Posts Tagged Ben Franklin Fire Memorial Service

Palatine LODD Anniversary

Palatine FD Press Release

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Palatine LODD Anniversary

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Palatine Fire Department history

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

John Tobin photo

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

John Tobin photo

Excerpts from theDailyHerald.com:

When fire broke out at the Ben Franklin five-and-dime store on Feb. 23, 1973, John Tobin was a high school senior who lived about a mile from downtown Palatine.

It was early that morning and his father, Dave, then a second lieutenant with the village’s volunteer fire department, had already left for the scene. So had the assistant chief, who lived across the street. Tobin felt he had no choice but to ditch school. He started running toward the fire. Towering over the fire was Palatine’s 1969, [75-foot Snorkel].

But nothing had prepared him for what he saw that morning. Staring at the scene in shock, Tobin heard one firefighter say three others were trapped in the basement.

In his rush to get to the fire, Tobin had forgotten his camera. He ran home to get it and when he got back to downtown Palatine he saw his father working on the fire outside and knew he was safe.

“It wasn’t until hours later we found out who was in there,” Tobin said. Three firefighters were killed — Warren Ahlgrim, Richard Freeman and John Wilson — after they were trapped in the basement filled with carbon monoxide.

The fire was 43 years ago, and Tobin has never forgotten the emotions of that day and how it changed him.

All these years he could never get the image of [the Snorkel] out of his mind.

Tracking it down became something like an obsession for him. He heard it had been sold to downstate Salem, Illinois, in 1981. In 2003 he stopped in Salem overnight while driving home from a convention. But by then Salem had sold the truck to Pierceton, Indiana. So he paid a visit.

Earlier this year, Pierceton officials were ready to sell the old truck. They called Tobin, who told them the best he could offer was $5,000. They accepted.

“This is my childhood idol of a truck,” Tobin said.

For the past few days Tobin has been hard at work at the Bartlett Fire Department, where the truck is being housed while he buffs the paint, fixes the lights and creates a tribute to Ahlgrim, Freeman, and Wilson.

“It brings back old memories and it honors those firefighters that were killed that day,” Tobin says.

On Tuesday the restored truck was in downtown Palatine, exactly where it had been 43 years ago, as Palatine held its annual memorial service at the Firefighters Memorial at Brockway and Slade streets.
After the memorial service, Tobin plans to keep the truck in a barn on his property in West Dundee.

thanks Dan

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters.

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

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Palatine Firefighters Memorial Dedication Ceremony

Excerpts from the Daily Herald:

Standing outside in subzero temperatures that kept most suburbanites indoors, Palatine firefighters and community members paid tribute Monday morning to three fallen colleagues on the 42nd anniversary of the day they died battling a massive blaze in the village’s downtown.

On Feb. 23, 1973, volunteer firefighters John Wilson, Richard Freeman and Warren Ahlgrim lost their lives fighting a fire in a Ben Franklin store.

Some of the firefighters who were there with them that day, along with Ahlgrim’s widow, Rose, joined current members of the fire department at the Palatine Firefighters Memorial for a solemn ceremony recognizing their sacrifice.

Members of the Palatine Fire Department Honor Guard presented a wreath at the statue that stands at the memorial in recognition of the firefighters’ service, and performed a bell ceremony honoring Wilson, Freeman and Ahlgrim.

The three volunteer firefighters were on the first hose line battling the 1973 fire in the downtown Ben Franklin store. They died while working to put out the fire in the store’s basement.

thanks Dan

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Palatine FD Memorial

 

FF Memorial Press Release 2014 Memorial Flyer

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Palatine Firefighter Memorial Service

Palatine Firefighter Memorial Service

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Palatine Firefighter Memorial Service

Palatine Firefighter Memorial Service

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