Archive for category Fire Service News

Fire service news

Excerpts from king5.com:

Keeping bedroom doors closed in your home when you go to sleep is critical in keeping your family safe. We used to have about 17 minutes to get out of our homes if a fire broke out. Because of open floor plans and more synthetics in our furniture, the window for escape is now down to just three minutes.

Joel Sellinger, an Everett (WA) fireman, sees it all the time. Twin 3-year-old girls survived an apartment fire earlier this year because their bedroom door was closed. He was on the scene and took photos of the damage. One picture clearly shows the scorched, blackened outside of their bedroom door. The inside portion looks almost untouched.

He has been unable to convince his young daughter to keep her door closed at night. So, he came up with something called Lifedoor. He worked with the Northwest Innovation Research Center to make it a reality. When a smoke alarm starts going off, Lifedoor hears that sound and triggers a device mounted to the bedroom door. The door closes automatically, a light is activated, and an alert is sent to your phone.

Sellinger’s invention is expected to cost less than $100 and be on the market in February. He says it’s already helping his family sleep better at night.

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Mattoon Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from jg-tc.com:

The Mattoon City Council voted Tuesday night to eliminate the city’s assistant fire chief position due to budgetary restraints and transfer the current assistant fire chief, Sean Junge, to fill a vacant shift captain post.

One council member said this post is being eliminated to help reduce the city’s budget deficit and to put another firefighter into the field to help meet union minimum staffing requirements. He and the mayor emphasized that the elimination has nothing to do with Junge who declined to comment after the meeting. The city administrator estimated that Junge’s annual salary will decrease by approximately 8 percent, not counting overtime, with the transfer to shift captain.

The council also heard concerns from residents about ambulance service coverage in Mattoon, including two accounts of Paris ambulances needing to be dispatched to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center to transfer patients to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Four residents spokes about ambulance coverage in Mattoon since the city eliminated the Mattoon Fire Department’s ambulance service on July 25 due to budgetary constraints. Private providers Dunn’s Ambulance and Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance Service are continuing to offer coverage in Mattoon.

The city has been making budget cuts as it faces a $750,000 deficit this year and the prospect of an even larger deficit next year. The city is facing growing pension costs and  expenses.

Residents who feel strongly about the ambulance issue were encouraged to form a committee to pursue a sales or property tax referendum for bringing back the fire department’s ambulance service.

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Downers Grove fire engine for sale

This from govdeals.com:

2000 Pierce Saber FIRE TRUCK, 8.7L L6 DIESEL. Vehicle starts and drives well. Pump testing completed last October. Can be driven from lot. Vehicle can be inspected Monday thru Friday 7am to 3pm at 700 Curtiss Street, Downers Grove Il.

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

2000 Pierce Saber fire engine from Downers Grove FD for sale

thanks Martin

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Fire service news

Excerpts from wgntv.com:

When Apple released its new watch about one year ago, it came with a new feature that lets users press and hold a button on the side of the device to call 911 for help. Since then, 911 call centers across the country have been experiencing a problem with accidental calls.

When you wear the watch and bend at the wrist, it can put pressure on the button which will then call 911. It takes about three seconds of pressing the button for the call to go out. It will also alert your emergency contact. The watch will then make a loud beeping noise. Some people don’t know that this feature has been activated on their device.

Officials in Lake County said these accidental calls are happening more than people may think.

Dispatchers said they’ve been receiving up to 10 accidental Apple Watch calls a day in Lake County alone. The calls come from people working out or even driving. Emergency call centers in Aurora and Kane County have reported the same issue.

Officials said if this happens to you, dispatchers will attempt to call you on your cellphone. They say to stay on the line and explain it was just a mistake so they don’t have to send help.

There is a way to disable the feature on an Apple Watch:

  • Go to the Apple Watch app
  • Click “Emergency SOS”
  • Click off “Hold Side Button”

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Family sues fire departments for wrongful death

Excerpts from the firelawblog.com:

The family of a man who died in a fire last year has filed suit against twenty-one Illinois fire departments and two chief officers claiming they failed to effect his rescue. Aric Evan Tashjian McClure died on August 4, 2017 in a fire that trapped him in a second floor apartment in Round Lake, Illinois. He was 33 years old.

Firefighters responded to the scene just before 5 p.m. and the fire was extinguished by about 8:30 p.m. However, because the building was considered too dangerous to enter, McClure’s body was not recovered until the following morning.

