Archive for category Reader submission

Of interest … East coast wetdown

This from Austin Lawler:

So I just happened to have this pop up in my YouTube feed, and thought some people might like it. It is a wet down to the extreme, but it also features some great eye candy. While not in the Chicagoland area, it is a pretty fun video.


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A request from overseas …

Can anyone assist Karl?; #Retired Austrian Firefighter Karl-Heinz Bitzer;Dear Sir, 

We are planning a trip to Chicago with a group of firefighters from Austria in spring 2025, and of course, they like to visit the CFD on this tour. 
So, I like to ask you, if a visit of the Fire Academy and stations is basically possible and if we could see a fire boat also? 

I am a retired Captain of a large Vol. Fire Dept. in the County of Munich, Germany and had 44 years of active duty there. 
The group are also volunteer and professional firefighters from an area around Vienna and along the river Danube. 

We have already made a tour to New York City and the FDNY in 2023 togehter. 

Thank you for any information in advance, I am looking forward to hearing from you, 

yours sincerely,

Karl-Heinz Bitzer
85540 Haar
Tel: 089/464956
Mobil: 0176/26406302

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Smokin’ Heroes competition in Johnston, IA

Good Afternoon All,

I want to extend an invite regarding our annual Charity Smoking Competition called Smokin’ Heroes taking place on the evening of June 14th (rules and meat handout) into June 15th (Tasting and Judging) 2023 at the Johnston Green Days festival.

The competition will pit Police, Fire, and Military smoking teams against each other for bragging rights, the Smoking Heroes Championship Belt and other cash prizes! We will have teams from all branches of public safety represented and at various experience levels. There is one stipulation of the competition though, that you need at least one Police, Fire, military, or public safety person on your team. If you already have someone like that on staff you’re set to go. We will provide the meat it will be Pork Butt, Ribs, and Whole Chicken you just need a team and a smoker to compete.

The charity competition is being used to raise money to promote a cultural exchange with our sister city Peja, Kosovo. This experience cannot be had in a class room and expresses our overall approach as a department to work toward the betterment of the community at large.

Let me know if you’d like to compete or support this event, if so I’ve attached a registration/interest form to get you started. If you participate you’re more than welcome to put up banner in your smoking area to represent your team and organization, the last competition attendance was calculated at around 1,500-2,000. Your team will also be represented in our social media during and leading up to the event! Please contact me if you’re interested ASAP, my E-mail is my number at the PD is 515.334.2342 if you have any questions about the event. Hope to see you there! Also feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

A couple odds and ends

  1. Since meat handout and rules are on the evening of the 14th you will be able to, if you choose, sleep in a tent or RV to smoke overnight or start as early as possible on the 15th
  2. If you only wanted to show up for the competition, super early on the 15th that is ok, I can make arrangements for that
  3. The competition takes place during our Green Days city festival, so there will be music, carnival rides, food and beverages during the competition so it is a family friendly event

Sgt Grandon

Community Policing Unit, Johnston Police; #Smokin'Heroes; #JohnstonIA;

click to download

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A request from overseas

Greetings Chicago Fire Department from Ireland.

I am just chasing up on a memory from my childhood. In the mid 1990’s a recently retired chief from “Engine 63” visited Ireland by the name of a Mr. Jack Ryan.

Mr Ryan stayed with us for a few nights back then. I am just wondering if he is still alive or if any family members carried on the tradition with Chicago Fire Department?

My thanks for your assistance,

Kind Regards,

Barry Hayes Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer | National Ambulance Service | Regional Headquarters South | Unit 5 A | South Ring Business Park | Kinsale Road | Cork | T12 ND6P | Email;

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Request for assistance …

Dear Webmaster,; #Germany; #firefighter; #ElmhurstFD; #JuergenSchlump;

Juergen Schlump from North-West Germany visiting the Elmhurst FD

I´m Juergen Schlump from North-West Germany and I had the fortune to visit the Elmhurst Fire Department in 2014. A dream for me as a volunteer firefighter becomes true due to that visit.

I was really impressed about the new station and the technic which the community provides for their firefighters.

Now I have a very unusual question and I hope that you can maybe answer them.

