Archive for April 15th, 2021

Chicago Fire Department history

This from Austin Lawler:

I came across this slide show of some of the different dogs at CFD firehouses, on the Vintage Tribune instagram page. I thought maybe some of the readers would find this interesting. 

The Chicago Fire Department announced today that it will no longer allow dogs at firehouses after a firehouse dog killed a family pet near a fire station. In remembrance, VintageTribune pulled together photos from years past of firehouse dogs and their firefighter owners.

vintage Firefighter and firehouse dog wearing a helmet

Vintage Tribune instagram photo

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Chicago Fire Department news

From CFD Media on Twitter:

Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt joined Engine Co. 127, other CFD members, and the Singleton family in ringing the bell to honor fallen Firefighter/EMT Edward Singleton. One year ago on April 14th, COVID-19 took Edward from us but he will never be forgotten.

Thank you Edward Singleton for your service and dedication. Rest in peace.

Thank you Edward Singleton for your service and dedication. Rest in peace.

CFD Media photo

Thank you Edward Singleton for your service and dedication. Rest in peace.

CFD Media photo

Thank you Edward Singleton for your service and dedication. Rest in peace.

CFD Media photo

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North of the border … fatal crash

This from Asher Heimermann:

The Caledonia Fire Department responded to Wisconsin State Highway 32 and Botting Road for a motor vehicle accident with injuries on Wednesday, April 14th.     

Arriving police officers found four vehicles were involved in the crash. Preliminary investigation revealed a silver Chevrolet pickup was traveling south on Highway 32 and crossed into on-coming traffic in the northbound lanes. A  black Ford traveling north swerved into a guardrail to avoid a collision. A northbound Toyota pickup was struck head-on by the Chevrolet and a Nissan SUV then struck the Toyota in the rear.
Due to the severity of the damage, the Caledonia Fire Department needed to extricate victims from their vehicles. The drivers of the Chevrolet and the Nissan were transported by rescue units to Ascension All-Saints in Racine for minor injuries. The Toyota’s driver  was transported to a local hospital but was later flown by Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.
The Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit responded to assist with the investigation. 
The deceased has been identified as a 63-year-old man from Caledonia.  The driver of the Chevrolet was as a 33-year-old man from Milwaukee. 



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Working fire in Waukegan, 4-14-21

Excerpts from

Two dogs were killed and seven people left homeless after flames destroyed a two unit house in the 500 block of McAlister Avenue in Waukegan overnight Wednesday.

Firefighters arrived to find fast-spreading flames that took hours to put out. Two firefighters received minor injuries.

The people who were living in the home are being assisted by the Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

house fire in Waukegan

Max Weingardt photo

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Palos Fire Protection District history

This from Mike Summa for #TBT:

For TBT- Palos FPD Engine 6323, a 1985 Pierce Dash 1250/750.
Mike Summa
Palos FPD history

Mike Summa photo

And from our archives:

Palos FPD history

Bill Friedrich photo

Palos FPD history

Larry Shapiro photo

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Evanston Fire Department History – Part 19

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department

The Importance of Being Earnest 

Even though the $10,000 auto-truck fire engine bond issue was approved by Evanston voters in April 1910, the Evanston City Council took more than a year to purchase the truck. Aldermen wanted a so-called “triple-combination pumper” with a pump, hose supply, and soda-acid fire suppression equipment all in one vehicle, so as to eliminate as many horses as possible.

The only bid received was from the Robinson Fire Apparatus Manufacturing Company, which was one of the major manufacturers of automobile fire apparatus at the time. While Robinson combination pumpers were already in service in places like Long Beach, CA, Wichita Falls, TX, Billings, MT, and Ashtabula, OH, there was some concern within the city council that Robinson might not be able to meet the required specifications, since the company had never built a triple-combination pumper before.      
EFD Chief Carl Harrison and the three members of the city council’s fire committee visited the Robinson factory in St. Louis during February of 1911. The visit was apparently a positive one, because on May 16, 1911, the city council signed a contract with Robinson, agreeing to pay the Missouri company $9,000 for a triple-combination automobile pumper equipped with a 2nd size triple-cylinder piston-pump, a 50-gallon soda-acid chemical tank with a red-line (chemical) hose reel, and two 25-foot extension ladders. The EFD would provide the hose load and minor equipment like fire extinguishers, nozzles, hose clamps, etc. 

