Archive for January, 2014

Evanston Police & Fire Departments help young patient

This from the Daily Northwestern:

When more than 20 police cars and fire trucks showed up on the street where 10-year-old Julian Sims lives Thursday, the commotion confused him. But when the officers and firefighters showed up on his doorstep with balloons and bags of gifts, he knew they were there for him.

“We want to show him we’re 110 percent behind him,” Evanston Police officer Heidi Bernhardt said.

EPD officers and Evanston fire department officials participated in a motorcade Thursday, blocking off the 1500 block of Church Street to have a surprise visit to Julian at his home.

Julian, a fifth-grade student at Dewey Elementary School, was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2013. The Sims family has been looking for a match for a bone marrow transplant since November, holding bone marrow drives and raising money to get people tested. Two months ago, the incessant searching paid off, and the family found a match.

Julian starts the transplant process Friday when he reports to the hospital, where he will be confined to a room for more than a month without any visitors besides his parents. Bernhardt said the police and fire departments raised more than $3,000 in gifts for Julian and his family that would improve the time spent in the hospital. The items included gift cards, Chicago Blackhawks memorabilia and Xbox Live games that would allow Julian to talk and play with friends and his brother Miles.

“I was blown away,” Julian’s father Rich Sims said. “I had no idea it was going to be that big and with so many people.”

Officers lined up outside the Sims’ house to take turns greeting Julian and shaking his hand. Julian was presented with a police uniform top, complete with a personalized ID tag and a t-shirt signed by all of the firefighters.

After posing in a picture with all the officers, Julian, with a smile on his face, climbed into a fire truck and took a ride around Evanston.

“I feel that a lot of people respect me,” Julian said. “They’re trying to help me get through it.”

Julian’s story was brought to the officers’ attention by police officers Joseph Panek and Sean O’Brien. The two policemen, after reading articles about Julian online, showed up at the Sims’ house to volunteer to help Julian and his family.

When they found out Julian had found a match and was going to the hospital for his transplant, the officers reached out to the police department to organize something. They then reached out to captain/paramedic Jeffrey Boetto of the Evanston fire department, who gathered officers and five trucks to join the motorcade and support Julian.

“It’s a way to give back to the community,” Boetto said. “We wanted to give him some inspiration.”

Julian’s mother, Romy Sims, said her family has been lucky throughout the entire process. The Sims family, through the Be the Match Foundation, has raised more than $6,000 and has not had to pay for Julian’s transplant at all.

Romy Sims also said the officers’ help was so great since they didn’t have to help Julian — they wanted to.

“It’s above and beyond their duty,” she said. “It came from the heart. It’s totally uplifting.”

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Norwood Park Box Alarm, 1-28-14 (more)

This from Steve Redick:

Here are the photos to match the previous video. From what I was told the fire involved the chimney and wood burning stove in the basement, and the fire ran up to the attic. Make no mistake it was bitter cold, several degrees below zero. It was tough to do anything. Finally got some shots of the new rig working. This was a done deal in very short order.

Steve Redick


heavy smoke from single family house on fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen place ladder at house fire

Steve Redick photo

fire chief at door of house fire

Steve Redick photo

Norwood Park Pierce tower ladder

Steve Redick photo

firemen use saw to ventilate roof at house fire

Steve Redick photo

firemen ventilate roof at house fire

Steve Redick photo

fireman silhouetted on roof with smoke

Steve Redick photo

orwood Park FPD Pierce Impel puper

Steve Redick photo

rear of Pierce Impel fire engine

Steve Redick photo

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Barrington Countryside FPD orders new engine

The Barrington Courier Review has an article about the Barrington Countryside FPD ordering an new engine.

Continuing to expand its fleet, Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees budgeted $425,000 last week for the purchase of a new fire engine.

Earlier in January, the board approved the purchase of two Ford F-150 pickup trucks for equipment transportation and two Ford Expedition to be used as shift command vehicles. Fire district officials said the vehicles will improve firefighters’ ability to protect residents as it operates independent of the village of Barrington’s Fire Department. The long-term fleet expansion plan does not call for increased taxes, district officials said.

“The new fire engine will hold 1,250 gallons of water and be able to carry larger diameter hoses for fire suppression activities,” District Fire Chief Jeff Swanson said. “In addition, the vehicle’s raised cab roof will provide more room for BCFPD firefighters and paramedics and their equipment, and improve their safety.”

The new engine is being built by Florida-based E-One, a worldwide manufacturer of emergency vehicles. The engine will replace an older pumper that will remain in service as a reserve engine.

In total, the new vehicles were budgeted to cost no more than $546,275. District officials said they were able to save taxpayers nearly $30,000 on the purchases by using state purchase pricing.

“Long before the BCFPD began independent operations, the board realized that we would need to upgrade our vehicles to meet the needs of our district,” District President Tom Rowan said. “We committed ourselves to make those improvements without raising taxes on residents.”

In 2012, the district retired more than $1 million in long-term bond obligations which had been originally raised to fund the purchase of the district’s Lake Barrington fire station, officials said. The move saved about $661,000 in interest payments that would have been due over the next 20 years, according to the district.


