and camaraderie with fellow firefighters.

As we delve into the story of Otis, portrayed by talented actor Yuri Sardarov, we'll examine his impact on the show, his dramatic exit in season 8, and the legacy he left for the team at Firehouse 51. So, who is Otis on Chicago Fire, and why does he remain such an unforgettable figure in the hearts of fans? Read on for everything you need to know about Otis and his time on the massively popular series.

Who was Otis on Chicago Fire?

"Otis" Zvonecek was a beloved character and fellow firefighter on Chicago Fire from the very beginning, often delivering much-needed humor amid the show's intense and dramatic moments. Born in the United States as part of a Russian immigrant family, Otis was the driver of Truck 81 and was stationed at Firehouse 51 for much of his career.

He was one of the co-owners of Molly's Pub as well. According to those above Otis, he "lacked motivation" and often expressed feelings of not being appreciated by the other firefighters he worked with. He originally wanted to transfer to Truck 67 at Morningside. However, he eventually decided to stay at Firehouse 51. Otis appeared in every season of Chicago Fire, all the way up until season 8's premiere.


What happened to Otis on Chicago Fire?

In the heart-wrenching season 7 finale of Chicago Fire titled "I'm Not Leaving You," the firefighters confront a dangerous blaze at a mattress factory. The situation becomes dire when a boiler explodes, leaving the fates of the characters uncertain. The season 8 premiere picks up in the immediate aftermath, where Otis finds himself trapped in the inferno. Despite sending out a distress call, he sustains severe injuries and cannot make it out with the rest of his team.

Otis is eventually rescued and taken to the hospital, where he tragically dies next to his best friend and roommate, Joe Cruz (played by Joe Minoso). Otis' passing casts a somber shadow over the members of Firehouse 51. As they grieve the loss of their friend and colleague, they create a memorial in his honor, ensuring that his presence and impact continue to be felt within the team. Through their shared sorrow, the firefighters remember Otis' unique contributions to their lives and pay homage to his unwavering dedication to the firehouse.

How did Otis die on Chicago Fire?

Otis lost his life in a harrowing explosion at the Arnow Mattress Fire. During the incident, a boiler blast caused a fiery backdraft, which Otis bravely contained by closing a steel door. His quick actions saved his fellow firefighters and the factory workers but ultimately cost him his life. Following the heroic act, Otis was rushed to Lakeshore Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

What were Otis' last words on Chicago Fire?

Otis' final words were to his best friend and roommate, Joe Cruz, and they were spoken in Russian. They were: "Brat, ya budu s toboy vsegda." That roughly translates to "Brother, I will be with you always." This is a message Cruz would only come to understand three months later. It doesn't get any less heartbreaking from there, unfortunately, if you dissect what his words actually meant.


Actor Minoso, speaking to Us Weekly, pointed out one possible meaning for these words. Viewers would be able to see "pieces" of Otis, such as his toys and coffee mug, around the station and Cruz's apartment -- meaning he's still very much with his brother, even if it's just in spirit.

How did Otis get his nickname on Chicago Fire?

Given that Otis was originally supposed to be an elevator technician, he received a nickname that reflected such a role. Obviously, his name sounds nothing like this rather peculiar moniker, so it had to come from somewhere, right? The name "Otis" is actually a nod to the Otis Elevator Co., which is a manufacturer of elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

Why did Otis actor Yuri Sardarov leave Chicago Fire?

Sardarov's departure from Chicago Fire wasn't fueled by the actor's desire to leave. Instead, his departure was driven by a storyline decision in which the writers chose to eliminate Otis to emphasize the significant risks that firefighters face daily.

The writers sought to write off a character whose death would have a profound impact on the show, due to their deep connections with numerous other characters. In an interview with TVLine following the season 8 premiere, showrunner Derek Haas explained the decision to kill off Otis:


"Otis was chosen because he shares a home with Cruz and Brett, works on Casey's truck, is a member of Boden's house, is best friends with Mouch, and co-owns a bar with Herrmann ... . His departure affects everyone, as he has been part of the show since nearly the first scene."

Haas shared that the actor, also a writer himself, recognized the need for writers to surprise audiences and make tough decisions regarding beloved characters. Fans were understandably not happy with the decision, but the actor did part from the show in an amicable manner.

READ MORE: 'Chicago Fire': Jesse Spencer Set to Return as Matt Casey in Season 11 Following Taylor Kinney's Exit

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