Posts Tagged Chicago Fire Department history

Chicago Fire Department history

 From Austin Lawler for #TBT found at vintagetribune on Instagram

I came across another gem from the Vintage Tribune’s Instagram page. Hope everyone enjoys. 

vintage photo of early Chicago FD ambulance providers

Photo by Luigi Mendicino

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Chicago Fire Department history

This from Steve Redick:

If this ain’t a cool picture then I dunno what is. Photo by George Brown
vintage Chicago fire engine

George Brown photo

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Historic 4-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 2-14-62

This from Steve Redick:

I found my dad’s clippings of the 4-11 at 1365 E 70th St 2/14/62. As many of you may know this is the fire where Bob and Ray Hoff’s dad was killed. Since many were not old enough to recall this I am sending the clippings for your perusal. So many years later and the photos still bring tears to my eyes. Two wonderful families totally devastated.
Steve
historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

historic newspaper clipping of fatal Chicago fire

click to download larger file

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Historic 2-11 Alarm fire in Chicago, 6-10-87

This from Steve Redick:

I opened up the archives again – 6/10/87 For those keeping score its Mario Cabrera and Art Benker on fire alarm side of  the radio. The late Duke Schneider on engine 112.

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Chicago FD history

This from Steve Redick for #TBT:

This is a fun memory. Engine 25 and Snorkel 4 in front of the brand new fire academy in 1961. My dad can be seen in the basket, he’s the one on the right with the glasses. This was a postcard. I have seen it around over the years but I wonder how many were actually produced.

Steve

vintage Chicago FD postcard

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Of interest … South Holland firefighters visit retired Chicago firefighter

Excerpts from the chicagotribune.com:

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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Chicago Fire Department history, 3-11 Alarm fire at the Museum of Science and Industry 1963 (more)

This from Steve Redick:

Thanks to Hank Sajovic for sharing the FAO tab and box card for my earlier post on the 3-11 at the museum.
Steve
 
historic CFD ledger from 1963

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historic CFD ledger from 1963

click to download a larger file

historic Chicago Fire Department box card from 1963

click to download a larger file

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Chicago Fire Department history

This from Austin Lawler:

I came across yet another interesting photo of the CFD. I for one had no clue there was an award given to a fire dog. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys this unusual gem. 
 
Regards,
 
Austin
Chicago Fire Department dog receives award

from vintage tribune on Instagram

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Chicago Fire Department history, Union Stockyards Fire 5-19-34

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com with many photos:

Chief Fire Marshal Michael Corrigan feared he was witnessing an apocalypse when flames raced across a labyrinth of livestock pens on Chicago’s South Side, 85 years ago.

“At one time I thought its destination was Lake Michigan,” he told a Tribune reporter at the scene. “It was coming toward us so fast and the air was so hot no human could stand in its way. I sent in a call for 40 fire companies immediately.”

The Union Stock Yards fire of May 19, 1934, was second only to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 in its destruction. The smoke was seen by the crew of a United Airlines plane flying over South Bend, Indiana, 95 miles away. As the flight approached Midway Airport, Chicago virtually disappeared.

The stockyards that had prompted Carl Sandburg to dub Chicago the “Hog Butcher for the World” occupied about a square mile between Halsted Street, Ashland Avenue, 39th and 47th streets. To the east, the Bridgeport neighborhood narrowly escaped destruction when the flames leaped across Halsted. Firefighters carried dynamite, hoping to create firebreaks like those used to control forest fires. But before homes could be blown up, the fire got to them.

“From the saloons, the small groceries, the upper floor rooms, fled the terrorized workers and residents,” the Tribune reported. “So swift was the advance of the flames that firemen at times had to lay down their hose lines and flee to save themselves.”

A fire station inside the stockyards was destroyed, as were six fire engines, a hook and ladder, and 5,000 feet of hose.

At the time, a branch line ran from the South Side “L” bringing workers to the stockyards. The fire’s intense heat damaged the elevated structure, and the Halsted Street station burned down. When the line’s electricity was cut off, the crew abandoned an “L” car and it, too, was destroyed.

Just as had been the case in 1871, the fire of 1934 was preceded by a dry spell, which turned the stockyards’ wooden animal pens into tinder. The fire was attributed to a motorist throwing a lit cigarette out of the window while driving on a viaduct that carried Morgan Avenue over 43rd Street. It ignited a bunch of hay in a cattle pen below at 4:14 p.m. A worker said he’d often seen drivers doing just that.

One of the first to see the blaze was Isaac Means, a watchman. He shouted “Fire!” to nearby workers. As they fled, they saw Means stay behind, trying to rescue some of the animals. His body was found the next day in the fire’s debris.

