Archive for October 31st, 2022

Of interest … Boston firefighters helping out

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A high school student from the Boston neighborhood of Roslindale got the perfect Halloween costume to complement his wheelchair on Friday. Jose Bello suffers from muscular dystrophy, which leaves him wheelchair-bound, but he also loves firefighters. 

This Halloween, his mother reached out to a company called Magic Wheelchair to get her son a costume. Much to her surprise, the company, along with the Boston Firefighters Local 718, made her son a firetruck costume complete with lights and sirens. 

“When I heard of Magic Wheelchair and saw the incredible work that they have done especially for MDA families, I knew I wanted Jose to have this experience as well,” said mother Stephanie Bello. 

She filled out the application and said he wanted a fire truck.

“For as long as I can remember Jose has always admired and loved firefighters,” Stephanie said. “Jose talks about how brave firefighters are and how strong they are and how he wants to be just like them.” 

The Muscular Dystrophy Association, the local firefighters union, and Magic Wheelchair all said events like Friday’s are important to raise awareness about the disease. 

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Fatal fire in Hanover Park, 10-30-22

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Sunday, a fire was reported at approximately 3:52 p.m. in a residence in the 7300 block of Thornwood Street in Hanover Park. Two children were inside the home at the time of the fire and managed to escape.

When firefighters arrived, they found flames pushing from the back bedroom and smoke coming from the roof. Once crews were able to extinguish the fire, they entered the home and found a woman, who was pronounced dead.

The woman who died was identified as Jovenica Valencia, 83, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The two firefighters sustained minor injuries and were expected to fully recover.

While the fire is believed to be accidental, an investigation remains ongoing.

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Decatur Fire Department news (more)

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On Saturday, community members were invited to walk through Decatur’s Fire Station 3 one last time during an open house organized by History of the Heartland, a sponsor of community events highlighting historic preservation and stories of Macon County structures and people.

Several current firefighters stopped by the open house to reminisce. The amount of work and the size of the building were what made the station a popular house for the firefighters. Mark Allen, a retired firefighter that worked at the station in the past, displayed several pieces of fire memorabilia during Saturday’s event including equipment and uniforms that dated back nearly 60 years.

The station was one of the older and smaller fire houses in Decatur before the city began building larger facilities a few years ago. Firefighters moved to their new location around the corner on Fairview Plaza a year ago.

A local businessman is in the process of purchasing the nearly 100-year-old building. Although the location and aesthetics of the station were enticing, he will be changing several details. The lower level will be expanded 45 feet into the lot west of the building. Other buildings he owns are being used for construction materials and business-related items, so he plans to store several of his vehicles in the old fire station. Plans for the upper level will include three executive-level apartments. 

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