Archive for category Fire Service News

Trash compactor fire in Buffalo Grove, 3-7-17

Buffalo Grove firefighters were called to 2500 Millbrook Drive Tuesday afternoon (3/7/17) for fire in a trash compactor against a loading dock. The fire was contained to the dumpster outside the building but smoke permeated the warehouse. The fire department requested a wrecker to pull the dumpster away from the building so they could access the material inside. After soaking down what they could get at, an unsuccessful attempt was made to dump the contents to insure there was no additional fire.

The address is along the border with Lincolnshire, and lines were pulled from Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Truck 51 which was first on the scene.

heavy wrecker moves dumpster

Larry Shapiro photo

dumpster fire alongside a building

Larry Shapiro photo

blowhard fans at fire scene

Larry Shapiro photo

Lincolnshire-Riverwoods FPD Truck 51

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighter with hose dousing dumpster fire

Larry Shapiro photo

Ernie's Wrecker Service heavy wrecker

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighters with hose dousing dumpster fire

Larry Shapiro photo

Buffalo Grove FD Engine 26 E-ONE Typhoon

Larry Shapiro photo

heavy wrecker lifts dumpster

Larry Shapiro photo

more photos are at

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STIHL Recalls Chainsaws Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

MS 461 Product Safety Recall | STIHL USA Mobile


February 23, 2017

STIHL Recalls Chainsaws Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

View full press release here.

Recall Summary

Name of Product: STIHL gas-powered chainsaws

Hazard: The fuel line can leak, posing fire and burn hazards.

Remedy: Repair

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled chainsaws and return them to an authorized STIHL Dealer for a free inspection and free repair.

Consumer Contact: STIHL Inc. at 800-233-4729 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email or online at and click on Information and then Product Recalls for more information.

Recall Details

Units: About 100,000

Description: This recall involves STIHL MS 461 gas-powered chainsaws, and the MS 461 R chainsaw with a wrap handle. The model number is on the model plate, located on the starter cover. The chainsaws are gray and orange with “STIHL” on the engine cover. Recalled chainsaws have a serial number between 173092800 and 181993952, under the front hand guard on the engine housing’s sprocket side.

Incidents/Injuries: STIHL Inc. has received 117 reports of pinched or leaking fuel lines. No fires, property damage or injuries have been reported.

Sold at: Authorized STIHL Dealers nationwide from July 2012 through December 2016 for about $1,000.

Importer: STIHL Inc., of Virginia Beach, Va.

Manufacturer: ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG

Manufactured in: Germany

thanks Scott


3-Alarm brush fire in Pembroke Township, 2-20-17 (more)

Excerpts from the

A drone hovered in the air Monday as about 100 firefighters from Kankakee, Iroquois, and Will counties battled a brush fire in Pembroke Township.

William Neumann, the director of communications for the Orland Park Fire Protection District, lived streamed video footage from his drone to other departments through his personal Facebook page. It helped them track the fire, protect structures and, above all else, assure nobody got injured.

It was the first time the Pembroke Fire Protection District, a small department of nine volunteers, had an aerial view to assist them. Chief Mark Baines already has talked to village trustees about purchasing one, considering the department battles more than 100 brush fires per year and had a truck damaged in a brush fire last year.

“We were able to see exactly where the fire was going,” Baines said. “Our four guys who were out there felt safer and more confident knowing a drone was watching out for them. I’m all for getting one. They are beneficial.”

