Posts Tagged Chicago Fire Department

Chicago Still & Box Alarm fire, 2-14-14 (more)

This from Dan Shevlin:

The Fire Alarm Office received one call from a cell phone reporting a building on fire at 33rd Str & Keeler.  A still was sent to this location.  Eng99 found nothing.  As it turns out the Cicero Fire Department was receiving the rest of the calls for 33rd Str & Kostner for a trucking company on fire.  Cicero Fire Dispatch contacted us on IFERN & the location was corrected.

winter fire scene in Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

fire scene with trucks at dawn

Dan Shevlin photo

fire scene with trucks at dawn

Dan Shevlin photo

firefighter with hose at a winter fire scene at night

Dan Shevlin photo

fire scene with trucks at dawn

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago FD Spartan fire engine

Dan Shevlin photo

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Chicago Still & Box Alarm fire, 1/9/14

From Dan Shevlin:

Still & Box Alarm Cicero & Quincy.  Still time 0630.  2-story, ordinary, 25 x 50, fire on the 2nd floor & through the roof.  2 lines.

Dan Shevlin

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

winter fire scene photo from Chicago

Dan Shevlin photo

**Webmaster note: Another late post. Lost in the queue again.

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Chicago Still & Box Alarm fire, 2-14-14

Chicago had a Still & Box Alarm fire this morning at 3235 S. Kostner. Fire was through the roof and involved a corrugated one-story warehouse at a trucking company.

Here are some images from Gordon J. Nord, Jr. and Josh Boyajian.

winter fire scene at night

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

winter fire scene at night

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

firefighters with hose at a winter fire scene at night

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

fire scene with trucks at dawn

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

Chicago Snorkel at winter fire scene

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

Chicago FD Spartan fire engine

Gordon J. Nord, Jr. photo

fire scene at dusk

Josh Boyajian photo

fire scene at dusk

Josh Boyajian photo

fire scene at dusk

Josh Boyajian photo

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Chicago fire captain invents tool for high-rise fires

This from Chicagofirewire.com:

The Chicago Fire Department’s newest tool to battle high-rise fires was invented by one of its own, Capt. Michael Wielgat.

The 26-year veteran of the department has on his own time over the last eight years developed the device, a remote-controlled, periscopelike pipe that can extinguish high-rise fires from the floor below by spraying up to 625 gallons per minute through a window. He calls it the “Hero Pipe.”

“As the years went on, I kept investing more and more, and at one point I was so deep into it I just couldn’t stop,” said Wielgat, 49, from a bedroom inside the Near West Side fire station that he commands.

So far, Chicago has bought one pipe and New York has bought four. Both departments have deployed the devices this year.

And this month, Wielgat and a representative from the company that manufactures the pipe, Elkhart Brass, are traveling to Israel later this month. The country wants a closer look. “We were fortunate that they stumbled across this,” said Eric Combs, Elkhart Brass’s director of marketing.

Although the Hero Pipe is only designed for high-rise fires, “there’s no product like [it],” Combs said. “This is insurance against that potentially extremely devastating fire.” Wielgat said officials in Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai and Mumbai, India, also have shown interest.

He said he first came up with the idea after witnessing as a firefighter the deadly 2003 fire in a Cook County office building at 69 W. Washington St. Then, about a year later, he saw another high-rise fire rip through the 29th floor of the LaSalle Bank building in the Loop.

The flames were out of reach of the department’s ladder trucks, and he said firefighters had a hard time controlling the dangerous blazes in close quarters from inside the buildings. So he started tinkering in his garage and built a prototype — then another, and another. The single father of three children took out a second mortgage on his Beverly home to keep the project going.

“I honestly thought the project would be a six- or eight-month project, and I’d be done,” he said. “It ended up being an eight-year process.” He said he hasn’t seen a return on his investment yet, but is hopeful he will soon because of  the device’s potential to save lives and property.

