As seen around … Stickney

This from Tyler Tobolt:

Stopped by Stickney FD Saturday afternoon to get some shots of the rigs and fire house. The rest of my photos are here
Thanks Tyler Tobolt
Stickney FD ambulance

Tyler Tobolt photo

Stickney FD fire station

Tyler Tobolt photo

Stickney FD Battalion Chief

Tyler Tobolt photo


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Arlington Park Racetrack fire … 30 years ago

Excerpts from

Friday marked 30 years since one of the biggest fires in Chicago-area history.

The first call came in about a fire at the Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights around 1 a.m. on July 31, 1985.

Firefighter Chuck Kramer, who was off-duty, rushed to the scene.  “I remember hearing the commander say he had a confirmed fire and told them, ‘What’s the most I can have?’ They said, ‘Five alarms.’ He said, ‘Start with that.’”

Seven hours later, some 200 firefighters were battling the blaze.

The massive structure built in 1927 had all kinds of hidden spaces that made it impossible to put it out.

“The fire was burning its way through these hidden spaces, above us, below us, around us. And we couldn’t stop it,” said Kramer.

At one point, the fire chief put in a call to Fort Sheridan.  “He was trying to get ammunitions people out there to blow off the end of the building so we could actually make a firebreak and cut it,” Kramer said. But Pentagon permission would have come too late.

The fire just kept burning until there was nothing left.

Arlington Park owner Dick Duchossois was determined to rebuild and within a month, with crews working non-stop, enough was done to run the Arlington Million, renamed the Miracle Million, that summer.

The fully rebuilt racetrack opened four years later in 1989.

thanks Dan

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Rantoul FD donates truck to local Pink Heals chapter

Excerpts from

The Rantoul Fire Department donated one of its oldest fire trucks to the local Pink Heals chapter. The newly-formed central Illinois chapter had just a squad car, but not a truck. … the mayor recently handed over the yellow truck’s title. The old school ride joined the department in 1978. It was one of their first yellow trucks, and the very last one to leave.

Rantoul Firefighters [said] the moment was bittersweet. But its donation was very worthwhile.

“I started on the fire department in 1980 so this truck here was just like a year and a half old, when I first started. So, I kind of grew up on this truck and you know, it was the first truck, one of the first trucks that I ever operated. But it’s certainly going to a good cause, and we’re happy to donate the truck for sure,” Assistant Chief Kevin Kaiser said.

Now, it’s time to paint the truck pink. Pink Heals volunteers say it’ll take four to five gallons — at $1,300 per gallon. They’re currently looking for donations. Once complete, they say the truck will travel almost anywhere in Central Illinois – from Kankakee to Tuscola, and from Indiana to Decatur.

yellow fire truck to go pink photo

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As seen around … Westchester

This from Josh Boyajian:

 Here is a shot of Westchester’s new rescue sqaud and their truck.
Rescue 25 – 2014 E-One Typhoon Heavy Rescue Unit
Truck 25 – 1999 E-One Cyclone 2000/500/100′ RM Quint x-T315
Westchester FD rescue squad

Westchester Rescue 25
2014 E-One Typhoon
Heavy Rescue Unit. Josh Boyajian photo

Westchester FD aerial ladder truck

Westchester FD Truck 25
1999 E-One Cyclone
2000/500/100′ RM Quint
x-T315. Josh Boyajian photo

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Orland FPD uses drone at fire scene

Excerpts from the

Orland Fire Protection District firefighters said a drone’s-eye-view helped them battle a house fire possibly started by a lighting strike Wednesday.

The homeowners were out of town, so neighbors called to report a fire around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday at a home in the 10800 block of West Scarlet Drive in Orland Park, said Battalion Chief Bill Bonnar. By the time firefighters arrived, flames had spread throughout the attic and roof of the 5,000-square foot home, officials said in a news release. No one was injured, but the damage was extensive, they said.