McClure’s estate filed the 140-page 52-count complaint in Lake County Circuit Court on August 2, 2018, just before the one year anniversary of the fire. Named in the suit as defendants are twenty-one fire departments, MABAS Division 4, Fire Chief Greg Formica and Fire Marshal Tony Breuscher of the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District, the building’s owner Scott Gothann, and Gothann’s son-in-law, Matthew Sheppard. Gothann and Sheppard were reportedly making plumbing repairs to the building when the fire broke out.

Here are the twenty-one departments:

  1. Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District
  2. Antioch Fire Department
  3. Highland Park Fire Department
  4. Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Department
  5. Town of Salem Fire/Rescue
  6. Buffalo Grove Fire Department
  7. Countryside Fire Protection District
  8. Libertyville Fire Department
  9. Grayslake Fire Protection District
  10. Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District
  11. Gurnee Fire Department
  12. Lake Forest Fire Department
  13. Lake Villa Fire Protection District
  14. Lake Zurich Fire and Rescue Department
  15. Mundelein Fire Department
  16. Newport Fire Protection District
  17. Wauconda Fire Protection District
  18. Waukegan Fire Department
  19. McHenry Township Fire Protection District
  20. Nunda Rural Fire Protection District,
  21. Spring Grove Fire Protection District

The suit alleges wrongful death and negligence. Quoting from the complaint:

  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, with knowledge that Plaintiff’s decedent, Aric Evan Tashjian McClure, had not been located and might still be in the burning Subject Building, this defendant failed to assess and investigate the area of the Subject Building where Plaintiff’s decedent, Aric Evan Tashjian McClure, would most likely be located and was last seen, which was his second-story apartment;
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, this Defendant consciously disregarded the numerous and repeated statements by neighbors, from the decedent’s mother, Beatrice Charmian Tashjian, and other witnesses, that Plaintiff’s decedent was unaccounted for, was last seen in his apartment and believed to still be trapped in his apartment on the second-story of the Subject Building, which was on fire;
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, and with knowledge and information that Plaintiff’s decedent was likely still located inside the burning Subject Building, this Defendant failed to perform an adequate primary search of the Subject Building, and particularly the second story apartment rented by Plaintiff’s decedent;
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, and with knowledge and information that Plaintiff’s decedent was likely still located inside the burning Subject Building, this Defendant failed to perform a search of Plaintiff’s decedent’s second floor apartment from the exterior of the building by extending available ladders up to one or both of the second-story exterior windows, which provided direct access to the apartment occupied by Plaintiff’s decedent;
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, and with knowledge and information the Plaintiff’s decedent was likely still located inside the burning Subject Building and specifically in his second-story apartment, this Defendant failed to search for Plaintiff’s decedent from outside the building by extending available ladders up to one or both of the exterior windows to his second-story apartment, by breaking the windows and using axle handles, pick poles and other equipment to sweep the apartment floor to search for Plaintiff’s decedent;
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, this defendant intentionally, consciously, and recklessly completely disregarded the direct requests and pleas of Plaintiff decedent’s mother, Beatrice Charmian Tashjian, to put a ladder up to the exterior window of Aric’s second-story bedroom where Tashjian advised this Defendant and others that she had last seen Aric, and that he was taking a nap, and that she believed he was still in his bedroom, which was readily accessible from the exterior of the building by ladder at the time she requested that this Defendant search for her son from the exterior of the building; and
  • In violation of and conscious disregard for its basic training and standard operating procedures, with knowledge and information that Plaintiff’s decedent could not be located and more likely than not was still in the Subject Building, this Defendant failed to conduct a search of the entire building before leaving the scene on August 4, 2017.

The attorney for the estate, Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr., provided the following statement:

  • I fully support the courageous work that firefighters do, but we as citizens I believe also have a right to expect that if a building we are in catches fire, that our fire department will come and do its best to try to rescue us from the burning building, not just spray water on the fire, and then go home for the night. Aric McClure’s body was not even discovered until the next morning when the fire department returned to the scene.  And that was despite his Mother telling any firefighter who would listen during the fire the night before that she thought her son was still sleeping in his second floor apartment, where she had left him an hour earlier.

Here is a copy of the complaint: McClure v. Greater Round Lake Fire Prot District et al

Incidentally, one of the strongest defenses a fire department would have in a case like this, the public duty doctrine, was eliminated in Illinois in 2016 by what I consider to be a shortsighted decision handed down by the Illinois Supreme Court. Here is more on that decision. Note this is the second fire related suit I located this week naming an Illinois fire department as a defendant over a fire death.