During the LaSalle Bank building fire, he said, flames gradually shot out of more and more windows “until there was about eight windows burning.” He said the fire that burned for 3½ hours “would have been out in the first 30 minutes” with the Hero Pipe.

Chicago Fire Department Lt. Ted Kramer said Wielgat’s invention is known throughout the department’s ranks. “It gives us definitely a sense of pride that one of our own is able to do that,” said the 38-year-old, who met Wielgat on his first assignment 17 years ago. “It’s a tool that we can really stand behind because it’s not some engineer in a lab that’s creating this. It’s a fireman who has real field experience.”

New York’s firefighters know of it as well. “I’ve been in the fire department for over 20 years,” said Capt. Mark Driscoll, who trains New York firefighters. “Guys have ideas all the time, [but] it’s very rare a guy takes his idea and an actual tool comes out of it.”

But the $50,000 device is a tough sell to cash-strapped cities.

Chicago has its one Hero Pipe placed with the city’s other high-rise firefighting gear at Wielgat’s station. The gear is sent to every confirmed high-rise fire.

A lot of attention was brought to high-rise fire safety this year when Illinois Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis proposed refitting every high-rise building in the city with costly fire sprinklers. He quickly backed down from his proposal at the urging of high-rise dwellers and politicians.

“Most fires in high-rises, if you close the door, will burn themselves out,” said Mark Nielsen, the Chicago Fire Department’s assistant deputy fire commissioner, at a safety meeting with Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) and condo owners in October. But when a door is left open, and wind fuels the fire from an open window, the fire could spread to hallways, he said.

He said neither New York nor Chicago has used the Hero Pipe on a fire outside of testing and training. “I know one day it’s going to put out a really bad fire, and that’s going to be the happiest day of my life — ’cause I’m really going to see it doing its job and protecting firemen and saving lives,” he said.

thanks Dan

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Does Chicago have a shortage of ambulances?

Pam Zekman from CBSChicago did a piece the other night on the state of the Chicago FD ambulance fleet and EMS responses:

If you have a life-threatening condition will the city get an ambulance to you in time?

CBS 2?s Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association investigated and found they may not. That’s why paramedics say the city needs more paramedics and ambulances.

Take the case of Lynn Ramos. She was crossing Washington Street in the Loop last month when she was struck by a 2-ton postal truck. Fire engines with a paramedic on board arrived in about four minutes to extricate her from under a wheel of the truck. In recorded calls, one of them can be heard asking a city dispatcher why an ambulance hasn’t shown up yet. Ambulances housed closer to the downtown were not available. The vehicle that was available was five miles away and took 16 minutes to get there — 10 minutes longer than state guidelines suggest. The injured Ramos was suffering from a punctured lung; one fractured leg and the other broken in two places; a fractured pelvis and ribs.

The delay never should have happened, says Paramedic Field Chief Patrick Fitzmaurice. “We don’t have enough ambulances,” he says.

The city says it meets state standards by getting a fire engine with a paramedic and advanced life support equipment to the scene within six minutes to stabilize a patient until an ambulance arrives.

“It may take 10 to 15 minutes for an ambulance to show up after that,” said another paramedic, who asked CBS 2 to conceal his identity. ”And, depending on what’s wrong with the person, those minutes are critical.”

He’s one of more than a half dozen paramedics who tells CBS 2 that’s not good enough for people suffering from life-threatening conditions.

A stroke patient, for example, needs to be taken to a stroke center where their condition can be assessed and drugs given to eliminate the deficits they may suffer, he says. A gunshot victim, accident victims with internal injuries “need a surgeon to repair what their problem is,” says the other paramedic. “Time is of the essence.”

An audit by the city’s inspector general highlights the problem. It found that the city’s medical response times did not meet the standards recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA says advanced life support equipment should get to a medical emergency within five minutes from the time it is dispatched 90 percent of the time. The inspector general found the city only met that standard 58 percent of the time.

