Archive for February 27th, 2022

Beecher Fire Protection District updates

Beecher FPD decal





This from Chief Joseph Falaschetti Jr.:

 I wanted to provide you with some updated information for the Beecher Fire Protection District

  • 711 Penfield Street Beecher, IL 60401
  • The district is 56.1 square miles
  • 7 career personnel 44 part-time personnel
  • Radio frequency is still 154.2350
  • 1200 calls for service
  • Website
Beecher FPD Engine 44

Beecher FPD photo

Beecher FPD Tender 44

Beecher FPD photo

Beecher FPD Truck 44

Beecher FPD photo

Beecher FPD fire station

Beecher FPD photo

Beecher FPD fire station

Beecher FPD photo


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New engine for Peotone FPD (more)

From Bill Schreiber:

Peotone FPD Rescue Engine 14 Final Inspection

#BigRedR;; #rosenbaueramerica; #Commander; #PeotoneFPD; #FireTruck

Rosenbauer photo; #rosenbaueramerica; #Commander; #PeotoneFPD; #FireTruck

Rosenbauer photo; #rosenbaueramerica; #Commander; #PeotoneFPD; #FireTruck

Rosenbauer photo

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Evanston Fire Department history Part 63

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department



Assistant Chief Michael Garrity retired in 1962 at the age of 70 after 44 years of service with the Evanston Fire Department. Chief Garrity joined the EFD in 1918 after emigrating from Ireland, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1927, to captain in 1934, and to assistant chief in 1951. Along with Henry Dorband and Jim Geishecker, Chief Garrity helped guide the EFD through the 1950’s, after the retirements of long-time platoon commanders Tom McEnery and Carl Windelborn, and the deaths of Chief Albert Hofstetter and Assistant Chief J. E. Mersch. His Irish brogue was a signature voice on the EFD’s radio channel.

Capt Herb Claussen (35 years of service) and Capt, Roy Decker (20 years of service) also retired in 1962, Capt. George Beattie (a future chief) was promoted to assistant chief and replaced Michael Garrity as a platoon commander, and firemen Ed Majkowski, Richard Zrazik, and Robert Schumer were promoted to captain. New firemen hired in 1962 were Tom Linkowski, Raymond James, David Johnson, and James Mersch Jr. Both Linkowski and Mersch would eventually retire as division chiefs.

A fire gutted second and third floor apartments above the Maple Market grocery store at 1936 Maple Avenue in June 1963, resulting in $70,000 damage. The fire started on a rear porch and communicated to apartments on the second and third floors. The grocery store sustained extensive water damage, but Evanston firefighters were able to check the fire before it could communicate to residences to the west and businesses to the north. Several firefighters were overcome by heat while battling this blaze.

Capt. William Windelborn retired in April 1963, Fire Equipment Mechanic “Marvelous Marv” Hofstetter retired in July, and Fireman Ed Downey retired in August. The trio were among several men in their 30’s who were hired during WWII to replace younger members of the EFD serving in the military, and despite getting a late start, they each had a solid 20-year career as a firefighter. Fireman LeRoy Dullin was promoted to captain and replaced Capt. Windelborn as a company officer, and Fireman Ernie Bongratz replaced Marvin Hofstetter as a fire equipment mechanic. New firemen hired were James Drohan, John Bjorvik, Victor LaPorte, and Leo Ranachowski.

At about 5:00 PM on the afternoon of October 7, 1963, the Evanston Fire Department received a report of a fire at the American Hospital Supply Corporation plant at 2020 Ridge Avenue. Engine Co. 23, Engine Co. 21, Truck Co. 21, and Squad 21 responded, and what was initially a small fire on the loading dock spread quickly to the interior of the warehouse. F-2 immediately called for a second alarm, and Engine Co. 25 and Engine Co. 22 responded, with Engine Co. 24 and Truck Co. 22 transferring (changing quarters) to Station #1. Chief Geishecker (F-1) arrived and ordered a full “Code 10” (a call-back of all off-duty firefighters).

Engine 23 and Squad 21 pulled up to the loading dock and attacked the fire with two 1-1/2 inch pre-connects off Engine 23, while Engine 21 and Truck 21 parked on Ridge Avenue and entered the structure through a door on the east side pf the building, with Engine 21’s crew pulling a hand line through the door. Engine 25 and Engine 22 arrived within five minutes, with Engine 25 dropping two loads of 2-1/2-inch hose westbound down Leon Place, before grabbing the hydrant on the north side of the street across from the loading dock. Engine 25 then supplied Engine 23 with one of the 2-1/2-inch lines, and manned the other one.

