Archive for January 29th, 2014

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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