Archive for category Fire Service News

Buffalo Grove Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from a letter to the editor at the

Your editorial criticizing Buffalo Grove Firefighter Kevin Hauber’s pension award shortchanged the subject of occupational diseases in firefighters. The pension board’s decision was based on Illinois law, and your editorial showed disregard for that law and the medical evidence behind it.

Hauber’s death to colon cancer is not an anomaly among veteran firefighters. Extensive scientific research shows compelling evidence that specific cancers — including colorectal cancers — are strongly associated with firefighting. That evidence is a result of extensive university studies as well as that of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The editorial also neglected to recognize other critical medical factors: Hauber’s age, family, personal health history, and genetic testing showed he was not a colon cancer risk. Rather, an overriding environmental risk for the 23-year veteran firefighter was cited as evidence of increased risk to colorectal cancer.

Any attempt at empathy for his widow and children was negated by the contention that the pension vote was a misguided gesture. Indeed, it is irresponsible to ignore Illinois law while criticizing the pension board.

Illinois law governing presumptive disability states, “The type of cancer involved must be a type which may be caused by exposure to heat, radiation or a known carcinogen as defined by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.” Furthermore it says that the cancer must “arise as a result of service as a firefighter.”

Hauber was exposed over 23 years to soot, asbestos and formaldehyde. The IARC identifies them as primary carcinogens associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Not every firefighter succumbs to the ravages of colon cancer, just as not all airline mechanics get sucked into jet engines. But a reasonable person takes time to read scientific evidence and why it is incorporated into state law.

— Pat Devaney, president, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, Springfield

thanks Dan

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Excerpts from

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its annual U.S. Firefighter Fatalities report, which showed a total of 60 U.S. firefighter fatalities while on duty in 2017. This number represents the lowest total reported since 1977, when NFPA began reporting on-duty firefighter fatalities; it is the sixth time in the last seven years that the total has been below 70 deaths.

Of the 60 fatalities, 32 were volunteer firefighters, 21 were career firefighters, three were employees of federal land management agencies, two were contractors with federal and state land management agencies, and two were prison inmates. Deaths among career and volunteer firefighters were both at their second lowest totals in 2017.

The 17 deaths that occurred at the fire scene represents the second-lowest number of fire ground deaths since the study’s inception, and the second consecutive year that the number has been below 20.

In most years, the second largest share of on-duty firefighter deaths occurs while firefighters are responding to or returning from emergency calls. In 2017, however, the second largest share (11 deaths) occurred at the scene of non-fire emergencies: five were operating at motor vehicle crashes; three were at incidents with wires down; one was at the scene of a downed tree; one was investigating an odor in a structure; and one was checking on a possible flooding condition during a storm. Ten of the 11 were struck by passing vehicles and one suffered sudden cardiac death.

In 2017, 10 firefighters were struck by vehicles, which is far higher than the average of four deaths a year over the previous 30 years.

Overexertion, stress and medical issues accounted for more than half of the deaths in 2017. Of the 32 deaths in this category, 29 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks), two were due to strokes and one was due to complications from a recent medical procedure that developed while the victim was at work. The 29 sudden cardiac deaths in 2017, with onset while the victim was on-duty, represents the fourth time in the last six years that the toll has been below 30, but still accounts for almost half of the deaths while on-duty.

A comprehensive study that enumerates all duty-related deaths in a year is not yet possible to accomplish.

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Of interest … Firefighter saves couple from carjacking

Excerpts from

Around 10 a.m. Thursday, Cicero Firefighter Joey Matthews was on the engine with his co-workers when he saw an elderly couple being carjacked.  “I jumped out of the rig and started running towards the car,” he said. “And as soon as I did the gentleman jumped out of the car and started booking for the alley.”

Matthews says he saw smoke and smelled gun powder.  He believes the suspect could have fired a round as the engine pulled up. The suspect ran through yards and Matthews lost sight of him.

When he was 4-years-old, his dad, Chicago Police Officer John Matthews was killed in the line of duty.  He was beaten to death by a mob in the Hegwisch neighborhood on the Southeast Side. He said his dad would “think I was an idiot for chasing a guy with a gun while I’m not armed.”

