Archive for September, 2017

North Chicago Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

On Saturday friends, family, and colleagues will meet in Waukegan’s Shiloh Baptist Church to honor Mark Alan Miller, North Chicago’s first full-time black firefighter, who died Saturday at age 72.

Doors are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. at the church, 800 S. Genesee St., followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service.

Miller graduated from North Chicago High School in 1963 and served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from November 1965 to October 1967. In the 1970s, he decided he wanted to be a firefighter.

“His father was city clerk and they had to sue the city because the firefighters test was racially biased,” his wife said, adding that after it was fixed, he passed it and joined the department.

When he started, she said, there was sometimes conflict with white people as he would start to give them first aid. 

He was president of the firefighters union for a year before he suffered an aortic aneurysm on the job at the end of 2001 and retired the following year.

North Chicago Fire Chief Dell Urban said that Miller never talked about any problems in the firehouse he may have had when joining the department on Oct. 1, 1975.

Miller received a number of certificates and licenses during his years on the force, including Firefighter I and II designations, medical technician, and then paramedic, and he was a hazardous materials technician. He assisted on several major fires over the years, including a fire at the North Chicago Wire Mill in the early 1980s and an explosion at the Traco Inc. chemical plant in June 1988.

He also received special commendations during his career, including one for rescuing two children from a house fire in 1995, Urban said. 

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Fatal MVA in Sugar Grove Township, 9-9-17

This from Dave Weaver:

9/9/17 SUGAR GROVE TWP – Fatal Vehicle Crash Harter Rd. and Scott Rd.
A car vs. minivan collision occurred at the intersection of Harter Rd. and Scott Rd. around 3:25 pm. According to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the initial investigation indicates a 2003 Acura was traveling west on Scott Rd. and failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Harter Rd. where it collided with a 2000 Chevy Venture minivan traveling north on Harter Rd. Traffic on Harter Rd. does not have a stop sign. The 36-year-old Barlett man driving the Acura was killed. The 29-year-old female passenger was transported to Mercy Center Hospital in Aurora with apparent non-life threatening injuries. The back seat passenger, a 3-year-old female in a car seat, was taken to Mercy Center Hospital and then airlifted to Lutheran General Hospital. The driver and passenger of the minivan, a 55-year-old man and 60-year-old female both from Aurora, were transported to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital with apparent non-life threatening injuries. Victims were transported by ambulances from Elburn, Bristol-Kendall FPD, Big Rock, and Montgomery. Sugar Grove’s ambulance was already on a call. According to info obtained at the scene, Elburn fire and EMS crews were at a nearby event which allowed them to respond very quickly as mutual aid. A witness told RM911 that a neighbor, an off-duty paramedic, retrieved the car seat and child from the car and administered first aid until the Elburn fire crews arrived. Mark Vogtmann expressed concern over the large number of crashes he’s witnessed since moving nearby and feels a 4-way stop is needed.

 

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Working fire in Chicago, 9-21-17

This from Josh Boyajian:

While a the Still & Box on Peoria 9/21/17, Truck 50 landed at 5932 s Hermitage with a 1.5-sty frame and a fire in the attic. Engine 84 and 15 lead out. Truck 50 was working the roof. 

smoke vents from roof of house on fire

Josh Boyajian photo

smoke vents from roof of house on fire

Josh Boyajian photo

Firefighters pull hose from engine at fire

Josh Boyajian photo

Firefighters vent house on fire with heavy smoke

Josh Boyajian photo

Firefighter vents roof with a saw

Josh Boyajian photo

Chicago FD Truck 50

Josh Boyajian photo

dramatic Chicago Firefighter after a fire

Josh Boyajian photo

Chicago FD Truck 50

Josh Boyajian photo

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Delavan Fire Department news

Delavan WI FD Engine 5

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

live-burndown in Delavan WI

Tim Olk photo

Photos from Tim Olk of a burn-down in Dleavan, WI 9-19-17

 

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Oak Lawn Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Accepting a $1.35 million federal grant to hire seven firefighters might seem like a no-brainer for a municipality, but in Oak Lawn, where a rift between the village administration and its firefighters’ union has derailed contract negotiations in recent years, the decision isn’t so simple.

While the village board voted unanimously last week to accept the $1,347,952 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant — with the support of both the village manager and the firefighters union president — it’s far from a done deal.

