Archive for November 22nd, 2013

Prospect Heights Box Alarm, 11-21-13 (pt2)

Lengthy video from Thursday night’s house fire in Prospect Heights.

A gallery of photos is HERE.

This from Prospect Heights Deputy Chief Drew Smith (901) who worked as the interior chief at the fire:

Fire confined to second floor bedroom walk-in closet and office area. Closet was large enough to be its own room and office area was attached to walk-in closet. Multiple peaks of roof and vaulted and cathedral ceilings required extensive overhaul to check for fire spread. A total of five 1&3/4 hose lines were deployed:

Line 1 fire area inside closet

Line 2 fire area outside closet

Line 3 cover balance of second floor while ceiling opened to check for fire spread

Line 4 covered base of stair

Line 5 was used exterior

Terrain and a small stream to the west of this area made access to nearby Wheeling hydrants impractical. Long-distance LDH relay used. Normally, E9 would be attack pumper and E39 would start relay with a mutual-aid company extending the lay if necessary. Since AH E4 arrived first Squad 9 dropped its full bed then E39 finished the lay and pumped. We have a procedure for this, have used it many times, and it allowed us to obtain an ISO Class 3 even in our non-hydranted areas.

Due to the location of the house in relationship to the cul-de-sac (which has an island) and that the first engine and tankers could only get so far out of the way, Tower 12 could only access the roof at the A-B corner. Had there been much fire in the attic and roof areas we may have had a hard time with suppression.

Prospect Heights Fire Department fights house fire at 415 Cherry Creek Lane 11-21-13

This is the Box card (as actually filled).

Prospect Heights Fire Department fights house fire at 415 Cherry Creek Lane 11-21-13

Diagram of fire scene.

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Landmark building burns in Lyons, 11-22-13

From The Chicago Tribune:

A vacant Chamber of Commerce building that had stood as a landmark in west suburban Lyons was heavily damaged by fire overnight, officials said.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. in the two-story building at 3901 Joliet Ave., officials said. It was extinguished by 6 a.m.

Fire Chief Gordon Nord told reporters that flames were shooting from first-floor windows when firefighters arrived. “It certainly overpowered us. We pulled everyone out, and went to a defensive attack,” Nord said.

The chief said the building will have to be torn down.

From CBS Chicago:

 No one was hurt in a hard-fought fire overnight in Lyons, but it appears the blaze did destroy one of the town’s landmarks.

The vacant Lyons Chamber of Commerce building at 3901 Joliet Av. caught fire around 2:30 a.m. The building is a two-story ivory-colored structure built in the 1900s, featuring ornate doorways and castle-like towers.

Though it has stood empty for years, it’s considered a town landmark. Though it still had power, gas service had been disconnected “for some time,” according to Fire Chief Gordon Nord.

It took firefighters nearly four hours to put out the blaze.

“We had heavy fire showing out the first floor windows. We had a lot of heavy fire in the tin ceiling on the first floor; gave us a lot of problem with a lot of voids. It certainly overpowered us. We pulled everyone out, and went to a defensive attack,” Nord said.

The top of one of the turret-like structures on the corners of the building collapsed during the fire.

As of early Friday, the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

However, the damage was so severe, the building must come down.

No injuries were reported.

Images from the scene from Brad Bartley


Lyons landmark destroyed by fire

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire. Brad Bartley photo

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire. Brad Bartley photo

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire. Brad Bartley photo

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire

Lyons landmark destroyed by fire. Brad Bartley photo

thanks Dan


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Village of Oak Lawn considers outsourcing dispatching (more)

More on the previous post about the Village of Oak Lawn’s Emergency Communications Center from a very lengthy article in the Oak Lawn Leaf.

It appears the Village of Oak Lawn will move to outsource the 911 Emergency Dispatchers to a private company on Tuesday November 26th, despite pleas by the emergency operator’s union, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, to honor its existing contract. Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Larry Deetjen has recommended that the Village outsource the 911 emergency dispatchers to Norcomm Public Safety Communications, based in Leyden Township.   The village’s four supervisors in the department would be retained by the company.  The 20 union dispatchers would be terminated, but allowed to apply for their positions at a reduced salary.  They would also lose their pensions in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

According to Ronald Cicinelli, the attorney representing the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, the Village of Oak Lawn contacted the union only 38 days after agreeing to the 2012 contract and threatened to outsource the jobs unless the union agreed to concessions because of a “financial crisis”.

Cicinelli, in response to inquiries from the Oak Lawn Leaf, said that the Village of Oak Lawn Attorneys contacted the union “saying, in essence, that the village would have to outsource dispatching services if the union did not agree to help with the dire financial situation that it had not disclosed until approving the aforementioned labor contract.”

According to Cicinelli, the union officials and village officials met and the village attached a dollar amount to the financial crisis that the village claimed totaled $1.l million dollars.  “The telecommunicators (union members) were asked to submit concessions that total $369,000.00 to help alleviate the crisis, with the remainder of the shortage being rectified by increasing the costs to the towns served by the center,” said Cicinelli…. the Village of Oak Lawn reportedly sent the other municipalities it serves through the 911 operating system, invoices with the increased costs.

The negotiations broke down further according to the union when the Village informed the union that the entire 3.8 million dollar budget would be spent by the end of July.  Cicinelli claimed that “it is obvious that cost overruns can be attributed, in part, to overtime created by supervisory personnel who no longer count as working dispatchers and the failure to replace three dispatchers who either retired or resigned.” According to Violetto’s letter, the Village’s Emergency Communications Director, Kathy Hansen requested in the last contract that the three dispatchers be called team leaders and not be counted in the manpower numbers to operate the room.  Violetto claims that the three team leaders are now administrative help to Hansen and questioned the need for three people to provide administrative help to the director.  The savings in returning the three supervisors to the manpower count would save the village $152,232.20 a year according to the union. Hansen stated department overtime through August 2013 stood at $124,855.  The union has claimed that the overtime is attributed in part to overtime created by the new supervisory personnel and the failure of the village to replace three open dispatcher positions.

At the November 6, 2013 budget meeting, Oak Lawn’s emergency communications director Kathy Hansen said that due to revenue lost from state-regulated phone surcharges as users switch to cell phones, the department is losing revenue while expenses continue to rise. Industry experts estimate that the total phones used in any municipality are split with 70% cell phone use and 30% landline use.

Currently, the telecommunications tax is only assessed on landlines.  The village received over one million dollars in the telecommunications tax last year.  If the tax is extended by the federal government as expected in the summer, the revenue to the village would exceed $2.3 million dollars thereby solving the problem. By outsourcing to Norcomm, the village claims it would save $446,000 a year for the next two years.

thanks Dan

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