Archive for July 14th, 2016

New use for old Chicago firehouse … for sale

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There’s something undeniably cool about living in a firehouse, but it’s pretty uncommon in Chicago.

A spacious 1907 firehouse just listed for sale in Lakeview is a rare find in the city — only three converted firehouses have sold in the past five years, said realtor Laura Topp who said the building’s unique history combined with recent remodeling that highlights the home’s spacious ceilings and roomy rooms makes it well worth the $1,350,000 price tag.

The firehouse at 3921 N. Ravenswood Ave. is a little different in that it housed the fire insurance patrol, according to the Fire Museum of Greater Chicago. From 1871 to 1959, fire insurance companies operated patrols that salvaged furniture, machinery, and other items in burning buildings. Patrols also did maintenance work on sprinklers, roofs and doors to protect them.

“Patrol units responded to fires with lights and sirens along with regular fire units and, in an emergency, would man a hose line, raise ladders or render first aid to fire victims,” wrote museum director Ken Little in 2006. “This service was performed at no charge, and whether the occupants had fire insurance or not.”

Little said then that there were about 30 old firehouses still in Chicago built in the 1920s or earlier.

The insurance patrol left Ravenswood Avenue in 1933 and eventually, the firehouse became a home. The two-story home has changed hands. One owner did significant remodeling over their 20 years in the firehouse, creating a woodshop, artist studio, wine cellar and basketball court. They put it up for sale for $410,000 in 1994.

The current owners have expanded on the luxurious feeling of the open rooms, with heated floors on the ground level, a cedar coat closet and a green house room. Upstairs, the kitchen was fully remodeled last year, complete with a sparkling water faucet and custom-built quarter-sawn oak cabinetry. As developers of a sixth-barrel keg, the owners installed a two-head draft system with mini refrigerators for two sixth-barrel kegs.

thanks Dan

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Frankfort FPD news

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Frankfort’s new fire chief never wanted to be anything other than a firefighter. Some firefighters lived near where he grew up in Crestwood and brought the truck to the block party. His uncle sometimes would let him visit the Hometown firehouse where he worked. He enjoyed watching the TV show “Emergency,” which started airing not long after his family moved to New Lenox. And when the Frankfort Fire Protection District started a cadet program in the 1980s, he was among the first to join.

Bob Wilson started his career working at an auto parts supplier for several years, but he also got his paramedic license and tested at several local agencies. He applied three times to the Frankfort district before he was hired because some felt he had an attitude problem, he recently recalled.

Once he came on in 1990, Wilson was a young guy who just wanted to go to fires, but was advised to go for more training. He became a fire inspector, then moved into administrative roles. He served as Jim Grady’s assistant chief for 14 years until Grady retired last month and Wilson was promoted to the top spot.

“Chief Grady had been discussing his retirement for a few years and I’d been taking on and filling in on more and more of the administration,” Wilson said.

Wilson credits Grady with leading the district’s transition from volunteers to paid firefighters. He wants to have the agency receive professional accreditation during his administration and improve the district’s insurance ratings.

Wilson, who also serves as president of the Will County Fire Chiefs Association, wants the district to increase outreach to the public for home safety, especially for seniors.

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Braidwood Fire Department news

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The Holloway family was having fun July 2 at a relative’s house in Braidwood when suddenly the life of 3-year-old Jaslyn Holloway flashed before their eyes.

Randy Holloway had just arrived and greeted his three daughters; the Romeoville residents were enjoying some pool time at their aunt’s home. A couple minutes later, Jaslyn fell into the pool.

Her older sister, Shannon, jumped in and grabbed her, and quickly passed her to Randy. The children’s mother, Jennifer Schmidt, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until Braidwood police officers Chris Altiery and Phil Tyree arrived moments later.

Jaslyn was barely breathing as Braidwood Fire Department Lt. Chris Jude and three medics arrived. Capt. Mike Shorkey arrived from his home, starting his shift early.

The first responders Firefighters realized Jaslyn had a pulse, and they established an airway. Shorkey tried to get a helicopter to the scene, but when that was unsuccessful, Jude and his crew maintained an airway and suctioned as much water as they could from Jaslyn’s lungs on the 20-minute ride to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet.

“Right before we got to the hospital, she coughed up about two coffee mugs worth of water,” Jude said.

At the hospital, EMS trauma nurse coordinator Leslie Livett and nurse Kathy Leclear worked to further establish an airway for Jaslyn to breathe. She was then transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn via ambulance where she was placed on a ventilator.

It was removed Monday, and Jaslyn went home Wednesday.

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4-Alarm fire in Lemont – 4/21/16 (more)

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20-year-old Ruben A.O. Cruz has pleaded not guilty to setting a fire last spring that did $70 million worth of damage to a Woodridge warehouse filled with furniture. He entered the plea last Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where he is charged with a felony count of intentionally damaging property by fire. U.S. Magistrate Judge Manish S. Shah accepted Cruz’s plea and continued the matter.

Cruz, a forklift operator, is accused of using a disposable lighter on April 21 to set fire to a packing slip. That, in turn, sparked the blaze that destroyed the 325,000-square-foot RoomPlace warehouse on Internationale Parkway in Woodridge.

Sixty-five employees escaped from the fire, which raged for about seven hours and was battled by more than 100 firefighters from Woodridge and 34 other fire agencies.

Investigators have said Cruz set the fire following a work-related argument with his supervisor.

The supervisor told Cruz he would be losing some of his vacation time because he had missed two days of work earlier in the month. Cruz, who had worked for the RoomPlace for about seven months, insisted he had been at work on those days and allegedly became upset during the meeting, with his supervisor telling him he had enough information to fire him, authorities said. The supervisor called another manager into the office because he said he was afraid Cruz would become violent.

Cruz left the meeting to return to work on the warehouse floor. The building’s fire alarms sounded about 15 minutes later. One employee claimed to have seen Cruz running toward him and dropping a lighter as he went. Cruz turned around and picked up the lighter before continuing to the emergency exit, the worker told authorities.

Cruz was reportedly seen playing cards outside the building as the fire burned.

thanks Dan

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