Archive for June, 2018

Rockford Fire Department news

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A veteran in the stateline is a proud winner of a 2018 Ford F-150. Rockford Firefighters Local 413 raises money so it can buy cars for wounded vets and this year’s lucky recipient is Ryan Curry.

Ryan was injured in Iraq in 2006 when his unit hit an I.E.D and was ambushed. He started a group for veterans with PTSD called “Beneath the Beard” and dedicates his time giving back to the community. He says that this new car will help him reach more people in the area.

Rockford Firefighters Local 413 are hosting a special game at the Rockford Rivets Stadium this Friday night and will sell special jerseys for Wheels 4 Warriors.

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Cancer in the fire service

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More than a year after a Houston firefighter died of cancer, her husband is fighting for benefits he says his wife earned. Margaret Roberts loved being a Houston firefighter. She did it for more than 21 years until her cancer-ravaged body simply couldn’t do it anymore. After a long fight with multiple myeloma, Margaret died in January 2017.

Three months after her death, Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena wrote a letter to the state pension system swearing, “Her death was a result of an illness sustained in the line of duty.” In a letter to the 100 Club after that, Pena again wrote that Roberts’ passing was “Declared a Line of Duty Death.”

Both letters would entitle Roberts’ surviving husband and children to benefits paid by groups other than the city of Houston. But when it comes to paying workers comp survivors benefits out of city funds, the city is hauling Roberts’ grieving family back before a workers comp judge. Despite losing the case for health benefits when Roberts was alive, the city wants to fight again on the same issue, claiming her multiple myeloma isn’t related to her firefighting work, but instead her race, weight, and family history.

Roberts’ own occupational medicine doctor declared in 2013, “In my professional opinion, Margaret Roberts’ multiple myeloma is work-related.”

The International Firefighters Union recognizes a link between multiple myeloma and firefighting. Four states specifically link cancer to firefighting. Scientific studies in 1983, 2001, 2006 and 2015 all suggest an increased or significantly elevated risk for firefighters getting multiple myeloma.

But Texas doesn’t recognize those studies, choosing instead to follow a United Nations-linked recommendation that doesn’t explicitly link the specific cancer to firefighting. The city refused to comment pending the lawsuits.

Roberts’ case is one of the first to go through the state’s workers comp system in which firefighters assert a link between cancer and fighting fires.

It is a growing issue across the country.

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Cancer in the fire service (more)

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The IAFC thanked Congress for final passage of  the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act (H.R. 931), groundbreaking legislation which will create an anonymous, voluntary registry for firefighters at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In order to facilitate this research, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would create an anonymous, voluntary registry for firefighters at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data would include important information about the firefighter’s medical history; demographic information; number of incident responses and years in service; whether the firefighter was career or volunteer; what other jobs the firefighter might have had; and other risk factors. In addition, the registry would include under-represented types of firefighters, such as women and minorities.

Medical researchers would be able to use the information from this registry and compare it to information in state cancer registries to examine the relationship between firefighting and cancer. The purpose of this national registry will be to help researchers reduce the occurrence of cancer in our nation’s fire and emergency service. 

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Of interest … Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

From the National Fallen Fighters Foundation – for NASCAR fans who might be traveling to Dover, DE

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Lake Zurich Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

A 27-year-old man died Monday morning after his SUV crashed into a tree and caught fire in Kildeer. Police responded around 6:30 a.m. to the area of Quentin Road and Hidden Valley Road after receiving a report of a man who had veered off the road and crashed into a tree.

Before police arrived on the scene, a person who witnessed the crash pulled the driver from the burning vehicle, which later ended up being engulfed in flames. The man then was taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and later was pronounced dead. Authorities are not disclosing his identity, pending notification of next of kin.

Kildeer police received assistance from the Lake County Sheriff’s office, as well as the Hawthorn Woods and Lake Zurich police departments. The Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team is overseeing the investigation and reconstruction of the crash, Balinski said.



Loves Park Fire Department news

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The Loves Park city council is considering bolstering its volunteer fire department with a daytime crew the city hopes can improve response times that are twice those of the neighboring North Park Fire Protection District.

Loves Park’s approximately 35 volunteer firefighters now respond from their homes when calls come in, a practice fire officials say explains their slower response times. To cut down on the time it takes to reach a fire, the city will work toward having three firefighters, along with two supervisors, staff its 400 Grand Ave. station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., perhaps as early as August.