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Naperville gets SAFER grant

The Daily Herald has an article about the Naperville FD being awarded a SAFER grant;

Staffing a fire department can be a challenging task of shifting numbers and hours and personnel, but the job got a bit easier for Naperville Chief Mark Puknaitis with the recent announcement of more than $1 million in grant funding to pay salaries and benefits over the next two years.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave Naperville the money through the SAFERprogram, which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

Puknaitis said the funds likely will allow his department to hire three firefighter/paramedics. The hiring will help fill a void left by attrition over the past few years, which has resulted in six vacant firefighter/paramedic positions and two vacant administrative positions.

“It’s important because it’s a million dollars and it’s something that is going to help us maintain our staffing levels in the fire department,” Puknaitis said.

Any firefighter/paramedics hired using the SAFER grant money, which totals $1,002,000, would work in the operations division. Puknaitis said Naperville currently has 185 operations personnel split into three 24-hour shifts.

The chief will work with the city’s finance department to form a budget and determine exactly how many new firefighter/paramedics he can hire using the SAFER grant.

Recruitment to fill the positions must begin within 90 days of the city receiving the grant, and the city must maintain its previous staffing level and the new positions for the two-year duration of the funding.

Puknaitis said about 2,500 fire departments across the nation applied for the SAFER funding and only between 300 and 350 received it.

thanks Dan

Also, from the Naperville Sun … apparently Naperville’s firefighting agency also got a grant …

Naperville’s firefighting agency will be getting a hand with covering its staffing expenses, thanks to more than $1 million in federal grant money announced by local lawmakers.

The offices of U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) notified the city of the $1,002,000 award, part of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant program is designed to help prevent staff cuts or to rehire responders who have been let go because of funding constraints.

“It is critical that we make sure our first responders have the tools they need to keep our communities safe,” Foster said in a news release.

Naperville Fire Department Chief Mark Puknaitis said the city applied for the SAFER funds last year. The department currently has six vacancies in its operations division, he said, and several current firefighters plan to retire this year.

The wave of retirees was not unexpected. When the city’s growth boom was gaining steam in the late 1970s and early ’80s, firefighters were being hired in groups of 15 or more, the chief said. During that period, the city’s three fire stations increased to the 10 in use today.

“Our department is in a natural progression of people retiring,” Puknaitis said. “We’re going to see that trend continue, in the next five to 10 years for sure.”

While the new hires will be paid less, he noted the flip side is that they will not bring to the job the body of experience in public safety that has been accrued among those leaving the profession.

“We need to have the funding to replace them,” said the chief, emphasizing that his department minimizes personnel costs as much as possible, and applies for grants at nearly every opportunity. “An award like this helps me tremendously in getting approval for positions that I have in my budget. … It’s not, ‘Hey we’ve got extra money so let’s put a couple more people on.’”

The money, to be funneled to the department over the next two years, is required to go to personnel and benefits. It can’t be used for such purposes as remodeling a firehouse or buying new equipment, Puknaitis said.

“A million bucks over two years is huge,” he said. “And they don’t give that kind of money to just anybody.”

thanks Chris

firefighting agency … are you kidding me?

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Norwood Park Box Alarm, 1-28-14

This from Steve Redick

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Chicago Still and Box @23rd and Lawndale 1-29-14

This fro Josh Boyajian:

Here are my pictures from the Still and Box last night at 23rd & Lawndale.


Chicago rehabbed two-flat on fire

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen cut steel fence at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

fireman inside burning building

Josh Boyajian photo

fire hydrant in the snow

Josh Boyajian photo

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Chicago working fire 1-21-14

This from Josh Boyajian:

1-21-14 – Companies were dispatched to a working fire in the 6500 blk of south Green. I was sitting at 47th and Halsted when this came in. As soon as they dispatched the companies, you could see the header. Engine 47 arrived and lead out a line to the second floor. Truck Co. 18 had the main to the roof and cut a few holes. Fire was knocked pretty quick. Here are my pictures.


Pierce ladder truck at fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot out upper floor window

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen enter building with fire at upper window

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot out upper floor window

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen make entry at fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

battalion chief in command of fire scene

Josh Boyajian photo

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Lake Forest to offer Citizen’s Fire Academy

From the Lake Forester:

Maybe it’s the chance to ride in a real fire truck, don the full turnout gear or the popularity of the TV series “Chicago Fire.”

Whatever the reason, Lake Forest’s first Citizens Fire Academy, set to start Thursday, Feb. 6, is filling up fast.

“We’ve still got a few spots left,” Deputy Fire Chief Chris Garrison said, “but don’t wait too long.”

Taking a leaf out of the city’s police department playbook, the fire crew department  will open its doors — and its books — to a dozen or so residents and individuals who work in the city to let them step into a firefighter’s shoes from 7 to 9:30 p.m. every Thursday night for 10 weeks at the Public Safety Building at 255 W. Deerpath in Lake Forest.

The goal of the academy, which will run twice a year, is to educate the public about what fire personnel do on a daily basis.

While the department fields 3,300 calls every year — an average nine a day — few residents are conversant in the skills and duties offered by its employees.