Orland Park’s department has three drones, and Neumann, who has his certificate of authorization, is training the department’s battalion chiefs. He said a drone typically costs between $1,000 and $6,000.

thanks Dan

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Historic fire service video The Noble Breed

This from Steve Redick:

I dipped into my vault for a friend and I came up with a great piece of firefighting history. I imagine many of you may have never heard of the documentary The Noble Breed. It was produced by the Kemper Insurance Company in the late 1960’s. They spent quite a bit of time riding with SS3 with some footage of my dad, Warren Redick and a young Bill O’Boyle. They also spent time in Skokie and have some footage of the well known George Trier. My grandfather, not shown in the film was chief in Skokie at that time. They also spent time with other FD’s including LA and San Francisco as well as some volunteers. For it’s time this was probably one of the best FD documentaries ever produced. It was narrated by Rod Serling, a classic voice of the time. Due to size limitations it is in 2 parts.. take a look. Be sure to expand the viewing window to a larger size.

The videos can be viewed HERE:

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New area dealer for Rosenbauer America

From the Interstate Emergency Vehicles Facebook page:

We are excited to announce that Rosenbauer America, the worlds largest builder of fire apparatus has provided us with the opportunity and a great future for our business & employees. Interstate Emergency Vehicles, based in Joliet, Illinois in our new 12,000 square foot facility is ready for the challenge. We wish to thank our customers in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana for the continued support of fire truck sales and the privilege to service your emergency vehicles.
Ed Orolin

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Northfield Fire Rescue news

Excerpts from the

A former part-time firefighter who authorities say placed a video recorder in a shower at the Northfield fire station pleaded guilty to the charges, court records show.

Edward T. Panicko, 59, of Arlington Heights, was sentenced on Wednesday to one year conditional discharge and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service in exchange for pleading guilty to unlawful video recording.

He was also ordered to pay $484 in fines.

Panicko resigned from the Northfield Fire Department in July 2016 after a fellow firefighter made misconduct allegations against him.

thanks Dan

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2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 1-8-17 (more)

Excerpts from

Three people were injured in an extra alarm fire Sunday morning on Chicago’s West Side, leaving a long-time resident looking for a place to live as authorities investigate the cause. Two people suffered smoke inhalation, and another was treated for exposure to the extreme cold Sunday morning.

Patrice Ammons said she did lose a lot in the fire that destroyed her West Side home of 20 years – but not everything. For one, she had gratitude for the firefighters who saved her.

“You can replace material things, but you can’t get your life back, and all of us are safe because of them,” Ammons said. “I really want to tell the firemen thank you, I got my brother out, and I couldn’t get back. That fireman did not hesitate, he took off his cap, he went in blind and I wish I knew who he was, so that I could say thank you.”

Ammons said sometime between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday, her brother told her something was burning. The back of the two story building was in flames, which ripped through the roof, and engulfed the whole back wall.

The fire had escalated to two alarms –at the time temperatures in the city were hovering around zero degrees. Eventually more than 100 firefighters responded.

Patrice Ammons lost her home and most of what she owns, you can’t control the circumstances, she says, but you can control your attitude.

thanks Dan

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Northwest Homer FPD news

Excerpts from

The family of an Orland Park woman is suing a 911 dispatch company after an ambulance was sent to the wrong address. In July of this year, the husband of Laurelyn Wagner-Pitts noticed his wife was having trouble breathing and called 911. The call was automatically sent to the Western Will County Communication Center according to the lawsuit. The address that appeared on the dispatcher’s screen was listed as Lakeview Trail in Homer Glen. But the emergency was at Lake View Court in Orland Park. Randy Pitts stayed on the line and repeated again that he lived in Orland Park.The dispatcher realized she had dispatched the wrong department.

Pitt’s wife had gone 17 minutes without oxygen. It would be 49 minutes from the time of the 911 call and arriving at Silver Cross Hospital. She died in August after the family took her off a ventilator.

The lawsuit filed in Will County Court is suing Western Will County Communications and the Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District.

Excerpts from the

The family of a woman who died last summer when an ambulance was dispatched to the wrong address, has filed suit against the dispatch center and an Illinois fire department.

Laurelyn Wagner-Pitts, 60, suffered a cardiac arrest on July 30, 2016. Her husband, Randy Pitts, called 911 and requested an ambulance from the Western Will County Communication Center. The dispatcher had some difficulty with the address and initially sent an ambulance from the Homer Fire Department to a different location.

