Archive for January 28th, 2022

House fire in Wheeling, 1-26-22 (more)

This from Larry Shapiro:

Here’s a brief video of the House fire in Wheeling, 1-26-22


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New engine for Peotone FPD (more)

From Bill Schreiber:

#BigRedR; #rosenbaueramerica; #FireTruck;

Rosenbauer photo

#BigRedR; #rosenbaueramerica; #FireTruck

Rosenbauer photo

#BigRedR; #rosenbaueramerica; #FireTruck;

Rosenbauer photo

#BigRedR; #rosenbaueramerica; #FireTruck;

Rosenbauer photo

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New truck for Norwood Park FPD

This from Danny Nelms:

Update from macqueen on the new Norwood Park mid mount aerial

Norwood Park Fire Department
Job: #36069 | Illinois | Velocity 100′ Mid Mount

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Evanston Fire Department history Part 57

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department



The Evanston Fire Department battled two major fires just north of the downtown “high value district” in 1956. The first blaze gutted Orchid Cleaners at 1811 Benson Avenue in January, and the second swept through the Motoport garage at 1851 Benson Avenue in September. Although the two fires occurred a block apart and within eight months of each other, they were not related.

Evanston firefighters worked for the better part of a day to extinguish the stubborn fire at Orchid Cleaners. Companies from Station # 1 were on the scene within three minutes, but could not knock the blaze down. A second alarm was struck bringing in additional companies, and the off-duty platoon was eventually called-in to provide relief for the men working at the fire, and to staff reserve apparatus. Damage was estimated at $75,000.

A combination parking garage and service station, the Motoport was located on the site of what had previously been the Flossy Dental Supply Company (destroyed by a fire in 1926), at the southeast corner of Benson & Emerson. Downtown Evanston merchants and their employees could park at the Motoport while at work, and residents living in the area who wanted a secure place to park could leave their vehicles in the garage overnight. Attendants were on duty 24/7, and could service a vehicle while it was there.

The blaze began as a vehicle fire inside the garage, before communicating to the structure itself. At the height of the blaze, thick black smoke poured from the building, as the gasoline pumps, the service bay, and one car after another caught fire. Because of the threat of explosion, the vehicles parked inside could not be saved. Train service on the nearby CTA Evanston line had to be temporarily halted because motormen could not see past the smoke. Damage to the Motoport and the vehicles parked inside was estimated at $150,000, making it the fourth highest loss from a fire in Evanston’s history up until that time.

Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Mullaney saw the Motoport fire on the local TV news, and offered to send the CFD’s two chemical rigs that were designed to extinguish gasoline fires to help quell the blaze. EFD Chief Dorband declined the offer, however, because by the time it was received the fight had already gone defensive, and nothing could be saved.

The Chicago FD had provided assistance to Evanston on numerous occasions going back to 1883, but as of 1956, the CFD had not been requested / invited to respond into Evanston since the N. U. Technological Institute conflagration in 1940, when three CFD engine companies assisted the EFD.

While the Evanston Fire Department had provided assistance to Wilmette, Skokie, Winnetka, Morton Grove, and Lincolnwood on many occasions over the years, EFD chief officers held a low opinion of the neighboring suburban fire departments, and had not requested mutual aid from any fire department other than Chicago’s since 1906.

“Civil Defense” became a part of many U. S. fire departments in the 1950’s, and to that end, the Evanston Fire Department took delivery of a fully-stocked rescue trailer and a U. S. government-surplus WWII-era Willys MB Jeep from the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA)  in 1954.

Painted white with a blue roof, the rescue trailer was equipped with sophisticated radiation detection equipment, radiation proximity suits, gas masks, dozens of fully-stocked first-aid kits, collapsible canvas gurneys, asbestos blankets, body bags, sand bags, shovels, hand tools, flashlights, a battery-powered two-way short-wave radio, and other gear that might be useful if a nuclear bomb was dropped on Chicago. The equipment carried in the trailer could also be useful in response to a mass casualty event like a tornado. The trailer was kept in ready-reserve at Fire Station # 1 for twenty years, but fortunately it was never needed.

Painted “CD blue,” the jeep was equipped with a trailer hitch and was supposed to pull the rescue trailer, but the trailer and its contents proved too heavy for the little jeep to pull. The jeep was used for a couple of years as a utility vehicle by the EFD mechanics, and then was transferred to the Evanston Community Golf Course in 1957, where it was used for several years by the golf course ranger.

Needing a more-powerful vehicle to pull the rescue trailer, the City of Evanston received a grant from the FCDA and purchased an International-Harvester R-140 pick-up truck in 1956. The pick-up was painted fire engine red, with red & green warning lights salvaged from one of the old dismantled Seagrave rigs. The only identification on the vehicle were the iconic CD stickers on the doors and tail-gate. It was not equipped with a siren or a radio, so it did not have a radio call-sign. 

Because the rescue trailer was in actuality pulled only once a year when it was part of the North Evanston Fourth of July parade, the pick-up truck was mainly used by EFD mechanics to run errands, by the drillmaster when conducting training exercises, and to transport firefighters, air bottles, gasoline cans, rock salt, sand bags, barricades, beverages, sandwiches, and other supplies from Fire Station # 1 to the scene of a fire or other major incident. It served as the EFD’s utility vehicle for 18 years.

In addition to the Civil Defense vehicles received in 1954-56, the EFD also took delivery of four new staff cars, including a Chevrolet Nomad station wagon and a Chevrolet Bel-Air sedan in 1955, a Chevrolet 210 station-wagon in 1956, and a Ford Fairlane station-wagon in 1957. One of the Chevy station wagons (F-2) was assigned to the platoon commanders, the other Chevy wagon (F-3) and the Chevy sedan (F-4) were assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau, and the Ford station-wagon (F-1) was assigned to Chief Dorband.

Assistant Chief William Murphy retired in November 1956, after 29 years of service with the Evanston Fire Department. Capt. Lester Breitzman replaced Chief Murphy as commander of the Fire Prevention Bureau, and Fireman George Beattie was promoted to captain, replacing Capt. Breitzman as a company officer. New firemen hired in the latter half of 1955 and through the conclusion of 1956 included Richard Brunk and Donald Melzer (August 1955), LeRoy Dullin (September 1955), James Marsh (March 1956), Frederick Nelson (November 1956), and Howard Lindeman (December 1956).

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