A good friend of mine, who is on duty as a professional friefighter in the professional fire station of the city Bochum, looks for a hospitation in the USA and ask me if I could help him.

He is a very smart men and his job until August 2023 was leading trainer of firefighter academy City Bochum, since then he´s deputy chief on station 2. In moment he´s on the way to get divorced and looks for a new level of firefighter education.

At 5:55min you can see him as the TOJ Lieutantant (trainer).

Maybe you can give me an advice how or who we can contact to get some advices so that his dream could become true.

Thanks in advance!

Best wishes from Wettrup / Germany

Juergen Schlump

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A request for assistance

International Harvester- Hinsdale Agricultural Center Apparatus Photos


I was curious if someone on your blog may have photos of the International Loadstar 1800/Pierce fire engine and Travel-All ambulance that were used by the fire brigade at the International Harvester Agricultural Engineering Center in Hinsdale (Burr Ride) in the late 70s.  An IH retiree provided the attached photo but looking for additional photos if they may be out there.


Steve Ford; #historic; #firebrigrade; #fireengine; #firetruck; #Pierce; #IHCLoadstar; #International Harvester Agricultural Engineering Center;

photographer unknown

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Of interest … Pierce Manufacturing

From a reader:

Here is a photo of a banner and friends acknowledging Tom Smits retiring 3-8-2024 from Pierce after 42 years.; #Pierce; #OshkoshFD; #TomSmits;

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Of interest … measles outbreak in Chicago

Excerpts from

Health authorities at the local, state, and federal levels are working in conjunction to manage the recent measles outbreak in Chicago as two new cases were announced on Thursday, bringing the total to 12 — six adults and six children. All but two cases were linked to the migrant shelter in Pilsen.

Illinois is among 17 states currently grappling with measles outbreaks. Experts say it’s due to declining vaccination rates and global migration.

Measles, a highly contagious respiratory infection, can linger in the air for up to two hours, with symptoms potentially appearing days after exposure. Health experts emphasize that the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine – required for school-age children in many states, including Illinois – offers the best protection against the virus.

Pregnant women and babies younger than 12 months should not receive the vaccine; however, those groups are also at highest risk of complications if they were to contract measles.

As cases rise, health experts and local officials say the general public shouldn’t panic. Still, doctors warn that additional measles cases should be expected.

Two of the city’s 12 cases are unrelated to the Halsted Street shelter in Pilsen. There, ten migrants have now contracted measles, and at least two of the children with measles attend Chicago Public Schools. One attends Philip D. Armour Elementary School in Bridgeport, and another is a student at Cooper Dual Language Elementary Academy near 19th and Paulina streets.

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Of interest … Lucas Knudsen

The passing of a longtime reader

Lucas Knudsen


Lucas Knudsen, age 31, of Western Springs. Beloved son of Derrick (Maria) Knudsen and Debbie (Timothy Metzger) Knudsen; grandson of Judith Knudsen, nee Boucek, Roger Knudsen and the late Lois Deno, nee Murray; brother of Jacob Metzger and Emily Metzger; step brother of Matt Metzger, Sarah Metzger and Andrew Metzger; nephew of Denise (Michael) Grazian and Dawn Kannon; cousin Maren Wiseheart, Taryn Kannon, Carter Kannon and Mason Kannon.

Proud and Dedicated Member of The Hillside Emergency Service.

Visitation Sunday, March 10, 2024 from 2 P.M. to 6 P.M. at Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd., 9445 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513.

Lucas will Lie in State on Monday, March 11, 2024 from 10 A.M. to time of Service 11 A.M. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, corner of Park and Grant, Brookfield, IL 60513.
Interment Woodlawn Cemetery, Forest Park.

In Lieu of Flowers Memorials Appreciated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, P.O. Drawer 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

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A request for information

This from Wayne Mutza:

I’m working on a book devoted to “Big Water” apparatus, to include high volume, high pressure rigs, tenders, hose wagons with monitors, etc. Can anyone ID this Cicero engine, especially year, make and GPM? The year 1967 is written on the back. Thank you. I hope you have seen my book covering the history of Milwaukee apparatus, by McFarland Publishing.; #vintage; #FireTruck; #CiceroFD; #historic;

photographer unknown

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