Other employees mounted horses and drove sheep, cattle and horses to an improvised corral on a nearby playground. But 30 to 40 animals roamed nearby streets of the neighborhood when the instant cowboys returned to the yards to rescue more animals. 

Highland Stamp, the grand champion shorthorn bull of the previous year’s livestock show, was saved, as were eight award-winning cows. But the venue where they won their prizes was destroyed, along with several pens filled with cattle. The International Amphitheater would later be built on the site.

With the blaze raging uncontrollably, radio stations broadcast the fire marshal’s appeal for off-duty firefighters to report to the scene. Hundreds did so and were given hand pumps to sprinkle water on the roofs of buildings endangered by the blaze. Sirens wailed across the city, as five-sixths of Chicago’s pumpers and ladder trucks raced to the stockyards. Their vacated firehouses were staffed with units sent from Blue Island, Chicago Heights, Oak Lawn, Harvey, and other suburbs. With 200 Chicago police officers doing crowd control at the yards, volunteers manned their beats.

Leonard Smuezymski, an 11-year-old living near 40th Street and Racine Avenue, directed traffic at that intersection when he saw that the officer who usually did so was absent (passersby reported he did an excellent job). Several Boy Scouts troops carried drinking water to the firemen, and John Russell ministered to those who needed a stronger drink. The proprietor of a tavern at 4127 S. Halsted St., he donated five barrels of draft beer and a dozen cases of bottled beer to the firemen. Russell figured that with his business in the path of the fire, he might as well put its inventory to good use. As it happened, his tavern survived.

Other nearby structures did not. In the intense heat, there were explosions of gas tanks of automobiles parked in garages along Emerald and Union avenues, east of the stockyards. Jim O’Leary’s well-known gambling emporium, a two-story frame house at 4183 S. Halsted St., went up in flames. So, too, did the Stockyards Inn, a famed hotel at 42nd and Halsted streets; the Saddle and Sirloin Club, a block west of Halsted, where princes, presidents and other celebrity visitors to the stockyards had dined; and the New Exchange Building, where more than 100 commission firms had offices.

Radio station WAAF, located in the Exchange Building, was knocked off the air, and seven firemen were trapped on its roof, nine floors above the ground. An 85-foot aerial ladder was raised, but proved too short to reach the men. They were about to jump when Lt. Thomas Morrissey carried a 30-pound pompier ladder up the aerial ladder. A pompier has a large, curved hook that can grab a window ledge or cornice. Its 15-foot length bridged the gap between the roof and the aerial ladder, the firemen climbed down it, and were saved. Morrissey had been off-duty, heard the radio call for help and volunteered for the dangerous rescue assignment. 

By 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the fire was controlled, but at midnight, firemen were still pouring water on isolated outbursts of flame. On Sunday, when the stockyards were closed, insurance adjusters and fire marshals estimated the fire’s cost: $8 million in lost property — that would be more than $150 million today — and 50 people injured, most of them firemen overcome by smoke or suffering burns. Means, the watchman who stayed by his post after giving the alarm, was the only fatality. Between 400 and 1,000 livestock perished.

That Monday the stockyards opened for business, even as Fire Department snowplows were plowing away the wreckage, and 1,500 new workers were hired to rebuild and repair buildings and animal pens. Farmers were advised to hold back livestock destined for Chicago, and St. Louis offered to process some. But there was no way that Sandburg’s “City of The Broad Shoulders” was going to admit it needed help.

Amid smoking piles of debris and walls threatening to fall, trading resumed in Chicago.

“We’re getting along all right,” O.T. Henkle, the stockyards’ general manager, told the Tribune. “In ordinary times, of course, every commission merchant has his own pens out there (pointing to the south to a devastated area where only the blacked posts stood), but today they are all working together, cooperating, and the livestock is kept moving.”

Indeed, the day’s receipts were 12,000 cattle, 26,000 hogs and 5,000 sheep. All brought higher prices than they had at the precipitous closing of the market on Saturday.

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Chicago Fire Department history, 5-11 Alarm fire at O’Hare Field March 9, 1963 (more)

More from Steve Redick:

Hank Sajovic shared the fire alarm office extra alarm tab and box card with us for the 5-11 Alarm at O’Hare Field 3/9/63. It looks like the companies due on the 5-11 never went to work, look at the times. A friend who was on 56 that day says all 5-11 companies were held up as he recalls.
Steve
Chicago Fire Department history, 5-11 Alarm fire at O'Hare Field March 9, 1963
 
Chicago Fire Department history, 5-11 Alarm fire at O'Hare Field March 9, 1963
 
Chicago Fire Department history, 5-11 Alarm fire at O'Hare Field March 9, 1963
 
Chicago Fire Department history, 5-11 Alarm fire at O'Hare Field March 9, 1963

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