Engine 22 backed-down Ridge Avenue from Foster Street, and laid two 2-1/2 inch lines, before taking the hydrant at the corner of Ridge and Foster. One of Engine 22’s 2-1/2 inch lines supplied water for Engine 21, and the other was manned as a hand-line by Engine 22’s crew. Truck 21’s aerial ladder was extended to the roof and the company initiated vertical ventilation to release the heat and smoke that had migrated to the second floor. Cross-trained Evanston police officers assisted on the fireground. While firefighters attacked the blaze, employees of the company carried out boxes and file cabinets full of valuable documents, placing them in the AHSC parking lot at Ridge & Leon, under police guard.

Chief Geishecker requested mutual aid from Wilmette and Skokie – the first time a fire department other than Chicago’s was requested to assist the EFD since 1906 — to provide coverage at Station # 1, which would allow Engine 24 and Truck 22 to respond to the fire. Other than the men assigned to liaison with the Skokie and Wilmette units at Station # 1, just about the entire EFD — including several men who were on vacation — were summoned to fight the conflagration.

Reserve Truck 23 (1937 Seagrave 65-foot aerial ladder truck) was manned by off-duty personnel at Station # 3 and was ordered to the fire, to provide truck tools and salvage covers for the dozens of off-duty firemen arriving on scene. Reserve Engine 27 (1937 Seagrave pumper – ex-E23) was manned at Station # 3 and responded to the fire, Engine 28 (1937 Seagrave pumper – ex-E24) was staffed by off-duty personnel from Station # 4, off-duty men arriving at Station # 5 manned Engine 26 (1927 Seagrave pumper – ex-E2), and some of the off-duty men arriving at Station # 1 responded to the fire aboard Squad 22 (1924 Seagrave high-pressure / hose truck – ex-T1 tractor). Off-duty men arriving at fire stations after the reserve rigs departed were transported to the fire via CD pick-up truck or FPB station-wagon (F-3).

The EFD took a beating battling the fire on the first floor, but the employees finally finished removing company documents, and firefighters thought they  might have it knocked-down. However, as firemen began to overhaul and do some salvage work, the fire unexpectedly re-appeared on the second floor, eventually charging the entire building with heavy smoke. With a concern that hazardous chemicals stored in the plant might explode, Chief Geishecker ordered firefighters out of the building. 

As the fight went defensive, Engine 24 backed-down Ridge Avenue from the south, leading-out lines used to supply Truck 21’s elevated master stream now set-up on the east side, before grabbing the hydrant at Ridge & Garnett. Truck 22 extended its aerial ladder on the west side to further ventilate the roof before deploying an elevated master stream from that location, as hand lines used when operating inside the plant were replaced with larger diameter hose lines and Squad 21’s portable monitors on the exterior.  

As the situation deteriorated, a firefighter was ordered to move Squad 22 to a position on the west side of the plant, where the rig’s powerful deluge turret would be set-up at the loading dock. The high pressure wagon’s three-inch “fireboat hose” would be connected to Engine 27, which was being set-up to pump from the hydrant at Ridge & Simpson. Leon Place was an old brick street at that time, and as Squad 22 came rumblin’ and backfirin’ down the hill from Ridge Avenue, it appeared that the brakes may have gone out, because the driver couldn’t stop the rig before it ran over a charged hose line, causing it to burst and sending a geyser 30 feet into the air.

A chief came running up to the man who was driving the rig and started yelling at him, which made it even more of a clown show for the hundreds of spectators standing nearby. It was like watching a Laurel & Hardy movie. By the time another supply-line could be led-out and connected, the fire had gained more headway, and the plant was lost. The high-pressure wagon was parked off to the side for the balance of the fire, and was later towed back to Station # 1. The $1.9 million in damage would stand for more than twenty years as the highest property loss from a fire in Evanston’s history. 

Several firemen sustained career-ending injuries while battling the blaze. Chief Jim Geishecker suffered a disabling stroke, went on extended medical leave, and then officially retired when he turned 70 in February 1964, after 43 years of service with the EFD. Capt. George Jasper (27 years of service), Capt. Hjalmar Okerwall (21 years of service), and Fireman Arnold Windle (20 years of service) retired immediately after the fire. Capt. Ronald Ford (38 years of service) retired a few months later, and Capt. Harold Dorband and Fireman John Steinbuck were unable to return to active duty and took disability pensions in 1964.

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