“If residents need us, they call,” Fire Chief Jeff Howell said. “We come, we take care of the situation. But the truth of it is, I don’t think residents truly know what the fire department does and is capable of doing. This is an opportunity for us to tell our story.”

With a tour of the station and a primer on the department’s history — Lake Forest hired its first firefighter in 1898, making it one of the oldest fire departments in the state — as well as pulling a hose and suiting up to crawl through a non-toxic smoke-filled obstacle course, students will get a complete overview of the fire operation, officials said.

“We’ll show them the rigs, the actual trucks, and the difference between a tower ladder and an engine, a tower ladder and a squad,” Garrison said.

Students will also get an up-close look at the department’s four ambulances and learn how emergency medical services, or EMS, functions. More than half the annual calls to the fire department are for EMS.

“A lot of people still think when an ambulance comes it’s from the hospital,” Garrison said. “They don’t realize firefighters are paramedics, too.”

Weekly lessons also will cover auto extrication, ladder usage, spraying a hose, how the incident chain of command system works and an overview of the department’s budget, among other topics.

“We want to paint the picture of what we do,” Garrison said.

While the course will not prepare anyone to be a firefighter, it will serve as a departmental “open book” for residents, Howell said.

“This is everything we do; these are your tax dollars at work,” Howell said.

Those interested in participating in the upcoming session or a future session should contact Garrison at 847-810-3866 or

thanks Dan

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Working fire in Glencoe, 1-26-14

This from Larry Shapiro:

Late Sunday night, I took in a basement fire in Glencoe during the same weather conditions that Steve and Dan encountered at the 2-11 in Chicago. Companies made an aggressive interior attack and stopped the fire quickly. The house at 1201 Longmeadow Drive was on a narrow, dead-end street that faced a golf course. The wind was blowing from the golf course making the street even narrower with snow drifts.

There’s not much to see here, but I thought the weather conditions were really the item of interest at this one … i was glad to get back in my car to head home.

Pierce Impel fire engine at night in the snow

Northbrook Engine 11 was at the corner. Larry Shapiro photo

firemen acting as a RIT

Northfield firefighters standby with the RIT assignment. Larry Shapiro photo

fire engine at night obscured by blowing snow

The wind whips across the street. Larry Shapiro photo

Pierce Impel fire engine at night in the snow

Another view of the Northbrook engine. Larry Shapiro photo

fireman walking on street with snow drifts

The snow drifts are making the street even narrower. Larry Shapiro photo


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3-Alarm fire in Lake Forest, January 28, 2014

Lake Forest firefighters responded to a reported basement fire Tuesday afternoon at 180 W. Laurel Avenue. The first arriving unit reported nothing showing from the outside, but found smoke upon entering the large house. Within roughly 9 minutes, the alarm was upgraded to a working still alarm, a MABAS Box Alarm, and then a 2nd Alarm as smoke began escaping from the eaves.

winter fire scene photos with E-ONE quint

Larry Shapiro photo

winter fire scene photos with E-ONE quint

Larry Shapiro photo

There was a hydrant at the end of the long, curvy driveway. The first-due Lake Forest engine and the Knollwood quint both made the driveway … with some difficulty. Fire was located in the void space beneath the first floor and then in some walls on the second floor.

winter fire scene photos with E-ONE quint

Larry Shapiro photo

winter fire scene photos with Pierce engine

Larry Shapiro photo

The alarm was upgraded to a 3rd Alarm for additional companies to standby in the event that the fire got away from the companies working inside. The fire was contained before long without doing extensive damage to the structure of the house. Temperatures were hovering just above 0 with a negative windchill.

fireman wearing his air mask

Larry Shapiro photo

firefighter on cold day after fighting fire

Larry Shapiro photo

fire chief with radio at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

Highland Park fireman after fire

Larry Shapiro photo

Larry Shapiro and Tim Olk took it in.

Lake Bluff Fire Departmetn squad unit

Lake Bluff squad. Larry Shapiro photo

many fire trucks at fire scene

Apparatus lined the narrow street. Larry Shapiro photo

Companies at the scene were:

  • Lake Forest with two engines, an ambulance, a tower ladder, and chief officers
  • Knollwood with a quint
  • Highwood with a quint
  • Mundelein with an engine
  • Lake Bluff with an engine
  • Libertyville with an engine
  • Beach Park with an engine
  • Highland Park with an engine
  • Grayslake with an engine
  • Lake Villa with an engine
  • Wauconda with an engine
  • Round Lake with an engine
  • Countryside with a truck and a chief
  • Gurnee with a truck
  • Great Lakes with a truck
  • Fox Lake with a squad
  • Lincolnshire with an ambulance, squad and chief
  • Northbrook with an ambulance
  • Long Grove with an ambulance
  • Barrington Countryside with an ambulance
  • Quad 2 Mobile Command Post
  • Deerfield chief
photo of Seagrave fire engine

Beach Park Engine 1222. Larry Shapiro photo

Spartan fire engine photo

Round Lake Engine 262. Larry Shapiro photo

photo of Pierce tower ladder

Great Lakes Truck 1931. Larry Shapiro photo

The complete set of Larry’s images will be posted soon to his site.

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