Archive for February 6th, 2022

House fire in Wheeling, 2-5-22

This from Larry Shapiro:

Wheeling and Prospect Heights firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire last night (2/5/22) at 8:15 p.m. RED Center upgraded the alarm to a Working Fire prior to the arrival of fire units after receiving multiple calls about a fire at 326 Renee Terrace. At the time of this fire, Wheeling Engine 42 was covering part of Lake Zurich due to a Box Alarm there. They responded to the fire in Wheeling from Lake Zurich.

Wheeling Ambulance 23 was first on the scene reporting heavy smoke and visible flames. All occupants were out of the house. There was a hydrant directly in front of the house with access partially blocked by excess snow near the driveway. Firefighters made entry through the front and darkened the visible flames in short order.  Heavy smoke persisted for several minutes as they extinguished the rest of the fire.

Companies on the scene included all Wheeling units, Prospect Heights Engine 39 and Battalion 9, Buffalo Grove engine 26, Mount Prospect Engine 14, Niles Truck 2, North Maine Engine 1 and Battalion 1, Des Plaines Truck 61, and Arlington Heights Ambulance 2 who transported one resident to the hospital.

#larryshapiro;;; #WheelingFD; #housefire

Larry Shapiro photo

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

New engine for the Dekalb Fire Department

From Bill Schreiber:

Thank you and congratulations to the Dekalb Illinois Fire Department on signing a contract with Rosenbauer for twin demo pumpers. Rosenbauer Commander 70” 11”, raised roof, Cummins L9 450HP, 1500-GPM QMAX pumps, 750-gallon water tanks, 30-gallon Class B foam tanks.
#rosenbaueramerica; #BigRedR; #FireTruck; #DekalbFD;

click to download

Tags: ,

House fire in Lake Zurich, 2-5-22

From Jimmy Bolf:

Lake Zurich house fire 2/5/22 – at 1066 Memory Lane

Firefighters at fire scene

Jimmy Bolf photo

Tags: , , , ,

Evanston Fire Department history Part 59

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department

Prior to 1953, Evanston operated with a mayor / city council form of government that had been established after the Village of Evanston annexed the Village of South Evanston and formed the greater City of Evanston in 1892. Under this form of governance, the chief fire marshal, the police chief, the superintendent of streets, and all other city department heads ran their respective departments as they saw fit (albeit within the confines and restrictions of the civil service system), reporting only to the city council and the mayor.

However, beginning in 1953, Evanston transitioned to a so-called “weak mayor” / council / city manager form of government, in which a city manager was appointed by the city council to run the city like a CEO would run a Fortune 500 company  The city manager was seen as an apolitical technocrat whose main task was efficiency. He or she was expected to “cut fat” and “do more with less.” The city manager established the annual budget for each city department, and then the department head would run the department with the city manager’s oversight. Evanston’s first full-time city manager was Bert Johnson.

In 1956, EFD Chief Henry Dorband recommended the acquisition of two new 1,000-GPM / 300-gallon triple-combination pumpers to replace the two aging 1937 Seagrave 750 / 80 TCPs that were in service as Engine 23 and Engine 24, and a new 85-foot tractor-drawn aerial ladder truck to replace the 1937 Seagrave 65-foot aerial ladder truck running as Truck 23. The city manager and city council agreed with Chief Dorband’s recommendation for the two new pumpers, but not for the new TDA. The city council authorized a budget appropriation for two new pumpers, and the city advertised for bids.

Seagrave was awarded the contract in July 1957, agreeing to supply two 70th Anniversary Series 1,000-GPM pumpers, each to be equipped with a 300-gallon water tank and an extra-large hose-bed, and powered by a V-12 engine. Seagrave’s winning bid was $43,900 ($21,950 per pumper), and while Seagrave did get the contract, both Pirsch ($44,900) and American LaFrance ($45,150) came very close. Mack’s bid was $10,000 less than Seagrave’s, but it did not meet specifications.

Unlike the six pumpers acquired by the EFD 1937-52, the new rigs were specified to have an open cab, with no rear-facing bench seating and no booster hose-line. While they had no booster line, the new Seagrave pumpers did have considerably more room in their hose beds than did the EFD’s older front-line pumpers, allowing the new rigs to carry twice as much 1-1/2 inch hose, but with the same 2-1/2 inch hose-load carried on the older pumpers.

