Archive for August 28th, 2019

St Charles Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

St Charles Fire Department Lt. David Chmelar and firefighter/paramedics Chad Tinsley, Mike Pyzyna, and Brandon Paus were honored at a city council meeting for heroic actions on June 30. The group received the city’s Unit Citation Award, given to members of a fire or medic unit for their exceptional performance or coordinated group action.

Crews typically respond to a few water rescues a year, but Chmelar said he had never experienced anything as dangerously close to the dam. When the call came in at 1:21 p.m., firefighters knew time would be of the essence based on the location of the disabled boat, just north of the Carroll Tower apartment building. The motor failed, the anchor wasn’t holding, and the boat was drifting toward the dam.

By the time they reached the stranded boat, a storm had picked up and winds had gotten stronger. They tied off quickly, helped the three passengers into their boat, and started back up the river, leaving the disabled boat behind. Roughly 40 seconds later, it tumbled over the dam and capsized.

Forty seconds. That’s how much time elapsed between the rescue and the moment their disabled vessel plunged over the dam. The firefighters safely transported a couple and their teenage son to shore amid the downpour and heavy winds.

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Box Alarm house fire in Des Plaines, 8-16-19 (more)

Two-part video from Larry Shapiro of the Box Alarm house fire in Des Plaines, 8-16-19


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Norwood Park Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

Dave Blondell, a longtime member of the Norwood Park Fire Protection District, was sworn in as the new chief Monday in a ceremony at the firehouse in Harwood Heights. He has been serving as acting chief of the department, which serves Norridge, Harwood Heights, and Norwood Park, since former chief Terrance Vavara resigned in May. Blondell will earn an annual salary of $130,000.

He his 7-year-old son Bodie pinned his new badge alongside his wife, Erin, and 12-year-old daughter, Sydney.

Blondell joined the department in 1993 as a paramedic student, became a paramedic assigned to an ambulance the next year, and served as a firefighter and paramedic from 1996 to 2006. In 2006, he became a lieutenant, a role he served in until 2011 when he moved to commander. From 2017 until May of this year he served as deputy chief. He has also served as the department’s public information officer and as president of Norwood Park Fireman’s Association IAFF Local 4210.

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Lemont Fire Protection District news

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Lemont Fire Protection District Chief George Rimbo has submitted a letter of retirement from the district effective August 30, 2019. The Board of Trustees accepted the letter with gratitude and appreciation for his time and dedication during a 31 year career with the district.

Chief Rimbo began with the Lemont Fire District on April 8, 1988 as a paid-on-call firefighter and was hired full-time on August 21, 1989. During this time, he continued his education and was promoted to lieutenant on November 1, 1994, battalion chief on October 5, 2009 and  fire chief on July 18, 2013. He has seen the district grow from one station and 1,000 calls a year with a paid-on-call response, to 4,100 calls from four stations with 54 full-time firefighter/paramedics plus a support staff of seventeen. As fire chief, working together with the present Board of Trustees and the district employees, the fire district has achieved financial stability, created new administrative positions, maintained positive labor management relations, and began the process of becoming an accredited agency with the Center for Public Safety Excellence. Chief Rimbo compliments the hard work and dedication of all district employees who together make up a team providing outstanding service to the public. 

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