Archive for category Reader submission

As seen around … O’Hare

This from Dany Nelms:

Here is a video of CFD giving a water cannon salute to the last KLM 747 flight out of Ohare airport on october 25th

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As seen around … Chicago

Found this in north Avondale parked on the street. The lettering that has been removed says “Jacksonville”, not sure if it’s really visible in the photo. It also appears—based on removed lettering—to have been assigned to the haz mat team before ending up here. Unsure who it belongs to or how it ended up in Avondale. Thought your readers might find it interesting.

Former Jacksonville FD ambulance spotted in Chicago

Former Jacksonville FD ambulance spotted in Chicago

Former Jacksonville FD ambulance spotted in Chicago

Former Jacksonville FD ambulance spotted in Chicago


Of interest … South Holland firefighters visit retired Chicago firefighter

Excerpts from the

Gordon Grand Pre has vivid memories of his first assignment as a Chicago firefighter in the 1950s. When he arrived at the burning three-story building, people were jumping from windows to escape the blaze. He initially froze but another firefighter patted him on the back and said, “Keep moving, they’ll jump on you, if you don’t.”

Now 93, Grand Pre sometimes struggles with his powers of recollection. But that memory stands strong in his mind.

Grand Pre, a resident of Arden Courts Memory Care Community of South Holland, has memory lapses, but he remembers those early years as a first responder firefighter like they were yesterday.

He had a chance to relive some of that excitement recently, when the South Holland Fire Department came to visit him for a “Hearts Desire” event.

While these were firefighters from the local department, they still sparked nostalgia in Grand Pre for his 35 years on the job.

His wife remembers when her husband left for a week-long firefighting stint during the Chicago riots of 1968 and she packed him a care package of soup, crackers, and candy bars. He carried the food in a sack tied to the end of a stick, like a hobo. 

After the firefighters arrived and greeted Grand Pre, they led him to the firetruck and took him for a ride around the neighborhood. His family stood by smiling and clapping.

South Holland Fire Chief Brian Kolosh said he was happy to receive the invitation to make Grand Pre’s day special.

“Once you’re in the fire service, you’re always in the fire family,” said Kolosh. “Whatever we can do as a fire department, we’re going to do to make it a memorable moment for him.”

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A request for assistance …

My name is Abby Breger and I am the Training Manager at The Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.I’m reaching out because we are in need of safety training. Our building is very large and I was looking for a professional to come in and educate our staff on fire safety protocols within our building. I was wondering if this is something the Chicago Fire Department provides? I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,


Request for assistance …

Submitted to the blog:

Hello my name is ff William smith ky fire men we have Mr Ernest Ray jr a retired chgo fire men here in the hospital was trying to get hold to you all to see if we can get his old company in contact or see if one f y’all could come down give me a call 270-30-9449


Of interest … arrest in CFD family murder

Excerpts from

A man has been charged in the murder of Tyler Bernicky, the son of a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant who was found stabbed to death next to a burning van in Chatham in June.

Officers responded to reports of a vehicle fire in the early morning hours of June 15 in the 7900-block of South Ingleside Avenue. When they arrived, they found the 25-year-old dead on the ground with stab wounds to his chest and legs.

Investigators believe Bernicky’s van was intentionally set on fire.

Ronald Franklin, 34, was arrested on Wednesday in the 1800-block of West Lake Street and has been charged with first degree murder and arson. 


Reflections about 9/11/01

This from John Tobin:

Rather than work on something I should be doing, I chose to do this instead … drats.

Wondering how Elgin, IL could be attached somehow to the September 11th attacks in New York? Attached is a post from another site. It tells the story of four Elgin firefighters (three now retired) and their trip to the East Coast on a mission to deliver a new fire truck. The truck that was built for the FDNY was almost ready to be delivered when the attacks occurred.

Along for the ride, were many very specially made cards of sympathy and concern from some very young (and some older too) citizens of Elgin.

When we were ready to leave Elgin for New York, the entire front of the cab was filled, not only with the cards, but posters and food items for the trip. It’s not too often that you get to see something like this and I will never forget it. I’ve never seen Elgin this united. On the way home after dropping the truck off, we stopped and posted them for all to see.

Read on:

Interesting comments on replacement vehicles for FDNY after 911-01.

There was an order for multiple aerials at Seagrave (SFA) that was trickling out of the factory in Wisconsin during that time frame. One of the most dedicated employees at SFA at that time was Glenn Bennett, a delivery driver with a huge heart. He delivered an aerial just before the attacks and was stranded there. As we all know, the airlines had been shut down.