Because the three-year grant requires the village pick up 25 percent of the new hires’ cost for the first two years and 65 percent of the cost in the third year, Oak Lawn would be on the hook for more than $930,000 if it appointed the seven additional firefighters.

For that reason, the village manager said he would recommend aborting the grant, which the village still has the ability to cancel, if the administration is unable to come to some agreement with the union on certain economic issues in the coming months.

Village officials declined to say what specifically they sought from the union in contract negotiations outside of a way to reduce overtime costs, which have ballooned to nearly $3 million per year.

The steep overtime price tag is driven by reduced staffing levels, which have been shrinking for years and are down more than 30 percent since the early 2000s, union president Vince Griffin said.

The village administration still considers the department bloated, despite its reduced manpower, and would like to see additional downsizing through attrition as firefighters retire in the coming years.

In spite of those sentiments, the village manager supported accepting the SAFER grant and increasing staff levels by seven because it’s expected to allow the village to significantly reduce overtime costs at a discount. The village is under no obligation to retain the seven new hires after the grant expires in three years if doing so is not financially prudent, officials said.

“This is about business, not public safety,” the village manager said at the Sept. 12 board meeting. “There’s no public safety be enhanced by accepting this grant. It’s to reduce overtime, stop hemorrhaging of the budget.”

A white paper authored by Fire Chief George Sheets estimates that to break even on the village’s $933,436 outlay, the department would need to reduce overtime by 710 work days over the next three years.

By Sheets’ calculations, the addition of seven firefighters would generate 700 extra work days per fiscal year, or 2,100 over the three-year lifespan of the grant.

Any additional savings beyond the $933,436 would be put toward the department’s long-term pension liabilities, officials said.

He would not say how much savings he anticipates realizing by accepting the grant and appointing additional firefighters, but made clear that simply breaking even —saving just enough to pay off the village’s $933,436 obligation but no more — was not sufficient.

Two factors that could impact the village’s savings are the pace of future retirements and the amount of time off firefighters request.

Even if the department gains seven new firefighters initially, as older firefighters retire — at least seven will be eligible to do so within the next three years — staffing could return to pre-grant levels or even lower in the coming years since the village does not intend to backfill all departures, officials said. For every firefighter who retires and is not replaced, Oak Lawn realizes less overtime savings from the new hires brought on through the grant.

Another uncertainty involves how firefighters respond to an increase in manpower.

If the larger staff size results in firefighters changing their sick leave and vacation habits in a way that increases the need for overtime, it could also put a dent in the savings, village officials said.

Griffin, the union president, said he believes that while technically possible, it is “highly improbable” that firefighters would change their sick leave and vacation habits as a result of staffing increases.

Griffin said that while he strongly supports Oak Lawn’s acceptance of the SAFER grant, he was not aware the village did not intend to replace all firefighters who retired.

Griffin added that the union views the grant and the successive collective bargaining agreement as mutually exclusive, and that he was not aware the village expected the union to compromise in some fashion as a condition of appointing additional firefighters.

He said he considered the SAFER grant a standalone — a mutually beneficial arrangement that would decrease overtime costs for the village and enhance firefighter life safety by reducing wear and tear on the department — and insisted the union had conveyed that to the village administration in previous discussions.

The upcoming contract negotiations, he said, were an entirely separate issue.

The administration takes a different view. By appointing seven new firefighters at a cost of $933,436 without the guarantee of recouping that money, it bears all the risk, officials said. The village therefore hopes to rectify that perceived imbalance with the union through compromise.

The parties are currently scheduled to begin negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement on Nov. 29 with two subsequent meeting dates planned for December. The department’s current contract, which was arbitrated earlier this year after negotiations stalled, ends on Dec. 31.

It remains to be seen whether the parties can work out a mutually agreeable deal that will allow the village to feel comfortable appointing seven new firefighters, but both sides said they had been encouraged by recent informal discussions about the SAFER grant and would bargain in good faith.

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New ambulance and Battalion Chief unit for the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District

This from Brendan Parker:

Here are pictures of our new shift commander vehicle (Battalion 4) out of station 1 and new ambulance out of Station 2 (Ambulance 452).