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Illinois Task Force 1 deployed after Hurricane Florence

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

A team of 15 firefighters with the Illinois Urban Search and Rescue Team deployed to North Carolina after Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14. A federal disaster was declared for the state that day. The storm lingered for several days. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, and steady rains left many towns deep underwater. Emergency personnel from across the country were sent to help.

Illinois Task Force 1 is composed of firefighters from departments participating in a statewide disaster response program. Ten suburban firefighters were part of the North Carolina deployment. They came from Wauconda, Wheeling, Arlington Heights, Downers Grove, Morton Grove, Alsip, Matteson, Naperville, and Rolling Meadows. Firefighters from Chicago and Bettendorf, Iowa, were part of the task force, too.

The group departed Sept. 14 from the MABAS headquarters in Wheeling in a convoy hauling boats, generators, and other equipment. It arrived the next afternoon at an emergency operations center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was sent to a small town called Whiteville. The team reached Whiteville on Sept. 16 but was redeployed to Riegelwood, an unincorporated community closer to the coastline and near the Cape Fear River, which overflowed its banks because of the hurricane.

The local Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire Rescue station was running on a generator when the team arrived — and it was packed with people including several of the displaced firefighters’ families. A National Guard unit and other emergency response personnel set up in the station, too. 

The Illinois group got to work locating stranded residents and getting them to the fire station so they could be taken out of the area by the National Guard. The firefighters also distributed water, food and supplies, checked on people with health issues, and helped put tarps on the roofs of damaged houses.

They often traveled in a military surplus truck that carried an inflatable, motorized boat. When they reached a spot where the water was too deep for the truck, they launched the boat. Some houses were on dry land but surrounded by flooded streets and property. Others became submerged, some to the roofline.

Members of the local fire department accompanied them since they knew the area and the people — as well as the potential dangers from local wildlife. The work was long and strenuous. Fifteen-hour days were common, as were calls at night.

One day they rescued an older couple trapped in a submerged car that had been washed off a road. Firefighters broke a window and pulled the woman out of the car.

The Illinois task force returned home Sept. 26. 

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MABAS Division 1 water rescue demonstration

MABAS Division 1 water rescue demonstration

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37th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend

Excerpts from the Fredericknewspost.com:

Thousands of people from across the nation gathered in Emmitsburg this weekend to pay tribute to fallen firefighters.

The 37th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend was a chance for families, friends and colleagues to grieve and honor their loved ones killed in the line of duty. The names of each of the 80 firefighters killed in 2017, along with the names of 23 firefighters who died in previous years, were added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

Chief Dennis Compton, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation board chairman, welcomed the guests to the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg where the memorial is located. While many firefighters are uncomfortable with being called heroes, he said, the women and men who serve embody all the qualities of a hero — commitment, pride, courage and compassion.

“The men and women we are honoring today are not heroes because they died,” Compton said. “They became heroes to the people in their communities the day they signed up to be a firefighter. And you — their family and friends and co-workers — are also heroes because you supported their willingness to serve.”

During the service, the name of every firefighter was read aloud and a flag, badge, and rose was presented to family members or colleagues. Each of the 103 flags presented had been flown over the U.S. Capitol.

The names of the fallen firefighters will be added to the list of more than 5,000 present at the memorial, which was built in 1981. More than 1 million firefighters are currently serving throughout the United States.

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Sprinkler ordinance voted down in Geneva

Excerpts from the KaneCountyChronicle.com:

Geneva aldermen voted 8-1 on Oct. 1 to remove a requirement for fire sprinklers in all new residential construction in adopting an ordinance covering the 2015 editions of several international building codes including housing, swimming pools, spas, and energy conservation.

The most significant change in the International Residential Code would require all new one-family and two-family homes to be equipped with fire sprinkler systems,.

4th Ward Alderman James Radecki urged the council to discuss the issue, as he argued against adding the cost of sprinklers – $8,500 – to the price of house. Additionally, he said that Geneva averages about three house fires a year without injuries or fatalities, served by a well-equipped, well-trained fire department with two stations.

“We’re trying to keep our housing affordable,” he said. “It’s not prudent for us to mandate it at this time.”

4th Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan disagreed, saying many advocates for fire sprinklers included people who lost family members in house fires.

“Most new homes have open floor plan designs,” she said. “Fires spread very quickly. … New construction materials burn very quickly.” Sprinklers give residents a better chance to escape a fire safely and a fire is more easily controlled.

A local builder said in 35 years of homebuilding, no buyer ever asked for sprinklers to be installed. Another builder disputed the $8,500 price estimate for sprinklers, and said $20,000 to $30,000 was more accurate a cost.

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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Light the Night

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

click on the file to download a copy

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