Archive for December 1st, 2015

Three teens killed in McHenry County crash

Excerpts from

Two women and a man died after a car crash and fire Friday afternoon McHenry County. The three 18-year-olds died after the crash about 2:10 p.m. in the 1300 block of South Lily Lake Road in unincorporated Nunda Township. The car, a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro, reportedly was headed south when it left the road, collided with several trees, went down a ravine and landed on the driver’s side.

Authorities identified the dead as Kelly Cronin of Island Lake, James Seward of McHenry, and Promise Williamsen of Holiday Hills.

Williamsen was a student at McHenry County College, according to a statement posted Saturdady on the community college’s website. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of MCC student, Promise Williamsen, who passed away from being in a car accident on Friday,” the statement read.

Seward, who was driving, and Cronin, were pronounced dead on the scene, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said. Williamsen, the vehicle’s owner who was seated in the front passenger seat, was taken to Centegra Hospital-McHenry, where she was pronounced dead.

“I pulled up about three or four minutes after it happened,” said Rick Schwans, who owns a nearby horse farm. “I couldn’t tell what happened. It was a horrific accident. I was trying to help get the bodies out.” He saw three young people in the small blue car, which appeared to have hit a tree and was overturned in a ditch off Lily Lake, south of Wegner Road. “I tried to move the seats to get them freed up,” said Schwans, who described feeling helpless without tools or a fire extinguisher.

A woman who arrived before him had already called paramedics, who arrived soon afterward, he said. “She is the one who really saved the day by calling the paramedics and telling them what was going on,” Schwans said.



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Our Lady of the Angels anniversary


Today is the 57th Anniversary of this tragedy

Excerpts from the

For five decades after the deadly blaze that killed 92 of his classmates at Our Lady of the Angels School, John Raymond rarely spoke about it. But in his mind, he relived the classroom growing hotter and hotter with no escape, Sister Therese Champagne telling students to kneel and pray, the panic as he clawed his way to a window. He remembers the release of diving out, free falling and landing on his side in a street strewed with other children’s broken bodies.

But recently, Raymond, of Mount Prospect, started talking to groups of students about the fire in Chicago 57 years ago on Tuesday. Speaking about his experiences and how the disaster changed fire codes across the nation has been healing, says Raymond, who recently visited Loyola Academy in Wilmette, St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights and Maine South High School in Park Ridge, among others.

“When you can talk to 300 kids and you can hear a pin drop, you’re doing a pretty good job,” he says.

The Elk Grove Public Library will host history enthusiast Jim Gibbons in a program about the fire at 7 p.m. today. Raymond was invited but says he’ll wait to see how his mood is before he decides whether to go.

Raymond says he’s luckier than his father, Jim Raymond, the school’s janitor who initially was blamed for “sloppy housekeeping” causing the blaze. Years later, a student confessed to setting the fire, and the cause was never officially determined. But Jim Raymond’s reputation suffered. “It really took a lot out of him,” John Raymond said.

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3-Alarm fire in Spring Grove, 11-29-15

This from Jeff Rudolph:


Spring Grove, IL – McHenry County FPD responded to a fire at 6316 Johnsburg rd. Due in part to the size of the structure and the lack of hydrants in the area, command upgraded to the Box and eventually up to the third alarm for tenders. The fire was quickly knocked down and kept from extending into the residence. Jeff Rudolph
Spring Grove house fire

Jeff Rudolph photo

Cary FD rescue squad

Jeff Rudolph photo

Fox Lake FD Nova Quintech Sky-Arm

Jeff Rudolph photo

Fox River Grove FD tender

Jeff Rudolph photo

Hebron Alden FPD tanker

Jeff Rudolph photo

lake Geneva WI FD fire engine

Jeff Rudolph photo

Richmond FD fire engine

Jeff Rudolph photo

Excerpts from the Northwest Herald:

No one was injured in a fire that caused easily more than $100,000 in damage to a Spring Grove home Sunday afternoon. The Spring Grove Fire Protection District responded at 2:26 p.m. Sunday to 6316 Johnsburg Road where first responders (firefighters) found flames shooting out of the roof and windows of an attached tool shed, Chief Richard Tobiasz said.

About 15 fire departments from Lake and McHenry counties as well as Wisconsin helped put out the fire, which had extended into the main house, a large converted dairy barn … it took less than an hour for crews to get the fire under control.

The home is located in an area without fire hydrants, so tankers were dispatched to the water tower in Spring Grove to bring back water, he said.

The owner had been heating up some cooking oil in the tool shed when he went back in the house and may have fallen asleep, Tobiasz said. A neighbor saw the fire, got into the house and woke up the owner and his two adult sons.

The first floor and the tool shed suffered fire damage, and smoke damage extended onto the second floor where the bedrooms are, he said, adding the house is not a total loss and potentially could be rebuilt.

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