Robbins Fire Department history (more)

More Robbins FD history from Wayne Stuart

The Robbins Fire Department also operated this 1965 Mack, Serial #1402. It ran as Engine 2943  with a 1000 GPM pump and a 500 Gallon tank. I do not know if it had previous ownership or if it  still  exists. This photo was taken in 1986.

wayne stuart photo

1956 C-Model Mack fire engine pumper

The Robbins Fire Department operated this 1965 Mack, Serial #1402. It ran as Engine 2943  with a 1000 GPM pump and a 500 Gallon tank. This photo was taken in 1986. Wayne Stuart photo

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Working fire in St. Charles, 2-22-18

This from Dave Weaver,

2/22/18 SAINT CHARLES – Woman Rescued from Apartment Fire at Carroll Tower 200 N. 2nd St.

At 10:39 PM the St. Charles FD was dispatched to an activated fire alarm at the Carroll Tower apartment building. Firefighters arrived at 10:41 PM and found a working kitchen fire on the second floor of the six-story building. The female occupant was unable to exit the fire apartment. The incident was then upgraded to a General Alarm to bring additional resources to the scene. Firefighters removed the victim from the fire apartment and transported her to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva with non-life-threatening injuries. The sprinkler system held the fire in check in the kitchen and firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in approximately 15 minutes. There was a considerable amount of smoke throughout the second floor and firefighters remained on the scene until approximately 12:15 AM evacuating smoke, assisting the occupants of the remaining second floor units back to their apartments and conducting the fire investigation. Some of the occupants of the building had been evacuated to the lobby and some were sheltered in place as firefighters were able to rapidly extinguish the fire. The fire was contained to the kitchen of the apartment of origin and there were no other injuries to the occupants or to firefighters. The cause of the fire is attributed to combustible materials being left on a stove top and is considered accidental. Fire loss is estimated at $50,000. The St. Charles FD was assisted on the scene by the Geneva, Batavia, and Elburn fire departments. The North Aurora FD changed quarters to Saint Charles to assist with any additional incidents while units were operating at the fire.  Video by Dave Weaver.


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House fire in Midlothian, 3-16-18

video by Sean Paller from Facebook of a fire in Midlothian at 15016 Kenton Avenue 3/16/18

if only we could get people to understand that video should never be shot in the vertical format.

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New home for Libertyville … Countryside FPD tanker

Grayslake is now the owner of a Pierce Dash 1250-GPM, 2500-gallon tanker that was in service with the Libertyville FD since 2010 when they acquired it from the Countryside FPD who purchased it new in 1988.

Countryside FPD Tanker 4 112

Countryside FPD Tanker 4 112 – 1988 Pierce Dash 1250/2500 tanker. Larry Shapiro photo

Countryside FPD Tanker 4 112

Countryside FPD Tanker 4 112 – 1988 Pierce Dash 1250/2500 tanker. Larry Shapiro photo

tender nursing an engine during a fire

Larry Shapiro photo

Libertyville FD Tender 461

Libertyville FD Tender 461. Larry Shapiro photo

Grayslake FPD tanker (tender)

Jeff Rudolph photo

Grayslake FPD tanker

Grayslake FPD tender (X-Libertyville, X-Countryside) Larry Shapiro photo

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New engine for Gary FD

From the Pierce Flickr page:

Pierce Gary FD 31483-1

new Pierce fire engine for Gary Indiana

Pierce Gary FD 31483-1. Pierce Composite

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Cancer in the fire service (more)

Excerpts from the

Long before he became San Diego’s fire chief, Brian Fennessy would wear his crusty, soot-covered helmet like a badge, proof he worked at one of the city’s busiest fire stations. He thought it gave him credibility and earned him the respect of peers. Now he knows his dirty gear harbored the toxins and carcinogens that haunt the scene of a fire, and that they might well revisit him in the future as cancer.

“I figure that’s what’s going to get me,” said Fennessy, who has been a firefighter since 1978. “When I worked for the Forest Service, man, we sprayed fuel breaks with chemicals that aren’t even allowed anymore. We inhaled that stuff; we were exposed to all kinds of bad stuff. “I figure it is just a matter of time before I’m diagnosed.” “It’s not going to be the roof caving in on you, or falling off the ladder – that’s not going to be what kills you, it is going to be cancer.”

Many fire departments around the country are working to change the culture of the fire service, encouraging firefighters to take steps to better protect themselves from dangerous fumes, smoke, and soot.

Cancer is the leading cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in the U.S., according to the International Association of Fire Fighters. In the past five years, more than 60 percent of the names added to the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall in Colorado were cancer-related deaths. The wall lists the names of more than 7,600 fallen firefighters.

Several studies looking at the association between firefighting and cancer have found higher rates of some types of cancers in firefighters compared with the general population, including cancers involving the respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems.

The largest cancer study of U.S. firefighters to date, done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, looked at the health records of 30,000 firefighters in three U.S. cities between 1950 and 2009. It found those firefighters had a modest increase in cancer diagnoses (a 9 percent increase) and cancer-related deaths (a 14 percent increase) compared with the general population.

Such research — along with repeatedly hearing of colleagues in the fire service being diagnosed with cancer — prompted Fennessy to green-light his department’s cancer-prevention program just a few months after he was appointed San Diego’s chief in 2015. In the 18 months since the effort began, about a dozen employees have been diagnosed with cancer.

Firefighters have long worried about how their jobs were affecting their health, although much of the early focus was on lung cancer and other respiratory ailments caused by breathing in smoke. The dangers of soot were known way back in 1775 when it was linked to the first case of occupational cancer. A doctor noticed chimney sweeps in Britain were being stricken by a particular form of the disease.