Cicero police responded quickly but the suspect got away. The couple was not hurt and Matthews is thankful they did not lose their car.

thanks Dan

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Cancer in the fire service (more)

Excerpts from the

A bill, which has passed the Senate and is in the House of Representatives, calls for the creation of a national firefighter cancer registry. The registry would be managed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The registry would compile the incidences, make anonymous data available to researchers, and allow for increased collaboration between firefighters, experts and those investigating the links between the profession and the illnesses. The House of Representatives is expected to pass amended legislation in the coming weeks.

Research that has found a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers including testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers. Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins such as asbestos and flame retardants that are linked to cancer.

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Buffalo Grove Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Buffalo Grove’s Firefighters Pension Board on Monday reiterated its findings that the January death of a firefighter from colon cancer was job-related and his family deserves his full pension as a result.

The finding, initially made in March, would grant the family of Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Hauber his full salary of $101,000 annually, instead of a lesser amount had his death been ruled unrelated to his job.

Hauber, who had worked as a Buffalo Grove firefighter since 1994, died earlier this year after a four-year battle with cancer, leaving behind his wife and four young daughters. He was 51.

Pension board President Dan Pasquarella said the panel looked into Hauber’s history in making its decision to find the death was related to his job.

“We did not have one specific incident to tie it to,” he said. “The final say is with the pension board. So we determined it was a line-of-duty death. (The village board) can appeal it. They would have 35 days once we mail the report to them.”

Village manager Dane Bragg said the village has not yet decided whether to appeal the finding in court.

“I would reiterate what we stated after the initial hearing. We were not sure that the pension board’s ruling was consistent with state law,” he said Monday.

Bragg said the village will have its attorney review the findings and then likely discuss it in closed session with the village board.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Area Firefighters’ Memorial Service

Excerpts from the

Firefighters may be brave and fearless heroes to young children, but in real life, they’re just regular human beings whose minds and bodies are subjected to unimaginable trauma and stress, Carpentersville Fire Chief John Paul Schilling said in his keynote speech Saturday at the at the Elgin Area Firefighters’ Memorial Service. 

Firefighters and fire officials from around the area gathered at the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum this weekend for the ceremony, which is intended to honor firefighters who have died in the line of duty, as well as those who have died in the last year.

In his speech, Schilling said studies show firefighters are exposed to more traumatic stress in a single 24-hour shift than the average American experiences in a lifetime. He decided to use the opportunity to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among firefighters after hearing about the staggering statistic.

“In 2017, there were 103 documented firefighter suicides in America, whereas there were 93 line-of-duty deaths,” Schilling said. “This statistic is staggering. The fire service and firefighters alike are known for their resilience in the face of adversity. The fire service is known for problem recognition and determining solutions to save lives. I ask you, ‘What if you can make a difference? If not you, then who?’”

“The International Association of Firefighters and NBC New York recently conducted a study that showed 81 percent of firefighters surveyed across the nation fear that they will be seen as weak if they admit to having something that bothers them mentally,” Schilling said. “Eighty-seven percent said they believe the stigma in the fire service of not recognizing mental trauma creates a barrier for those seeking help.”

Firefighters, and their families, need to talk about post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health to break down the stigma, Schilling said.

In addition to the keynote address, Saturday’s memorial service featured traditions including the reading of “The Last Alarm” poem, prayers by Elgin Fire Department chaplains Roger Pollock and Ed Hunter, as well as a bagpipe performance by Nolan Ryan. The names of firefighters, chiefs and fire commissioners who died in the last year were announced, and a bell rang in their honor.

Those memorialized were: Robert Mydill, John Schoppe, William Tiknis and Norman Weaver, all of the Bartlett Fire Protection District; Todd Middendorf of the Carpentersville Fire Department; Ken Henryson and Harley Olson of the Elgin Fire Department; Albert Gehringer of the Hampshire Fire Protection District; Dave Carlson and Dan DeMay of the Hoffman Estates Fire Department; Curt Meyer of the Rutland Dundee Fire Protection District, and Ken Hunsaker of the West Dundee Fire Department.

