How Did Otis Die in Chicago Fire? Why Did Yuriy Sardarov Leave Chicago Fire?

NBC’s action series ‘Chicago Fire’ follows the lives of firefighters and paramedics of Chicago Fire Department’s Firehouse 51. Brian “Otis” Zvonecek is one of the firefighters who proves his worth and displays his resilience while saving the folks of the city. Otis forms admirable connections and relationships with his colleagues. Even while competing with one another, Otis makes sure that, ultimately, whatever he does is good for his firehouse. It is no wonder that Otis’ death affects not only his colleagues but also the viewers of the show tremendously. If you are eager to know how he died in the action drama, let us share the answer! SPOILERS AHEAD.

How Did Otis Die?

In the seventh season finale, Firehouse 51 attempts to extinguish a fire in a mattress factory. Otis and his colleagues get into the burning factory and try to save at least fifty people trapped in the basement. The building only has one stairwell, which has completely burned down. Still, the firefighters try their best to evacuate the factory. Meanwhile, a boiler whistle is heard, and senior firefighter Christopher Herrmann announces that an explosion may happen soon. Chief Boden asks all the units to evacuate from the building. However, the firefighters are adamant that they cannot leave without ensuring the safety of their colleagues.

Image Credit: Elizabeth Morris/NBC

In the eighth season premiere, the boiler explodes while the crew is still inside. Joe Cruz worries about Otiz and finds him badly injured due to the explosion. With the help of others, Joe brings an unresponsive Otis outside the factory and takes him to a hospital in an ambulance with Sylvie Brett. When they open Otis’ jacket, they find out that his chest is severely burnt. Although a doctor treats him soon enough at the hospital, he informs Boden and the squad that Otis is not going to make it. Before succumbing to his injuries caused by the boiler explosion, Otis tells Cruz, “Brother, I will be with you, always.”

Yuriy Sardarov’s Exit From Chicago Fire: A Creative Decision

Yuri Sardarov left ‘Chicago Fire’ following a creative decision made by co-creator Derek Haas and the main writers of the show, Andrea Newman and Michael Gilvary. After multiple cliffhangers that didn’t lead to the death of an important character, Haas wanted to show that death is a significant part of the show. “I was talking to Andrea Newman and Michael Gilvary, my two head writers […] and as we were talking, we just said, ‘We gotta put some teeth back into the show, and we gotta show that the dangers are real,’” Haas told TVLine. Thus, they decided to kill off a character to portray the stakes of firefighting as a job.

Haas and his writers initially discussed killing off Darren Ritter. But since Ritter was a new character at that point, Haas knew that it wouldn’t create the emotional impact he was hoping to create. “And then we just decided it would be Otis because he lives with Cruz and Brett, and he’s on Casey’s truck, and he’s in Boden’s house, and he’s best friends with Mouch, and owns a bar with Herrmann… There are a million feelings that everybody has from a guy who’s been on the show from almost the first scene,” Haas added. Thus, Otis became the “victim” to maximize the impact of the tragedy, paving the way for Yuri Sardarov’s departure from ‘Chicago Fire.’

Although Sardarov reportedly didn’t want to leave the show, he was commendably professional enough to respect the decision made for the good of the show. “I called Yuri and told him what we were going to do, and I’ve never had a call as professional and as gracious, and I think, in the back of my head, that I know why, which is that he’s a writer himself, and he understands that you, as a writer, have to surprise the audience and give them something that they weren’t expecting,” Haas added in the same TVLine interview.

“Thank you for the greatest 7 years of my life,” Sardarov shared after leaving ‘Chicago Fire.’ “A fond farewell to Otis. He’ll forever be my friend and to all of you that knew him and loved him to the end. He had a bushy mustache and a soul patch to boot. It’s never really over. He’ll always love you too,” the actor added.

Read More: Is David Eigenberg’s Herrmann Leaving Chicago Fire?