Archive for October 30th, 2014

Firefighter and teacher retires after long career

The Daily Herald has an article about the retirement of a former firefighter and teacher.

Richard Keyworth made a promise. He vowed never to bring a real Christmas tree into his family’s home. At 71, the retired Elk Grove Village firefighter has stuck to his pledge, a way to cope with the memories of a fast-moving fire that killed a mother, father and their three children in a one-story home on Christmas morning.

All these years later, the details are hazy for Keyworth, who was pulling hoses at the scene of the early 1970s fire. The culprit was either a faulty plug or lights that sparked the dry needles on a real Christmas tree. But Keyworth does remember what wasn’t there: smoke detectors.

He would later dedicate the rest of his career to teaching hundreds of aspiring firefighters about the prevention side of the job. For 42 years Keyworth has navigated the highly technical world of building codes and inspections as an instructor in Harper College’s Fire Science program. He is stepping down from the position Nov. 1, though he still plans to keep lecturing and writing for trade publications.

Keyworth grew up in Itasca, and chalks up his career path to visiting a firehouse around the corner from his grandparents’ place in Chicago. He had breakfasts and lunches with the firefighters who “adopted” him, and their battalion chief gave the youngster a tour of other Chicago stations.

He studied at College of DuPage, briefly volunteered with the Itasca department and, in 1969, joined Elk Grove Village, where he would rise to lieutenant. He also was one of the investigators to link the 1982 deaths of seven people to Tylenol capsules tainted with cyanide — a notorious cold case in the suburbs.

Since joining Harper in 1972, Keyworth has managed to keep up with a demanding learning curve. In the early days, Keyworth’s fire protection manual stood less than 3 inches thick. Today, the handbook comes in a volume of books.

Keyworth began thinking about retirement two semesters ago when he taught the grandson of a former student.

thanks Dan


CFD Chili Cook Off


WHAT: Join Old Style and Mo Dailey’s for one hot Chili Cook-Off! Presented in partnership with the Chicago Fire Department’s Northside Fire Brigade and Gaelic Fire Brigade, this tasty event will take place at Mo Dailey’s Pub and Grille on Sunday, November 2.

Members of the Chicago Fire Department and cooks from around the city will gather to present their take on chili with guest judges ultimately determining who will take home the title of champion.  This year’s guest judges include Mark Konkol from DNA Info, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, Chicago Fire Department Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago and Deputy Chief Mark Nielson. The panel will be rounded out with celebrity judges David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso, and Yuri Sardarov from NBC’s hit show, Chicago Fire.

This event also celebrates the Old Style Chicago Heroes Can, a commemorative can created by the iconic beer company to honor the bravery, lives and risks taken by Chicago’s Bravest. The sale of these cans throughout Chicagoland benefit’s the Ende, Menzer, Walsh and Quinn (EMWQ) Retirees’, Widows’ and Children’s Assistance Fund, a local organization which provides financial assistance annually to the neediest widows and orphans of members of the Chicago Fire Department. The can will be available throughout the event, with Mo Dailey’s generously donating $10 from every event ticket purchased to the organization.

Tickets for the Chili Cook-Off are available for $40, which includes beer, wine and rail drinks, as well as the chili tasting and outdoor BBQ items.  A live DJ will also be on-site and raffle tickets will be available for purchase, with a variety of prizes up for grabs, including Old Style memorabilia. Guests can purchase tickets at the door.

WHERE: Mo Dailey’s
6070 N. Northwest Hwy.
Chicago, IL 60631
P: 773-774-6121

WHEN: Sunday, November 2
1 to 5 p.m.

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Chicago Ridge to buy quint

The has an article about the new Chicago Ridge fire chief introducing a quint to Chicago Ridge as he did in Oak Lawn:

Chicago Ridge Fire Chief George Sheets promised to improve efficiencies when he took control of the department in July and he’s wasted little time working toward that goal. Sheets outlined a plan at Tuesday’s village board meeting designed to reduce by 50 percent the department’s vehicle maintenance budget by upgrading the fleet of trucks.

The department currently spends about $60,000 to maintain 11 vehicles … He maintains that figure is too high considering that the Oak Lawn Fire Department has a $50,000 maintenance budget for 18 vehicles. Sheets knows that first-hand because he also serves as fire chief in Oak Lawn.

Sheets called for Chicago Ridge officials to purchase a quintuple combination pumper, or quint, an apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and ladder truck.

“It combines several vehicles into one,” said Sheets, who added that the truck features that latest technology tools used in firefighting.

The vehicle does not come cheap. Sheets estimated that a demo unit would cost the village about $650,000. But state or federal grants could help offset the cost, he said. The village board did not approve a purchase, as some trustees expressed a desire to see the quint up close. Sheets, however, was authorized to negotiate a deal for the truck with the manufacturer. The chief told the trustees that a 4 percent increase in the purchase price of a quint is expected soon. He added that demo models do not stay on the market for long because of the discounted price.

“We need to consolidate some of the apparatuses,” Sheets said. “It will make us more efficient. Vehicle maintenance costs can’t continue to escalate.” Specifically, Sheets proposed removing from the fleet an aerial truck and two pumper trucks, one that is badly rusted and requires significant repair. Sheets said he was offered $164,000 for the three trucks, but is holding out for more.

In September … after learning that the firefighters responded to 86 [false alarms] in 2013 [he] called for stiffer penalties and increasing fines 300 percent. He said that a village ordinance lacked the teeth to reduce false alarms. The ordinance required business owners to pay $25 for each false alarm beginning with the seventh call. The fee is now $100 beginning with the second false alarm, Sheets said.

Sheets also recommended an increase in the ambulance rate after realizing that the village’s rate was one of the lowest in the region. The fee had not been increased in six years.

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