Approximately 10 minutes later the mistake was realized and an ambulance from the Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District was dispatched. By the time it arrived, Wagner-Pitts had been without oxygen for an estimated 17 minutes. She passed away in August when her family took her off a ventilator.

The suit was filed by Wagner-Pitts’s two sons, Matthew and Eric Schlottman. It names the Western Will County Communication Center and Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District as defendants. More on the story.

thanks Scott

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Tri-State Fire Protection District in the news

Excerpts from the

A case involving a Tri-State Fire Protection District official charged with submitting a fraudulent report in 2015 may soon reveal the truth behind possibly dubious circumstances lurking within the Burr Ridge-based district.

Originally at issue was the questionable aptness of Michael Orrico’s dual relationship with the fire district as both a trustee and as an equipment vendor.

Reporting in the Edgar County Watchdogs’ (ECW) Illinois Leaks publication, principal writer Kirk Allen said last month that Orrico, who sells gear for Fire Service Inc., failed to mention his employment in a key disclosure statement for his trustee position. Fire Service Inc. is based in various locations, including Naperville.

According to Illinois state law, anyone filing a statement of economic interests who deliberately puts on record a false or incomplete statement is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, so when the 18th Judicial Circuit Court of DuPage County in Wheaton finally issued an arrest warrant for Orrico Sept. 16 this year, ECW expressed approval.

Named as a defendant in the case, Orrico was required to make a 10 percent bond deposit and appear in court for a bail bond hearing Oct. 11. Terms of the warrant forbade him from leaving the state of Illinois without the court’s permission, limiting Orrico’s whereabouts to an eight-county range.

In part, the charges read, “on or about March 16, 2015 … Michael J. Orrico committed the offense of Filing a False Statement of Economic Interest, in that the … trustee of the Tri-State Fire Protection District, willfully … failed to list on that statement … his employment with Fire Service Inc. and his title or the description of any position held with Fire Service, Inc., from which the defendant earned income.”

As it happened, Orrico, one of three elected Tri-State Fire Protection District trustees, had disagreed with his colleagues in the past about records handling. As his case unfolded, details about missing records came to light, and further fanning the flames were apparently obscure circumstances by which records were lost to begin with.

In December 2013, Tri-State reported that confidential tape recordings were missing from a safe in its Burr Ridge facility. The audio documentation regarded executive sessions of the district’s board of trustees.

“Whatever has been going on during executive session remains a mystery,” the Chicago-based Better Government Association (BGA) said in 2013. The investigative nonprofit previously had published a series of articles on the district’s Darien branch, keeping its eyes peeled on spending records and alleged conflicts of interest and other irregularities.

“According to the Illinois Open Meetings Act, trustees are allowed to convene in private to discuss sensitive material such as litigation or personnel matters, provided certain rules are followed,” the BGA said. “Among the rules, they must keep a verbatim record – either video or audio – of all sessions closed to the public.”

Tri-State allegedly had stored its closed-session records at the shared residence of trustee Jill Strenzel and Fire Chief Michelle Gibson, longtime partners. According to BGA, Orrico asked to hear the recordings, but of seven meetings arranged specifically for that purpose, four or more were canceled.

In a bizarre twist, Strenzel fell outside the station on Nov. 18, 2013, breaking two tape recorders in the process and sending a staffer to buy a new one. She then claimed that someone broke into a safe containing tapes and notes at the Burr Ridge Station at 10S110 S. Madison St. on Nov. 21.

“Strenzel … started to pull papers out of the safe, ‘at which time she stopped and was worried that unlawful entry had been gained,’” according to records obtained by BGA. Police determined that nothing was missing and classified the burglary as suspicious circumstances due to lack of evidence.