It took firefighters about an hour to get the flames under control, but in addition to standard firefighting equipment, they also deployed a drone — the first live test of a technology they’ve been piloting for about two months, said Battalion Chief Mike Schofield.

drone photo of fire scene

Orland Fire Protection District firefighters used a drone to help target efforts to put out a house fire Wednesday morning. The fire caused extensive damages but no one was injured. Orland Fire Protection District photo

“It’s very new technology but in the future I see this being used a lot in the fire service,” Schofield said. “It allows us to get an aerial view of the fire spreading, it allows us to put our water where it needs to be.”

Bonnar said drones have been marketed for firefighting purposes for a couple years but in the past they’d been too large, heavy and expensive. “The cost and technology has improved greatly,” he said.

When he got to the scene Wednesday morning, the drone’s operator, Director of Communication William Neumann, said he did a quick 360 above the home, then got in the passenger seat of the battalion chief’s car so they could both see through its camera via an iPad mounted atop the remote control.

“He had a bird’s eye view of everything that was going on,” Neumann said.

Before Wednesday morning, Neumann had only flown it for practice or over fire simulations at their training center. He estimated he’s put in about 80 hours of flying so far.

Though Schofield called it a pilot program, he said its performance during the fire was a big success, giving fire district officials a view above and behind the home that let them see where the fire was coming from and helping them fight the blaze more efficiently.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires public entities, including law enforcement and fire departments, obtain an authorization certificate to use drones but doesn’t track how many agencies have sought the permit for those purposes, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.

Neumann said the Orland Fire Protection District has not yet sought FAA approval but is talking with Naperville about the process after Neumann heard they had applied for permission to use a drone.

“This is a technology we’re going to see used in the fire service a whole lot more from now on,” Schofield said.

thanks Chris, Dan and Martin

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Mount Prospect FD to prepare for active shooter incidents

Excerpts from the

The Mount Prospect Fire Department is contemplating purchasing equipment that will give paramedics the ability to respond more quickly to active shooting incidents.

Deputy Chief Brian Lambel told a joint meeting of the village board and the finance commission that he is requesting $20,000 for  vests, armor and helmets.

“What we have done in the past is we haven’t gone in as long as the scene was hot or active. We would wait until the scene was cleared and then we would go in and treat the injured,” Lambel said at last week’s meeting on the village capital improvement plan.

Lambel said studies have shown that in some cases, people could have been saved if help arrived sooner. The plan is for firefighters in a rescue task force, under police protection, to go into areas considered warm rather than hot.

“Our medics could go in, start treating people that are brought to that area, under the protection of the police that would always be with them, and move on if they had to, to get other victims. And then what we can do is get the victims out, get them to triage and (they can) be treated quicker.”

When asked whether the firefighters would become more of a target, Lambel said that they would be going into an area that was deemed safe, but that everyone is a target in such incidents. There would be two police officers, one in the front and one in the rear, providing protection. Firefighters are currently training with the police department.

Lambel said with training, the department feels it can do this for its citizens.

thanks Dan

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Wauconda looks into outsourcing 9-1-1 call center (more)

Excerpts from the

A Lake County municipality is “rethinking” an idea to move forward with controversial plans to close the village’s 911 emergency communications center and to outsource the services to a county group in light of opposition from community members and the problems experienced in other outsourcing such as the Village of Oak Lawn’s decision to privatize the services.

Village of Wauconda Trustees voted last Tuesday to table the move to the county group known as CenCom stating that there were too many questions and that it was too soon to vote. Mayor Frank Bart, who was elected two years ago, has pledged to close the 911 center and outsource the services to CenCom, which dispatches for 11 police and fire departments in Lake County. Bart has claimed that the move would save the village $300,000 a year.

However, opponents have pointed to the Village of Oak Lawn’s decision to outsource the services previously provided by union dispatchers in favor of a private company. “That decision was a disaster and I would be lying if I said we weren’t aware of those problems,” said a high ranking Wauconda village official who asked not to be identified.

Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Larry Deetjen had argued that his village would save money without affecting public safety when he recommended the privatization in Oak Lawn. Since that time, the village has had four directors of the center and been victimized by complaints from firemen, police officers and the public because of mistakes.

Wauconda’s administrator is admitting that the dispatchers would lose their jobs but said they would receive preferential consideration for the new jobs. A similar promise by Deetjen resulted in only a handful of the dispatchers being hired by the private company. Of those hired, half resigned shortly thereafter in light of the way the operations were handled. One dispatcher wrote a letter to the board detailing problems and to Mayor Sandra Bury [who] dismissed the letter as anonymous but also dismissed the complaints after the dispatcher came forward. The village never investigated any of the claims, including the statement that dispatchers were told to destroy complaints that were being made by police officers and firefighters.

Several glaring mistakes have resulted in headlines that have been reportedly noticed even in Wauconda. Hundreds of complaints have been made by public safety officers regarding dispatchers failing to send the right information to the police officers and firemen.


911 records reviewed by the Oak Lawn Leaf, after a legal tug of war that included the Attorney General of Illinois ruling that a 911 video should be released, showed a 6 to 7 minute delay in sending any ambulances to the fatal car accident killing two Roman Catholic Nuns at 95th and Cicero.

To make matters worse, the promised savings in Oak Lawn have not added up as promised with the union representing the dispatchers suing the village and later accepting a cash settlement. When Oak Lawn trustees voted 4-2 to privatize the services, the board ignored the threat of legal action and pleas from several 911 emergency operators and the wife of a police officer.

Oak Lawn Trustee Robert Streit, who along with former Trustee Carol Quinlan were the only votes against the privatization, noted that the village residents depend on professional service from its firemen and police officers. He said the 9-1-1 operators were the people behind the scenes that make sure the ambulance that residents call gets to the right address in a timely manner and assures police officers that a back up squad is on its way during a robbery.

He said that he is happy to hear that the Wauconda trustees are taking a hard look at the issue rather than blindly following the village manager’s suggestion. He said that he wishes Oak Lawn was not seen as an example of a bad decision but perhaps the mistake can be avoided elsewhere.

thanks Dan

More on this HERE

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New ambulance for Buffalo Grove

Production photos of a new Horton ambulance being built for Buffalo Grove.

ambulance being built

New Horton ambulance in production for Buffalo Grove.

ambulance being built

New Horton ambulance in production for Buffalo Grove.

ambulance being built

New Horton ambulance in production for Buffalo Grove.

ambulance being built

New Horton ambulance in production for Buffalo Grove.

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Naperville FD gets drone (more)

Excerpts from

Naperville’s drone is on track to provide backup for the city’s [emergency personnel].

One … was purchased for the fire department in April, but the agency isn’t yet able to put it into use. Andrew Dina, fire department bureau chief, reported last week that paperwork is in process to bring the city the required certificate of authority (COA) that will clear the way for trained operators to begin using the $1,200 device. Dina said the authorization should come through by mid-September.

“Following a successful period of training and an FAA visit to evaluate our systems and procedures, the Fire Department will move forward toward obtaining an operational COA which would allow us to operate the [drone] in and around the city of Naperville,” Dina said in a memo, adding that a trained Illinois state police coordinator has agreed to help the department get the program underway.

Also in process is development of a local policy governing use of [drones]. City attorneys now are reviewing the existing state police program, and a proposed policy for Naperville will be presented to the city council once they have finished looking over those documents, Dina said.

thanks Dan

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New engine for Huntley FPD

This from Ron Wolkoff:

Found on Pierce Flickr site, Huntley Eng 941 – It’s a a  2015 Pierce Enforcer pumper 1500/750. so 28178

Huntley FPD fire engine

New engine for Huntley. Pierce composite

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