Archive for October 24th, 2018

Chicago Fire Department news

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A South Side man is being held in the Cook County jail nearly three months after authorities say he went on a high-speed, tequila-fueled joyride that killed a retired Chicago Fire Department commander and his wife.

Doran Sims, 30, has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol causing death in the early morning crash on July 29. Police said he was seen weaving back and forth on 103rd Street before plowing his vehicle into a car driven by Richard Biehl and his wife Susan. The impact caused the Biehls’ vehicle to flip onto its roof. 

Biehl was retired from the Chicago Fire Department where he served for more than 30 years. He and his wife left behind several children and grandchildren. Biehl started work at the CFD in 1985 and retired in late 2012 as an ambulance commander. In the 1970s he had also volunteered with the Crestwood Fire Department where he grew up.

Sims, who allegedly told investigators on the scene that he had been drinking tequila prior to the fatal collision, had a history of driving problems. According to state records his license was suspended at the time of the crash in July. He had failed to obtain insurance as required by state law and his driving history showed several other traffic convictions dating back to 2013, for violations that included speeding.

Sims was critically injured in the crash and taken to University of Chicago Medical Center where he underwent treatment for weeks. Upon release, authorities took him into custody last week on the DUI charge. He was being held Tuesday on $50,000 bond and still in custody, according to Cook County jail records.

The Biehls are among 852 people who have died in Illinois highway crashes so far this year, a number that is actually down from a year ago. One of every eight fatal crashes involves a driver who shouldn’t legally be behind the wheel, as was the case with Sims, who didn’t have a valid license.

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Richton Park Fire Department news

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A 75-year-old woman was pronounced dead soon after being pulled from a house fire Monday in south suburban Richton Park.

Firefighters responded to the blaze about 4:45 a.m. in the 4400 block of Maple and found the fire had spread to multiple rooms of the single-family house, Richton Park Fire Chief Rodney Wilson said.

Joanne Dahlman, who lived at the home, was located and taken out of the house. Paramedics attempted CPR, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. The Cook County medical examiner’s office said she died from carbon monoxide toxicity and her death was ruled an accident.

A firefighter was injured when he slipped while fighting the fire, but had been treated and released from a hospital as of Tuesday. No other injuries were reported.

A cause for the blaze was not immediately known. An investigation by the state’s fire marshal was ongoing, but there was no reason to believe the blaze was suspicious, Wilson said.

The fire took about three-and-a-half hours to put out and the house was deemed uninhabitable, Wilson said.

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Chicago Fire Department news

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A 56-year-old woman was critically injured in a fire early Wednesday morning on Chicago’s South Side. She was trapped inside a smoky home in the 5600-block of South Racine Avenue. Firefighters spent about 40 minutes battling the fire in the single-family home, which caught fire just after 1 a.m.

Tyrone Powell escaped the fire. He said the woman who was critically hurt is his landlord. He said his grandkids were sleeping when the fire broke out and he was alerted to the danger when his daughter came knocking on the door. They were able to get all of the children out safely.

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Naperville Fire Department news

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Four firefighter/paramedics in Naperville started working eight-hour shifts this week as part of a staffing plan designed to get more people on duty when they’re needed most.

The typical firefighter’s schedule is 24 hours on the job and 48 hours off. That’s not changing at the Naperville department, which operates 10 stations with a daily minimum of 42 firefighter/paramedics.

But now four members are working 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in what Chief Mark Puknaitis calls a power shifting program. The shift transfers personnel into the daytime, when Naperville’s population spikes with workers the department fields 54 percent of its 14,600 annual calls.

With more than half of all calls coming during one eight-hour span, Puknaitis said it makes sense to increase the staff, while still keeping the union-negotiated minimum of 42 on hand during the other 16 hours of each day.

On Monday, the first day three senior firefighters and one new hire worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the department fielded an unusually busy 50 calls. The new staffing allowed the department to run two additional ambulances.

On the first day the power shift was in place, Puknaitis said he got three voicemails from other departments looking to learn about the approach. Especially because he was named president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Puknaitis thinks the idea will have legs.

John Sergeant of the Naperville Professional Firefighters Local 4302 said members may want the 40-hour workweek to attend more kids’ events or family holidays, or to take a break from the bodily demands of working 24 hours straight.

Those accepting the eight-hour shifts will make a one-year commitment. Those with most seniority will be given priority each year during a union bidding process for who will fill the spots. The new staffing plan is not designed to cut costs but to keep them stable. The four firefighters switching to the shifted hours will continue to be paid their regular salaries.

thanks Dan

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