In 1982, California became the first state in the country to adopt a presumptive law that makes it easier for firefighters to prove that their cancer is work-related, giving them access to workers’ compensation and survivor benefits for their families. That law was prompted by the deaths in 1973 of two Whittier firefighters who responded to a hazmat incident and died of a rare form of cancer within weeks of each other six years later.

Cancer awareness has become a priority for many firefighting agencies, addressed at professional conferences and by industry groups. A bill has twice been introduced in Congress that would create a voluntary national firefighter cancer registry, which officials say would track those diagnosed with the disease and assist future research efforts.

San Diego’s training kicks off with an emotional 8½-minute video that shares the stories of a dozen firefighters who have been diagnosed and treated for cancer. All 900 of the department’s firefighters have been trained. The room always gets quiet after the group watches the video. Firefighters can be exposed to a lifetime of toxins in a very compressed period of time, inhaling them or absorbing them into their skin.

San Diego’s fire stations are gradually being equipped with commercial-grade washing machines that can better clean dirty turnouts; they long have had equipment that vents diesel exhaust from firetrucks out of the buildings. Special wipes kept on engines allow firefighters in the field to clean their heads, necks, throats, underarms and hands before they get back to the station to shower. Firefighters are issued two sets of gear so they always have access to clean ones. They are supposed to take off dirty gear as soon as possible and keep it away from where they sleep and out of personal vehicles. Everyone has two protective hoods and captains carry spares so firefighters can change them out when they get wet or dirty.

Some departments are pursuing other methods in their quest to protect firefighters.

The Carlsbad Fire Department is outfitting four of its six stations with dry saunas and bicycles, known as chemical detox saunas. It is the second agency in California to purchase the units. After a fire, Carlsbad’s firefighters will take a shower and then ride the bikes until they work up a good sweat. The idea is they’ll sweat heavy metals and other toxins out of their skin. One firefighter who put a towel under the bike when he rode it after a fire said that whatever it was that came out of him was black and it was on the towel.

Ocean Beach FD Captain Todd Bechtel, a firefighter for 26 years, was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago after a routine checkup. He underwent surgery and radiation, but recently learned his cancer has returned. Like others, he would sleep with his pants next to his bunk, take off his mask as soon as flames were knocked down and wear his flash hood over and over without washing it. He wonders if the interrupted sleep cycles typical in a busy station and other stresses also played a role.

“”Shame on the departments that aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in our business, in our profession right now,” San Diego Chief Brian Fennessy said. “I’d want my kids to be part of an organization that made taking care of their firefighters a priority.”

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New engine for Arlington Heights (more)

Finished photo of the new engine for Arlington Heights from the Pierce Flickr site

Pierce Village of Arlington Heights FD, IL 31341-01 – Velocity with air operated steps

Arlington Heights FD Engine 2

Peirce composite

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3-Alarm fire in Bristol, WI 3-14-18 (more)

photos from Tim Olk of the 3-Alarm fire in Bristol, WI – 3-14-18

portable water tank on the ground with fire trucks

Tim Olk photo

Wheatland FD water tender

Tim Olk photo

Firefighters at fire scene

Tim Olk photo

Firefighters overhaul after house fire

Tim Olk photo

portable water tank on the ground with fire trucks

Tim Olk photo

female Firefighter pulling hose

Tim Olk photo

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New ambulance for Lake Villa

This from Jeff Rudolph:

Lake Villa, IL  – 2018 Ford F550 / AEV

Jeff Rudolph

AEV Type I ambulance

Lake Villa FPD – 2018 Ford F550 / AEV Type I ambulance. Jeff Rudolph photo

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Cancer in the Fire Service

Excerpts from the

Most firefighters know all too well the price some of their colleagues pay for exposure to poisonous toxins. A growing body of evidence has shown firefighters have an increased risk of cancer and other serious illnesses compared to the general population, partly due to their exposure to hazardous chemicals from the smoke.

A groundbreaking study showing, among other things, that Ottawa (Canada) firefighters had from three to more than five times the amount of toxic chemicals in their urine after a fire compared to before a fire. And the study suggests the chemicals entered their bodies mainly through skin contact. 

The study, said Jules Blais, professor of environmental toxicology at the University of Ottawa, is among the first to look at the absorption of toxics chemicals by firefighters during real emergency situations. Its findings, based on urine samples and skin swabs from firefighters between January 2015 and April 2016, suggest that a major pathway for those toxins is through the skin. The evidence of absorption through the skin, particularly through the neck area, will help with the development of practices and technology to reduce that exposure. 

The Ottawa Fire Services has already made changes based on the findings in the hopes of reducing exposure of firefighters to toxic chemicals absorbed through their skin.  Much of the evolution of fire equipment and procedures has focused on breathing apparatus and clothing to protect firefighters from inhalation and heat while they fight fires. 

The Ottawa Fire Services introduced new decontamination policies, partly in response to the research, in an effort to avoid skin absorption of toxic chemicals. Firefighters are now required to strip off and clean their breathing apparatus, put it in a bag and send it for cleaning before returning to the station. They are also required to do the same with their bunker gear. In the past, firefighters would get into the trucks in dirty bunker gear and clean it at the station. Firefighters are also required to shower and change their clothes as quickly as possible in an attempt to remove all contaminants from their skin.

The research studied samples from 27 firefighters and 17 office workers over 16 months. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that were studied, among other toxins, have been shown to be mutagenic, including mutations linked to cancer.

Researchers had expected to see evidence that the chemicals were being absorbed through the lungs, but didn’t. That suggested their breathing equipment was doing its job, but that there was another path of absorption — through the skin.

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