When fans of Chicago Fire last saw the crew from Firehouse 51, they were pinned down in a factory that was about to explode. That season 7 cliffhanger left viewers wondering what would happen to their favorite characters, many of whom were clearly still in danger when the finale ended. On Wednesday night's season 8 premiere, we finally found out what happened to the firefighters as the episode picked up right where the finale left off.
Spoilers ahead for Chicago Fire Season 8 premiere: "Sacred Ground"
Several of the firefighters are able to find safety in a separate room in the factory's basement just before it exploded. After the blast, we see that most everyone has survived, although Brett appears to have a severely broken arm. But then Cruz responds to a firefighter in distress call and discovers Otis was the one firefighter who didn't make it into the room with the others before the explosion.
Otis is unconscious and rushed the hospital. While the firehouse waits for news, Cruz is seen by Otis' bed and says, "I love you and I'm going to miss you." Otis then wakes up and says something in another language before passing away.
It was a heartbreaking moment for fans, and even some actors. After the premiere, the official Chicago Fire Twitter feed ramped up the emotions by posting a GIF tribute to Otis. The Chicago PD account was quick to respond, "Can't imagine what Cruz must be feeling like. Otis was his BROTHER." Tons of fans chimed in to express how sad they are over the loss of the beloved character.
Showrunner Derek Haas spoke with Entertainment Tonight about why the decision was made to kill off Otis, played by Yuriy Sardarov. "It's been a long time since we had a main character go," he said. "I've known Yuriy since before Chicago Fire, since he was a junior in college. We did a movie together that I wrote and produced back in 2011. He's a great guy. But you think, 'OK, what can I do that's going to really put some teeth back into this show, in terms of these dangerous situations that we put our characters in?' And you can only write them in and out of corners so many times before the audience just stops caring about the situation."
Following Otis' death, the show jumped three months ahead. Fans can find out what happens next on Chicago Fire, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.