Strenzel followed up at the scene with speculative questions regarding what should be done if someone had erased the tapes using a magnet. The next day, the police were recalled to the same station and were asked to move items into a new safe. Records indicate that the officers declined to physically perform the task, instead observing Strenzel doing so.

At the next regular board meeting in mid-December, Strenzel and one other trustee voted to keep closed session meeting minutes confidential, with Orrico the sole opponent.

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DeKalb County rural fire departments to pay for dispatch services

Excerpts from the

DeKalb County’s 10 rural fire departments have received free dispatching service from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Division since the 911 system was established.

 However, that long-standing practice is set to come to an end. For months, Sheriff Roger Scott and other county officials have been negotiating a new fee system for the small departments.

Only Cortland and Kirkland have yet to pay or agree to pay the new fees, although it is not sitting well with some, including longtime Shabbona Fire Chief Frank Ottengheime.

“We pay taxes, we pay county taxes, we pay on our phone bills, we pay on our cellular phone bills, in other instances they pay into the city taxes,” said Ottengheime, who has been with Shabbona’s all-volunteer department for 40 years. “I don’t know how many times we can be taxed for the same service.

“… Our feeling is that it’s an essential service, it should be supplied.”

Although the proposed fees come at a time when the county is curbing spending to balance its budget, Scott said that was not what spurred the change. Rather, it was officials from rural police departments who suggested the fire departments chip in.

“Rural police departments have been paying for a number of years, and it was a consensus of the rural police departments that the rural fire departments should help reduce the costs for the rural police departments,” Scott said. “They took that proposal to the [County Board’s Law and Justice Committee] back in 2015, and they lobbied to redevelop a plan that included the rural fire departments.”

County documents show the rural fire agencies will pay about $26,000 for service in the fiscal year that ends June 30. That figure will grow to about $30,000 by 2021.

The county’s eight rural police departments – Cortland, Hinckley, Kingston, Kirkland, Malta, Shabbona, Somonauk and Waterman – will pay $162,000 this fiscal year, records show.

The sums that the county wants to charge are comparatively small. The Shabbona fire board recently agreed to pay the $1,900 fee for dispatching services – a fee that will increase each year by 3 percent to 4 percent through 2021.

The dispatch fee, when spread among the homeowners in a district, will cost a homeowner anywhere from 14 cents to $2 per $100,000 in assessed value, according to county documents. Shabbona’s fire district includes about 400 homes.

But the dispatch fee is just one more financial demand on volunteer fire departments that are already facing trying changes. Volunteer firefighters in Shabbona are paid $8.50 an hour, while paramedics earn $12.50 an hour. As the part-time chief, Ottengheime earns $3,000 a year.

“No one’s getting rich fighting these fires,” Ottengheime said. “A guy gets $10 to get up at 3 a.m., they’re not in it to make money.”

Training and other requirements for running an ambulance are making a volunteer ambulance service a less workable proposition. With the tax cap limiting what rural fire districts can collect in tax dollars, adding a new fee can have an effect on what equipment and training a fire agency can afford, Ottengheime said.

Scott noted that he had been through several different proposed formulas as the sheriff’s office sought to convince everyone it was being fair. He said that increases in what the agencies were asked to pay were tied to increased labor costs, which are dictated by a union contract.

At any rate, although the sheriff’s office has been providing the service for free for decades, it has never been required to, Scott said.

“Fire dispatching is not a mandated responsibility of the sheriff’s office,” he said. “It is an additional responsibility. We have several mandates in the statutes, that’s not one of them.”

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office provides dispatching services for most rural fire departments in the county. They have instituted new fees for the departments, which are scheduled to increase by 3.4 percent to 4.1 percent a year through June 30, 2021.

Cortland $4,300

Hinckley $2,750

Kirkland $3,400

Lee $450

Leland $1,450

Malta $2,350

Paw Paw $200

Shabbona $1,900

Somonauk $5,950

Waterman $2,400

Source: DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

thanks Dan

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