Archive for March 1st, 2021

Mattoon Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Former Mattoon Fire Department Chief Oren Lockhart passed away on February 28, 2021. He began serving Mattoon in 1973 and moved up in ranks of driver, captain, chief, and director of fire safety before retiring in 2002. 

He helped developed the original Coles County Dive Team. On the Mattoon Firefighters #691 Facebook they said, Lockhart’s legacy has been carried on and will continue to do so. 

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New used engine for the Roberts Park FPD

Found at

2009 Seagrave Marauder II Pumper 

  • Mileage: 51,573
  • Engine Hours: 5,964
  • Cummins ISM 435 HP Diesel Engine
  • Allison 4000EVS Automatic Transmission
  • 750 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
  • Hale QMAX150 1500 GPM Side-Mount Pump

Former Mansfield FD (MA) fire engine finds new home

thanks Martin

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Double fatal fire in Chicago, 2-28-21

Excerpts from

A 10-year-old girl and her mother are dead after an early morning house fire in the 8600-block of South Hermitage in Gresham Sunday. Relatives identified the victims as Ieashia Ford and her 10-year-old daughter Porsche. The pair were sleeping when someone set the house on fire, according to the family.

Four others were also hospitalized in the aftermath, including the mother’s boyfriend and two cousins. All of them are expected to recover from their injuries as both the fire and police departments continue to investigate the cause of a fire that family members believe was anything but accidental. Chicago firefighters worked to save the six people inside, but only four made it out.

Mixed in with the shock, however, is concern that the fire may have been intentionally set, taking place hours after an argument between the mother and an acquaintance relatives said had been harassing her. “He was sending her text messages and threatening her,” said family member Felicia White. “That he was going to set her house on fire.”

While an arson unit was on the scene Sunday morning in the hours following the fire, investigators at this point, are refusing to elaborate and still call the incident a death and fire investigation.

From CFD Media on Twitter:

8624 s Hermitage. Working fire with 6 transports EMS plan 1. Two of the victims extremely critical to Little Company of Mary. All adults. No smoke detectors heard

aftermath of fatal fire in Chicago

CFD Media photo

Update: Sadly we update the EMS report from 8624 Hermitage. The critical transports to Little Company of Mary are now deceased. We do not have ages yet, one may be younger than first thought. (Langford)

Update: one of the victims from 8624 Hermitage is identified as a girl about 12 years old . The other victim is an adult.

Update:Hermitage fire. The 4 adults taken to Christ Medical center are expected to recover. The two patients taken to Little Company of Mary have died. Both are females one about 12 the other in her 30’s. No cause on the fire yet. OFI is on the scene.

fire investigator and dogs at fire scene

CFD Media photo

Fire safety team will work the area of 8624 Hermitage with detectors and information at 10 am today.

Crews passing out smoke detectors & safety information near the fatal fire on 86th and Hermitage. Please check the batteries on your smoke detectors because the extra time they provide in a fire is invaluable. (4-1-10)

Firefighters provide smoke detectors to residents

CFD Media photo

Special Agent Mitch Kushner, veteran Zoe, and new recruit GG from the State Fire Marshal’s Office are assisting the investigation of the fatal on 86th & Hermitage to determine cause and origin. (4-1-10)


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New truck for Park Ridge FD (more)

From the Pierce Flickr site:

Pierce, Park Ridge, IL, 35247-1

Pierce Enforcer Ascendant tower ladder

Pierce composite

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Evanston Fire Department History – Part 12

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department

By the Summer of 1903, Evanston’s population stood at 21,621, not including the turkeys Capt. Carl Harrison was raising in the basement of Fire Station #3. 

Meanwhile, two fires within four days of each other in March 1904 resulted in close calls for three Evanston firefighters. In the early morning hours of March 10  Capt Jack Sweeting was overcome by smoke while battling a blaze at the Blanchard flats at Grove & Oak, and wass rescued by Capt. Carl Harms and fireman William Pruter. Then a few minutes later, Harms suffered broken ribs when he fell through the floorboards and landed in the basement. Four days later, “blind pig” proprietor Mary Kelly and her daughter jumped out of a second floor window and into the arms of a passing citizen as fire swept through her residence (tavern) at 503 Chicago Ave. Rookie fireman William Ludwig was found unconscious inside the tavern, before being pulled to safety by other firefighters. All injured men recovered and returned to duty.  

Two months later, a late night fire swept through the B. B. Noyes coal & feed store at 1003 Church Street. The fire had to be attacked from the exterior using multiple hose lines — including three lines supplying water to the new Eastman Deluger — because of the fear that coal and grain dust might explode. While firefighters were able to eventually contain the blaze to the structure of origin, water pressure was increased in mains to more than two times normal residential pressure, causing damage to plumbing in some Evanston residences.

The city council received complaints from several prominent Evanston residents who criticized the fire department’s tactics (use of direct plug pressure), but Chief Mersch explained that unless and until additional steam fire engines were acquired and placed into service, the use of plug pressure and increasing pressure in water mains to fight fires must continue. 

Chicago Fire Department Captain Norman Holmes (company officer of CFD Truck Co. 20) replaced Ed Mersch as chief of the Evanston Fire Department in May 1905, after Mersch was fired by Mayor John Barker. Holmes served as chief of the EFD for only seven months, however, before taking a job in the private sector as Fire Marshal of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Chief Holmes’ tenure with the Evanston Fire Department was marked by controversy, and his leaving so soon after his appointment probably had as much to do with the hostile reception he received in Evanston as it had to do with an opportunity to work for Sears.

The problem Holmes had as chief had nothing to do with his competence. Rather, South Evanston residents saw former Chief Ed Mersch as one of their own, and felt that he had been fired for purely political reasons (which was probably true). Though it was Mayor Barker who had sacked Mersch, the residents of South Evanston directed their anger and resentment toward Holmes, making life very difficult for the new chief. Soon after his arrival, a group of South Evanstonians initiated legal action to have the appointment overturned, on the grounds that Holmes had not been an Evanston resident for one year before the appointment.

This issue was resolved when it was decided by a court that the one-year residency rule only applied to individuals running for political office, and not to political appointees. But even with the court ruling in his favor, Holmes had had enough of Evanston politics. Meanwhile, another member of the EFD left for greener pastures, as veteran fireman (and chief’s buggy-driver & secretary) Edwin Whitcomb was appointed chief of the Kewanee Fire Department in October 1905. 

One notable improvement implemented by Holmes before he resigned was the introduction of 1-1/2 inch hose lines and smaller nozzles, which were used extensively by the Chicago Fire Department when he was a company officer there. The smaller-diameter hand lines were easier to carry and would help reduce water damage to property when fighting smaller interior fires.

Holmes also lobbied for the establishment of the new civil service rank of Assistant Chief Fire Marshal, whose duties would include company officer of Engine Co. 1 as well as acting chief if the Fire Marshal was absent from the city or otherwise unavailable. Capt. Jack Sweeting was promoted to the new rank of assistant chief in July 1905.   

On December 13, 1905, two Evanston firemen were killed while battling a fire at the Mark Manufacturing Company plant at 1900 Dempster St. Then a little over a year later, on Sunday, December 23, 1906, a workman was killed in an explosion at the Northwestern Gas Light & Coke Company (“gasworks”) at Clark & Maple. The man (Isaac Terry) made the fatal mistake of dumping burning ashes into a tar and coal pit. The fire that followed the explosion required eight hours and nearly a million gallons of water to extinguish, as the EFD was assisted by the Wilmette Fire Department (responding aboard their brand-new horse-drawn Seagrave  “combination truck”) and two Chicago engine companies.

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