Captain Brendan Parker

Woodstock Fire/Rescue District

Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Battalion 4

Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Battalion 4. Brendan Parker

Woodstock Fire/Rescue DistrictAmbulance 452

Woodstock Fire/Rescue DistrictAmbulance 452. Brendan Parker

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Historic Chicago 3-11 Alarm fire, 5-23-82

This from Steve Redick:

5-23-82, Conrad Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Avenue:
This was quite the event. As I recall this was an arson fire set by a prostitute over a payment dispute. It could have been a disaster. Higgins was in the 1st Battalion and he always got the crazy incidents when he was working. You can hear Art Benker in the office, and also a brief appearance by “Brush Fire Bill” as the commissioner. I think I might have heard Bob Raicia (yes sir senator) in the mix as well….

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Historic 5-11 Alarm fire with multiple LODD in Chicago, 2-7-68 (more)

This from Eric Haak:

The following are rare images of the Mickelberry fire on February 7, 1968. The first image is the only image I know that shows the building before the 3rd explosion which leveled the plant. If you can view this image in a larger format, you can clearly see the people waiting on the roof to be rescued. There is at least one truck parked in front without it’s aerial up and there appears to be a chief or two looking up at the men on the roof. There is also either a truck or engine arriving northbound on Halsted. Image 2 was badly scratched and still has quite a bit of damage. Image 3 shows the helicopter used by Chief Quinn to access the scene. Image 4 shows the gasoline truck in the alley after it had been cleared of rubble. Many of the other images are self-explanatory. The last is damage that occurred to one of the rigs on scene.

early photo of the Mickelberry fire in Chicago

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

click image for large download

Chicago FD Snorkels work during the Mickelberry fire

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

vintage Chciago Police Department helicopter

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

tanker truck after explosion

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

classic Chicago firefighters at work from SS1 and SS2

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

Chicago Fire Commissioner Richard J. Quinn and Mayor Richard J. Daley

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

Chicago Fire Commissioner Richard J. Quinn and Mayor Richard J. Daley

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

aftermath of Mickelberry fire in Chicago

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

Chicago fire truck destroyed by fire

Eric Haak collection, photographer unknown

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Elgin Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

For Elgin Fire Assistant Fire Chief Robb Cagann, Saturday was a special way to celebrate the Elgin Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary. 

The Fire Barn No. 5 Museum’s open house Saturday showcased the department’s history as part of the celebration of the day it began exactly 150 years earlier.

Cagann credited the museum board with building the collection housed in the early 1900s fire barn. The volunteer museum board takes care of the fire engines and all the memorabilia, he said.

Elgin Fire Department was established on September 16, 1867, and the all-volunteer force worked out of a building at 9 N. Spring St., according to a brochure the department created. The city’s first company, the Elgin Hook and Ladder Company, had a hose wagon and two horses to serve 5,441 residents, it stated.

Fire Station No. 5 was built in 1903 to 1904 at 533 St. Charles Street. By 1904, the fire department had 5 fully staffed fire barns with three hose wagons, two combination hose/chemical engines and horse-drawn engines, according to the museum. It was decommissioned in 1991, later becoming a fire museum, officials said. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, the brochure states.

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St Charles Fire Department history

Excerpts from at the St Charles History Museum online:

The LaFayette Fire Company, the first organized fire department in St. Charles, was chartered in Kane County on March 18, 1842.  Fifty-six members signed the charter and paid a $25 subscription fee. This followed a fire in February 1842 that destroyed several three-story buildings, including that of the St. Charles Patriot newspaper, on the northeast corner of First and East Main Streets. 

From 1842 to 1852, the Fire Company operated with buckets and hand tools; it was a bucket brigade of volunteers that formed a line to pass buckets of water from the Fox River to fight fires. In 1852, they obtained a four-wheel pumping engine from Chicago, as well as a hand-pulled hose cart.

During the 1800’s, the Fire Company was unable to get the City to finance a fire station, so it rented various spaces to store its equipment and moved many times. In 1857, the City authorized the repair of a small barn next to Brett’s Cabinet Shop for storage of the Lafayette Fire Co.’s equipment and fire engine. The barn was utilized until 1870 when the City sold the building. Once again, the Fire Co. began renting spaces. The equipment began to fall into disrepair, and the hand pumper was sold for salvage.

click the link above to see the complete historical information

thanks Dan

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