Archive for July 20th, 2015

East Dundee FPD celebrates 125 years

Excerpts from the

The East Dundee FPD is celebrating its 125th anniversary. [According to] Jason Parthun, the fire district’s assistant fire chief, many have heard stories that people back then put out their fires with the help of their neighbors.

“There were no sirens, pagers or 9-1-1. People saw something burning and shouted for help,” Parthun said. “A bucket brigade of volunteers handed pails of water to each other to throw on the fire.”

After enough of those fires, East Dundee residents, whose village was only 19 years old, decided they needed organization and formed an all-volunteer fire department. They brought a horse or two and a fire wagon, and they were in business. Unfortunately, no records of early calls or later purchases remain; only 1920-era photographs of volunteers standing next to a fire truck stand as proof that the department existed before fire district was formed in 1959.

There was an advantage to turning the department into a fire district. A district gave East Dundee fire trustees the authority to charge property taxes to pay for equipment and services. Even though the village and the district were still in their infancies, fire trustees still had to pay for gasoline to power the trucks. They also had to build a fire station to house the trucks.

“The first firehouse was on Third Street,” said Mark Guth, one of the oldest East Dundee residents still active with the fire district. “It had two (truck) bays and room on the second floor to store the hay for the horses.”

In 1959, the house was torn down and replaced with a brick building that still stands, but no longer serves as a firehouse. The village’s police department has taken the structure over because it needed more room. Within the last year, the fire department opened a station along Route 25.

Guth is president of the district’s board of trustees. He has also worked as a firefighter and was the district’s first paramedic in 1975.

“I started with the fire district in 1959, and firefighters were paid $2 for each call,” he said. “At the end of the year, the firefighters received IOUs from the district because it didn’t have the money to pay us.”

In his first year of services, firefighters responded to 25 calls. Their services covered hundreds of residents. Today, the fire district covers 10,000 residents from the Fox River to South Barrington [and]  has 30 full-and part-time firefighters and paramedics who responded to 1,350 calls last year.

Through its history, many East Dundee firefighters were related to each other and helped the department grow. Max Freeman was the district’s first fire chief. His brother, Earl, the only East Dundee firefighter to die in the line of duty, was a firefighter who died of a heart attack in 1958 after responding to a call.

Eugene Rakow served as fire chief until retiring in the 1980s. His son, Mark, took his place as chief.

Even Guth comes from a line of firefighters. His father, Marcus, served on the East Dundee Fire Department. His son, Mark Guth III, works for the West Dundee Fire Department.

A five-alarm blaze, the largest fire the department [battled was in] March 2007. Lightning struck and destroyed the abandoned Dundee Lumber Co. on Barrington Avenue.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , ,

Lombard firefighters receive award

Excerpts from

Everything happened so fast for Joanna Koppang that she wasn’t able to properly thank the six Lombard firefighters who safely delivered her daughter in an ambulance across from the Lombard Metra station in January, but the Wheaton resident got her chance to do just that on June 18, when she presented the men with a Stork Award.

Koppang and her family awarded the men with the pink stork pin at a Lombard Village Board meeting June 18. Recipients included firefighters Tim Hillesheim, John Studnicka, Dale Farris, Joe Kaforski, Galen Cardott and Lt. Tony Sally.

This was the first time Studnicka delivered a baby, but he said he wasn’t nervous. “Everyone felt comfortable doing it because we have training on labor and birth at least once a year,” he said. “Everything went well; the baby was healthy. So we couldn’t ask for anything different.”

Koppang was at her job in Chicago on Jan. 7 when she started to feel some slight contractions. She decided to take the train home and told her husband to meet her at the Wheaton train station to take her to the hospital in Winfield. But the baby had other plans.

“My water broke near the Elmhurst stop, and my contractions were getting stronger and closer together,” she said. “I was so embarrassed. The train conductor called 911 and told them to be waiting for me at the Lombard stop.”

She was able to get off the train and into the back of the ambulance just in the nick of time.

Once her daughter, her second child, was born without complications, they were able to bypass the emergency room and go straight to the mom and baby unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.

“The doctor checked us both, and we were fine, so after that, it was a normal, standard recovery,” she said. “They were so professional and did a fantastic job. I’m so grateful they were there waiting or else my husband would’ve delivered the baby.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lincolnshire-Riverwoods FPD promotions ceremony

The Lincolnshire-Riverwoods FPD held a ceremony on Saturday (7/18/15) at their board meeting to promote two new lieutenants and two new battalion chiefs.

fire department promotion

Jason McKenna was promoted to Battalion Chief. Larry Shapiro photo

fire department promotion

Eric Levernier was promoted to Lieutenant. Larry Shapiro photo

fire department promotion

Paul Schebel was promoted to Lieutenant. Larry Shapiro photo

fire department promotion

Steve McCaughey was promoted to Battalion Chief. Larry Shapiro photo

More photos at

Tags: , , , , , ,