Known as the “Jumbo” — Robinson’s other impressive-sounding models included the “Invincible,” the “Whale,” the “Monarch,” the “Vulcan,” and the “Master,” — the apparatus was powered by a six-cylinder, 110-horsepower Buffalo marine engine, and featured a front-end hand-cranked starter, a right-side steering wheel, solid rubber tires, rear-wheel chain-drive, two-wheel mechanical brakes, and a hose bed of polished teak like one might find on a sail boat. Additionally, two ten-foot sections of hard-suction hose were strapped to the sides of the truck, each resting just above the front fenders, behind the headlights. Also, several kerosene lanterns were hung from the outside of the apparatus, and a bell was mounted in front of the steering wheel on top of the cowl. As was common for the time, the truck had no windshield.

The auto-truck was fast, powerful, versatile, cheaper to operate than horses, and designed to be manned by a half-dozen firemen or more, prompting the Evanston Index newspaper to enthusiastically describe it as “an entire fire department in itself!”

The Jumbo built for the City of Evanston, was Robinson’s pride & joy, so much so that it was displayed and demonstrated at the International Association of Fire Engineers Convention in Milwaukee in September 1911. Although the idea of combining a pump, hose supply, and chemical fire suppression system in the same gasoline-powered vehicle probably sounded crazy to most fire chiefs of the day, the Jumbo was said to have impressed many convention visitors. Evanston Mayor Joseph E. Paden and Aldermen John W. Branch, Howard M. Carter, and James R. Smart traveled to Milwaukee on September 20th to meet with Robinson representatives and arrange for delivery of the apparatus.

The fire engine arrived in Evanston during the first week of October 1911, and was road-tested over a three-day period starting on October 3rd. A Robinson engineer named Earnest Erickson drove the five-ton Jumbo up and down the streets of Evanston, reaching a mind-blowing top-speed of 35 MPH. Holding on for dear life, Evanston aldermen Branch, Carter, and Changelon and two engineers from the National Board of Fire Underwriters (NBFU), Dr. F. A. Raymond and Kenneth Lydecker, rode along on the test drive. The road-test was terminated early due to an overheated crankcase bearing, but otherwise it was deemed a smashing success. .

The Robinson Jumbo passed capacity and pressure pump tests supervised by the two engineers from the NBFU at Becker’s Pond — now known as Boltwood Park —  on Monday, October 23, 1911, successfully pumping 750 gallons of water per minute at 110 pounds per square-inch through two 2-1/2” hose-lines fitted with 1-1/4” nozzles. So the pump was officially certified as 750 GPM, rather than the typical 700 GPM of a 2nd size steam fire engine.  

The apparatus was accepted by the Evanston City Council on November 14th, and went into service as Motor Engine No. 1 ten days later. The motor engine’s first alarm was a chimney and roof fire at a residence at 319 Ridge Avenue in the early-morning hours of Saturday, November 25, 1911. The fire was discovered by Chicago FD Engine Co. 102, which had responded to Ridge & Howard for a report of smoke in the area, and the boys from 102 assisted Evanston firefighters in battling the blaze. Six months later, Engine Co. 102 would get the CFD’s first gasoline-powered automobile combination pumper, a 650 GPM Webb. 

Evanston Fire Department membership was expanded from 31 to 34 men at this time, including two newly created civil service positions, that of motor driver and assistant motor driver, which were equivalent in pay to the engineers and assistant engineers assigned to the EFD’s two steam fire engines. Specifically, motor driver was defined as a combination driver, pump operator, and mechanic. The assistant motor driver was defined as a combination driver and pump operator only. 

Only one member of the EFD circa November 1911 — fireman and motorcycle daredevil Arthur McNeil — was able to pass the civil service exam for assistant motor driver. Nobody could pass the exam for motor driver, so the city hired Robinson engineer Earnest Erickson and his trademark duster and derby hat as a temporary civilian motor driver, but only until such time as an Evanston firefighter could pass the civil service test for motor driver. Erickson would end up spending the next six years as the driver of Motor Engine No. 1.

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