This year’s memorial service included two new fire departments, Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District and St. Charles Fire Department. 

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Prospect Heights FD to sponsor Fully Involved

This from the Prospect Heights Fire District:

Prospect Heights is hosting FULLY INVOLVED with Mark vonAppen. If you are not familiar with the Fully Involved message the video will fill you in.

To register


Fully Involved leadership seminar for Firefighters

click on the flyer for a larger, downloadable file

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2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 5-7-18

This from Steve Redick:

Fire in a pallet company at 550 W. Root Street. All the images can be seen here:


Chicago FD Engine 49

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 5A

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Engine 50

Steve Redick photo

fire in a pallet yard

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Tower Ladder 39

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Tower Ladder 39

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Engine 29

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Engine 49

Steve Redick photo

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Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor awards ceremony

Excerpts from

Firefighters from across Illinois gathered in Springfield Tuesday to remember fallen firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Firefighters John “Mike” Cummins of the Homer Fire Protection District and Lawrence Matthews from the Village of Dolton Fire Department were honored for their heroic sacrifice during the 25th Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighting Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony. Their families were presented with the Duty Death Gold Badge by Fire Marshal Matt Perez.

Two firefighters were also presented with The Medal of Honor award during the ceremony. It’s the highest award given to firefighters by the state of Illinois. Lt. Eric Schrage from the Collinsville Fire Department and Paramedic Todd Zobrist from the Highland Fire Department/EMS were selected for demonstrating selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty.

Nine firefighters were honored with the Medal of Valor award. It is given by the state of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty. Recipients include:

• Capt. Daniel Whiteside, Alton Fire Department

• Firefighter Aaron Pihl, Belvidere Fire Department

• Lt. Shawn Schadle, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter Jeff Vaughan, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter Eric Claudio, Chicago Fire Department

• Lt./EMT John O’Brien, Chicago Fire Department

• Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Hoff, Downers Grove Fire Department

• Firefighter/Paramedic Scott Sohn, Downers Grove Fire Department

• Firefighter/Paramedic Quinn Triplett, Downers Grove Fire Department

Fourteen firefighters received the Firefighter Excellence Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Recipients include:

• Firefighter Mark Beck, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter James Kriebs, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter Jason Swanson, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter Nicolas Thornton, Belvidere Fire Department

• Captain Mark Zumbragel, Belvidere Fire Department

• Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Covelli, Downers Grove Fire Department

• Firefighter/Paramedic Kevin Schrader, Downers Grove Fire Department

• Paramedic Ty Barr, Highland Fire/EMS

• Firefighter Ben Bentley, Peru Fire Department

• Firefighter Alex Duncan, Peru Fire Department

• Lt. Neil Nadolski, Peru Fire Department

• Engineer Kris Ayers, Wood River Fire Department

• Engineer Bill Hall, Wood River Fire Department

• Firefighter Jamie Wells, Wood River Fire Department

In addition, six units received the Firefighter Excellence “Teamwork Unit Citation” Awards for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence, teamwork, and professionalism in service to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Recipients include:

• Blue Island Fire Department

• Broadview Fire Department

• Chicago Heights Fire Department

• North Chicago Fire Department

• Orland Fire Protection District

• Pana Fire Department, which was recognized for its actions during a April 2, 2017, fire in the 800 block of East Second Street. The fire claimed the lives of two children, ages 2 years and 3 months. Fire officials said the cause of the April 2 blaze appeared to be electrical.

One firefighter received the Certificate of Recognition which acknowledges those nominated for their dedication to the principles and traditions of the fire service, to the state and the community, with honor and integrity.

• Firefighter/Paramedic Mark Buettner, Bolingbrook Fire Department

thanks Dan

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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Launches Survey on Suicide Prevention Efforts

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s (NFFF) Everyone Goes Home® (EGH) program is conducting a needs assessment to build effective suicide prevention and awareness programs. 

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Launches Survey on Suicide Prevention Efforts

click on the document to download a larger copy

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