The firefighters would be paid $12 to $20 an hour depending on their experience. Because they would average 28 hours a week, there would be no health insurance benefits to finance. The move would cost the city up to $200,000 annually.

A review of response times for the first three months of the year shows Loves Park’s average response time was 15.2 minutes, compared with 6 minutes for neighboring North Park, which covers the southern half of Machesney Park and portions of unincorporated Winnebago County. Response times didn’t differ much by time of day.

Hiring the day crew would increase the fire department’s annual budget by 33 percent, pushing it to $1 million a year.

They were 27 minutes to 7349 Chucks Way and 24 minutes to both 12414 Kings Point Dr. and 5625 Covey Ridge Trail.

The three-month review also showed the benefits of a new auto aid agreement struck in February between the Loves Park and North Park fire agencies. Average response times dropped to 13.3 minutes in March, compared with 17.6 minutes that same month of February and 15.3 minutes in January.

Even with the North Park partnership and the addition of a day crew, Loves Park’s logistics challenges will be far from over. The mayor wants the city to build a new fire station estimated to cost about $5 million to continue working on response times near Mercyhealth Sportscore Two and the Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center under construction at the junction of East Riverside Boulevard and Interstate 90.

Because Loves Park doesn’t levy a property tax, its options for financing are limited to bonding or going to the voters for some form of tax revenues that would finance the construction.

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Chicago Fire Department news

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After more than 30 years with the Chicago Fire Department, Quention Curtis had grown weary of the discriminatory hiring practices that have cost the city nearly $92 million in settlements since 2008. Race and sex discrimination lawsuits have for decades dogged a department that didn’t welcome its first female firefighters until 1986, and which has discrimination lawsuits pending from as recently as 2016.

On Saturday, black firefighters from across the city will converge for a ribbon-cutting at their new clubhouse, 8404 S. Kedzie in the Ashburn neighborhood. In February, Curtis, bought the longtime home of the Gaelic Fire Brigade. The Irish firefighters group put the building on the market last summer.

It’s a place for fellowship and support when confronted by departmental racism. It’s a place from which to mentor black youth, a place where more young black men and women can be helped to prepare for and pass the firefighters exam.

A few hundred black firefighters are expected Saturday. The brigade will unveil its Memorial Wall, honoring the 13 black firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

Two awards will be presented — one honoring the most recent badge on that wall. Corey Ankum, 38, was killed Dec. 22, 2010, fighting a fire at a vacant South Side building where a roof and wall collapsed. Also killed was firefighter Edward Stringer, 47.

The inaugural Corey Ankum Leadership Award will go to his son, Torey Ankum, 8.

The second award is named for Arthur “Lee” Lewis, Jr., who brought the 1998 class-action suit over the city’s discriminatory handling of a 1995 firefighters entrance exam. In a 2011 settlement, the city agreed to hire 111 bypassed black firefighters and pay $78.4 million to nearly 6,000 who never got that chance, including Lewis.

The first to receive that award is Eric Washington, a black firefighter who in 2016 rallied his peers to collect and deliver thousands of cases of water to Flint, Mich., after the water there became poisoned with lead.

“This is bigger than us. It’s about our neighborhoods, our kids who are dying in the streets,” he said. “We have a responsibility to expose as many young black men and women to the fire service as possible, let them see us, bring them in, prepare them to pass the exam. The black community suffers for lack of exposure.”

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Of interest … CFD FF/EMT Juan Bucio

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Joshua and Jacob Bucio, sons of Chicago Fire Department Diver Juan Bucio delivered the game ball at the White Sox game Friday night.

Bucio died in late May while trying to rescue a missing boater who had gone overboard on the South Branch of the Chicago River. 

He is survived by his sons Joshua, 10, and Jacob, 7. The Chicago White Sox invited them onto the field Friday night before their game against the Oakland Athletics.

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Still & Box Alarm fire in Chicago, 6-24-18

This from Tim Olk:

Chicago Still & Box Alarm Fire 4600 S Wood 2 1/2 Store Frame W/Exposure To A 3 Story frame

heavy smoke vents from attic of house

Tim Olk photo

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New ambulances for Chicago (more)

This from Eric Biel:

I know there have been a few posts tracking the delivery of the new Chicago ambulances on the Ram 3500 chassis. The first of these appear to now be in service – Ambulance 31 is shop # C-252. 
Eric Biel
Chicago FD Ambulance 31 Ram 3500 chassis

Ambulance 31 is shop # C-252. Eric Biel photo

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