I called him wondering what was up. He mentioned that he couldn’t get back and, for multiple reasons, SFA was having trouble getting a driver to bring the next aerial out. He said he was at the FDNY shops working on cleaning up rigs, helping install windshields and such to try and get rigs back in service. I immediately called SFA, and since I had driven rigs for them over the years, the dispatcher took me up on my offer … going out with a chase vehicle and three other firefighters from home. The truck was going to be ready on Saturday by noon. What started out as an urgent need to get the rig delivered, turned into a media goodwill tour of sorts to which many at SFA didn’t embrace. I was in trouble for a long time.

After getting the truck to IL late that evening, we set out for NY and drove straight thru. A dilemma was brewing, as the guys wanted to work at ground zero and we were going to arrive in the middle of the night. I wanted to meet up with Glenn (which never happened) and work at the shops, even if it was just sweeping the floors. We decided to take the rig to ground zero and leave at first light for the drop off point in South Plainfield. Not only were they in dire need of the truck, it was also loaded with spare parts. We were met at ground zero with interest and our group was interviewed on radio and even squawk box on CNN. At first light there was gridlock and quite a jaunt to get out of the city. The rig arrived safe and sound and we stayed two days to work “the pile”. As much as the grandstanding comments from some which hurt me very much, that was never our intent, as this turned out to be a creature in its own right. It was always about our FDNY brothers.

PS Glenn you were a hero in your own right. Rest in peace my dear friend.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

All ready to leave EFD station #2….let’s roll.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

Somewhere on I-80….Ohio perhaps.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

Just arriving at ground zero trying to find a safe spot to park.

FDNY Ladder 3 pulled from the rubble of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

The now famous L-3 rolls passed. Interesting how the derbies hang off the truck from the offices of the world trade center…..inclusive of a cord and receiver from someone’s desk. L-3 is now on static display at the memorial. Wonder if ” Jeff we will not forget you” is still on the back door?

the World Trade Center on the night of 9/11/01

Taking it all in as a tower ladder still flows water and parts of what are left of the world trade center rise up high into the night sky.

the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/12/01

The night begins to give up it’s darkness and the complete picture will be in view soon.

aftermath of the attacks of 9/11/01 seen on 9/12/01

An FDNY officer overlooks “the pile” as it was to be called. At various points bucket brigades were set up to sift thru the derbies for anything that could be recovered. It was anyone’s guess what might be in the ground up derbies….. I have never since looked upon a plastic bucket the same as before 911.

Firefighter with new fire truck at the World Trade Center on 9/12/01

My chase driver readies our final route to safely deliver the rig, which was loaded with much needed spare parts for the rigs that would be salvaged. Later he would uncover a fire fighter on “the pile” and alert the FDNY team to remove the remains.

memorials outside a NYC fire station on 9/12/01

The look on the fire fighter’s face says it all….I didn’t get a chance to say hello….his “T” shirt said Las Vegas FD on the back. There were fire fighters from all over the country that came to New York after the attacks. Many were frustrated as there was nothing they could do…..I felt fortunate to have had a task to complete.

cards are posted at a fire station after the attacks of 9/11/01

Up go more cards from the Elgin school kids….not one was missed.

FDNY Ladder 11 one year after the attacks of 9/11/01

A year later some of us returned to visit where the truck ended up. Eleven Truck as it is called is in the Alphabet city section of New York, not far from where the world trade center stood. The burned ladder sign on the front of the station, was recovered off their wrecked truck.

FDNY Ladder 11 after the attacks of 9/11/01

The front mural says it all.

Firefighters with American Flag at ground zero on 9/12/01

They promised they would never forget

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A request for assistance …

From A. Pete Bingham:

Back in the 1950’s my father was a Chicago firefighter, with Engine Co. 103 at Harrison and Laflin.

From 1952 to 1959

As a result of the Our Lady of the Angels School fire, he became a LT. inspector with the Fire Prevention Bureau.

Would anyone have a company picture from any of those years?


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Of interest … passerby pulls crash victim from car

Excerpts from

Around 3 a.m. Sunday, Chris Cammon was waiting for a bus at the corner of 79th Street and Jeffery Boulevard, when he heard the sounds of cars drag racing blocks away. As two cars raced towards the intersection, one clipped the other and crashed into a traffic light pole erupting in fire.  With help from others, he pulled a 24-year-old man from behind the wheel of the burning vehicle, and dragged him across the street to safety.

By 3:15 a.m., emergency responders firefighters were on the scene and put out the flames. The victim survived, and was taken in critical condition to the University of Chicago Medical Center.


2019 Chicago Air and Water show

From Steve Redick at the 2019 Chicago Air and Water show

Chicago FD Fire Boat 6-8-8

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD helicopter deploys a diver

Steve Redick photo

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