There were two rear outlet ports on the new pumpers for pre-connecting leads of 1-1/2 inch hose line that allowed for a faster fire attack, plus room on the front bumper for a lead of soft suction supply hose pre-connected to a front intake port that could be rapidly hooked up to a hydrant. Also, the 300-gallon water tanks on the new Seagrave pumpers had significantly more capacity than did the 80 and 100-gallon tanks on the older Seagrave and Pirsch front-line pumpers and the 50-gallon tanks on the reserve 1927 Seagrave pumpers.  

The new Seagrave pumpers arrived in February 1958, and were placed into service as Engine 23 and Engine 24. The two 1937 Seagrave pumpers that had been running as Engine 23 and Engine 24 were placed into reserve at Station # 3 (Engine 27 – ex-E23) and at Station # 4 (Engine 28 – ex-E24). The 1927 Seagrave Standard pumper (Engine 27 – ex-E5) that had been in reserve at Station # 4 since 1952 did not pass its pump test in 1957, and so it was dismantled for spare parts to keep the other 1927 Seagrave pumper (Engine 26 – ex-E2) that was in reserve at Station # 5 running for a few more years.

There was no increase in the EFD’s firefighting force when the 56-hour work-week was implemented in April 1957, so a Police – Fire Cooperative Plan was concocted by City Manager Johnson in 1958 that would cross-train police officers as auxiliary firefighters. The cross-trained police officers would patrol in three station-wagon ambulances, and would respond to inhalator calls, ambulance runs, and fires, in addition to their more-traditional policing duties, like issuing parking tickets and traffic citations.

The police department had provided ambulance service in Evanston since 1897, first with a horse-drawn wagon, and then with an automobile truck beginning in 1916  The fire department provided inhalator service beginning in 1913, with Engine Co. 1 and then later Squad 21 responding to inhalator calls with the police ambulance. Prior to 1958, there was just the one ambulance, and it was parked in the police station garage and staffed when needed by two station officers. Having three police station-wagon ambulances on patrol 24/7 was definitely something new!   

Under City Manager Johnson’s plan, 17 police officers would be hired and then cross-trained as firefighters, with five or six assigned to each police patrol shift, and with at least three on duty at all times. At a fire, the police officers would help carry and position ladders, lead-out hose lines, open up hydrants, and occasionally man a 2-1/2 inch line on the exterior. Police officers would usually not be involved with roof ventilation or an interior fire-attack, because they were supposed to remain available to provide first aid and transport injured firemen to the hospital.  
Johnson maintained that hiring police officers instead of firemen and then cross-training the police officers as firefighters would more than make up for the cuts in fire department staffing that resulted from implementation of the 56-hour work-week, while also increasing revenue for the city, because the cross-trained police officers could issue parking tickets and traffic citations when they weren’t at a fire. However, unlike some municipalities that combined police and fire departments together as a single public safety department, Evanston’s firemen would NOT be cross-trained as police officers.

As one might expect, IAFF Local 742 was vehemently opposed to a plan that hired police officers to work as auxiliary firefighters instead of just hiring more firemen, but there was nothing the union could do to stop it from happening. Chief Dorband hated the plan so much he refused to implement it and abruptly retired (in lieu of being fired). 64-year old Assistant Chief James Geishecker replaced Dorband as chief fire marshal on March 31, 1958, and he did implement the plan. Chief Geishecker was a 38-year veteran of the EFD, and had been a platoon commander since being promoted to assistant chief in 1948.   

Geishecker and Dorband had joined the EFD at about the same time (Dorband in 1919, and Geishecker in 1920), and they were good friends. However, they had different priorities as chiefs. Chief Dorband had been committed to an increase in shift staffing and upgrading apparatus, equipment, and facilities, but Chief Geishecker’s passion was training, which made him the perfect choice to oversee the training of police officers as firefighters. Geishecker also had some familiarity with police operations, because his older brother Peter had been Evanston Police chief prior to his death in 1953.   

Once they were trained as firefighters, the police officers were assigned to three 1958 Chevrolet station-wagon ambulances (Car 31, Car 32, and Car 33), equipped with a stretcher, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher. A fourth station-wagon ambulance (Car 34) was kept as a spare. A 1958 GMC panel truck (Squad 17) was parked in the police station garage, and was staffed by a police desk sergeant who responded to fire calls with turnout gear, barricades, rope for crowd control, and other equipment and supplies for the police officers working at the fire. 

The Chevrolet station-wagon ambulances were replaced by International-Harvester Series-C Travelall ambulances in 1961, and new Chevy, Ford, Rambler, Dodge, or Plymouth station-wagon ambulances were placed into service every two or three years after that, until the EFD took-over ambulance service in 1976.

Tags: , , , , , , ,