Archive for January 20th, 2012

City vs State over fatal high-rise fire

NBC Chicago has an article which puts the state and the city at odds over sprinklers and other upgrades in the Lake Shore Drive high-rise where a woman dies in a recent fire.

As the state fire marshal cites the owners of a Lake Shore Drive high rise for multiple violations following last week’s fatal fire, a clash is shaping up between the State of Illinois and Chicago over whose fire laws should have applied.

An exploration of the laws shows that confusion reigns, and that in many cases, not everyone agrees on what those laws require.

Illinois Fire Marshall Larry Matkaitis cited the building’s owners, Planned Property Management, for more than a dozen violations, including lack of a sprinkler system, and lack of automatic recall systems on the building’s elevators.

The victim, Shantel McCoy, died when the elevator on which she was riding, opened on the fire floor, hitting her with a blast estimated at 1500 degrees. An automated return system would have locked that elevator down on the building’s first floor when smoke alarms activated, preventing McCoy from ever going upstairs.

Neither sprinklers nor automated return systems are currently required for pre-1975 residential high-rises in Chicago, which claims home rule authority in following its own fire codes, rather than adhering to the more stringent Illinois fire laws. The state contends their law should apply.

The complete article can be found HERE which includes references back to the Cook County Building fire in 2003 and the findings by james Lee Witt & Associates in their report commissioned by the State of Illinois.

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Plainfield engine damaged at accident site

Andy Hilk found this article  in the Plainfield Patch about an accident that occurred while firefighters and police were already working an accident scene on I55 near US 30 in Plainfield.

A distracted driver who failed to see the flashing lights of four emergency vehicles on Interstate 55 sideswiped a Plainfield Fire Protection Districtfire engine Wednesday night.

Deputy Fire Chief Jon Stratton called it a “miracle” that the driver did not end up injuring any firefighters, ambulance personnel or other people at the scene, just north of U.S. 30.

The ambulance was parked in front of the fire engine, and two Illinois State Police cars were parked behind it, Stratton said. Orange cones were set up behind the police cars, he said.

The driver of the second car knocked over the cones but avoided hitting the two police cars before sideswiping the fire engine and coming to a stop, Stratton said. That he did not strike the ambulance, push the fire engine into the ambulance or hit any of the people on the scene was just luck, he said.

A spokesman for Illinois State Police District 5 said the driver of the second car, whose name was not available Wednesday night, offered no explanation other than he was “distracted.”

He was ticketed under Scott’s Law, which increases the penalties for drivers who fail to yield to emergency vehicles or cause accidents at roadside emergency scenes. Under that law, he could be fined up to $10,000 and could potentially have his license suspended.


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New ambulance in Deerfield

Martin Nowak spotted new delivery photos on the Foster Coach web site of an ambulance for Deerfield. The new unit is the first all red ambulance for the department contrasting the previous units with half the box painted white.

Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD Ambulance 19 new delivery

A new Medtec Type III unit for Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD Ambulance 19. Foster Coach photo

Deerfield-Bannockburn FPD Ambulance 19 new delivery

Rear view showing full chevron striping for Ambulance 19 in Deerfield. Foster Coach photo

Deerfield Bannockburn Fire Protection District Ambulance 19

The previous unit assigned to Ambulance 19. Larry Shapiro photo

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