Archive for March 14th, 2021

As seen around … Milwaukee

From Tyler Tobolt:

New Milwaukee HazMat 1

Pierce Enforcer haz mat unit

Tyler Tobolt photo

Pierce Enforcer haz mat unit

Tyler Tobolt photo

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New ambulance for Naperville

From the Foster Coach Sales website:

IHC/Horton Type 1 ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

IHC/Horton Type 1 ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

thanks Martin

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Evanston Fire Department History – Part 14

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department

The Aftermath: 

“It was said of George Stiles… as a fireman, none better… that he was one of the most-popular men in the Department… that he had a kind word for everyone…. so shall we not then cherish his memory, and think of these splendid men more highly than ever before?”  
— Dr. Wilkinson, Pastor of Wheadon Methodist Church, speaking at the George Stiles funeral, December 14, 1905 

At 9 AM on December 14, 1905, the day after the Mark fire, an Evanston Fire Department honor guard — Lt. John Watson, and firemen Henry Newton, Harry Schaeffer, and Walter Hubert — escorted the earthly remains of Fireman William Craig from his residence at 1924 Jackson Avenue to the Davis Street C&NW RR depot. A “fire helmet” of fresh cut flowers with Craig’s badge number “123” worked into the center of the arrangement was displayed atop the Engine 1 hose wagon that carried Craig’s casket. EFD Assistant Chief Jack Sweeting accompanied the Craig family to Knoxville, Illinois, where the deceased firefighter was laid to rest.  

At 2 PM on the same day, Evanston firefighters and town residents attended the funeral for Fireman George Stiles at Wheadon Methodist Church on Ridge Avenue. Dr. Wilkinson officiated. Pallbearers were Capt. George Hargreaves, Lt. Thomas Norman, Engineer J. A. Patrick, and firemen William Sumpter, John Eckberg, and John Reddick. Among those present at the service was former EFD Chief Norman Holmes. After the service, the Evanston Fire Department honor guard led the funeral procession (with the casket of deceased fireman Stiles aboard the same hose wagon used to transport William Craig’s casket to the C&NW RR dept earlier in the day) down Ridge Avenue to Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, where the fireman was laid to rest.

The next day (Friday December 15, 1905), with Stiles and Craig dead, firemen Ed Johnson and Thomas Watson still in the hospital, and Assistant Chief Sweeting in Knoxville, the undermanned Evanston Fire Department led by new EFD Chief Carl Harrison had a tough time battling a large fire at Lyons Hall at 621 Davis Street. Before it could be contained, the blaze caused heavy damage to the third floor and rear of the venerable structure, as well as significant smoke and water damage to the rest of the building.  

Built in 1868, Lyons Hall had served as a popular spot for political meetings, wedding receptions, dances and proms, and other events for almost 40 years. The first meeting of the aboriginal Pioneer Fire Company of Evanston took place at Lyons Hall in January 1873. The aggregate damage to the building was $12,000, including $8,000 to the structure itself, and an additional $4,000 in damage to a photographer’s studio, tailor shop, shoe store, fruit shop, and real estate office on the first floor, and to apartments on the third floor. 

In January 1906, Lt. Thomas Norman was promoted to Captain and replaced new EFD Chief Carl Harrison as company officer of Hose Co. 3, and Fireman William Sumpter was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 1. George Stiles was next on the promotional list for lieutenant, and so he would have been the new lieutenant if he hadn’t been killed in the Mark fire.  

Also in January 1906, the Evanston City Council approved a pay raise for all members of the Evanston Fire Department, except the chief. Included in the package was a $5 per month increase for the assistant chief fire marshal and the three captains, and a $2.50 per month increase for all other members.   

After becoming chief, Carl Harrison instituted wide-ranging training lectures for Evanston firefighters. Among the speakers were an architect and an electrical engineer. Harrison also proposed using rocket flares and balloons to facilitate communication between firefighters on the scene of an alarm and others still en route. In the days before radio communication, fire companies responding to an alarm could not be contacted prior to arriving at the scene, and then firefighters would have to hurry back to the firehouse in case an additional alarm was received while they were on the road. Although it might have sounded like a good idea at the time, Chief Harrison’s communication plan involving rocket flares and balloons was not implemented.  

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