“Taxpayer money for critical services are at the core of what we pay our taxes to do,” Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said. “And to the extent that our office looked at it, it appears that it is being done at a much lower level than what the fire department was claiming.”

Ferguson says the fire department first told his office they use the NFPA standards but then said they did not. And the report criticized the methods the fire department used to calculate its performance, saying, “No one has any idea truly how well it is performing a core mission.”

Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association says. “… peoples’ lives will be imperiled if they don’t get the right ambulances and the right trained personnel to the scene quickly enough.” 

And that’s a daily struggle for dispatchers, paramedics like Fitzmaurice say. “There are times they literally just get on the radio and say, ‘I have no ambulances. … Can anybody go?’”

In a written statement, Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago disagrees there is an ambulance shortage. “The Fire department takes its calls for medical assistance very seriously and does not have a shortage of ambulances,” he said. Santiago also said the department plans to hire more paramedics this year, “after a temporary delay due to our updating testing requirements.”

“We are fully staffed every day with a mix of paramedics working straight time and overtime, the majority of which is voluntary. This allows us to respond quickly to start care and transport patients,” he says. In response to questions, a spokesman said the department would hire enough paramedics to reduce the $7 million it had to pay in overtime last year.

And the department is already tracking the response times of ALS ambulances to see how they can be utilized more efficiently and whether they need to move the headquarters for some of them to meet increased demands.

This from Bill Post:

This is a problem that most of us have known about for a while already however the ALS Engines and Trucks have been arriving on the scene much sooner which is the reason for the ALS fire company program. If you look at the video and the story you will see that one of the EMS field supervisors was willing to go on camera to confirm the story. That is unusual as he is an employee of the CFD . If you’ll notice the second CFD employee in the report chose not to be identified.

thanks Dan & Bill

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Chicago Still Box at Irving & Whipple, 1-22-14

This from Dan Shevlin:

Still & Box Alarm Irving Park & Whipple.  50 x 125,  1 story ordinary car wash.  Smoke showing on arrival.  A couple frozen hydrants & the 10th battalion asked for the box.  Once the joint was opened up I think they found an auto burning.  124 had a line off & Truck 38 was opening the roof.  Still time was around 0700 and it was 9 degrees out.
Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Chicago winter fire scene

Dan Shevlin photo

Apologies from the webmaster for the delayed posting.

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Chicago FD settles lawsuit

The Chicago Sun Times has an article about a lawsuit settlement on behalf of the Chicago Fire Department

Chicago Fire Department Settles Fatal Gurney Accident Case

The family of a chronically ill woman who fell off a gurney, hit her head and died because it was being pushed by one paramedic instead of two is in line for a $300,000 settlement.

Chicago Fire Department policy stipulates that ambulance gurneys be pushed by two paramedics – one at the head of the patient, the other at the feet – to keep the gurney stable in the event it rolls across a depression or imperfection.

That’s not what happened Sept. 4, 2009, in the 5200 block of North Rivers Edge Drive after an ambulance was summoned to assist 74-year-old Mary Strazz, who was having trouble breathing.

“They all knew the policy. They didn’t follow it. They had the smallest member of the crew pushing the gurney” by himself, said Jeff Comeau, an attorney representing the dead woman’s family. “He pushed it into a depression or hole in the parking lot and lost control of the gurney. It tipped over. She struck her head on the pavement and died several days later.”

Although the paramedics denied having violated their own policy, Comeau said their argument was destroyed by the deposition of a condominium resident, who watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded. “He testified that it looked to him like a fraternity hazing,” Comeau said.

“They had three or four very large, strong-looking firemen or paramedics who just stood there watching while the smallest member of the crew pushed the gurney by himself. . . . With conscious disregard for the suffering of the patient, they violated their own policy.”

The $300,000 settlement is expected to be approved Monday by the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Mary Strazz is the mother of the city’s Deputy Planning and Development Commissioner Peter Strazzabosco, who refused to comment on the settlement.

thanks Scott and Dan

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Chicago working fire, 2-2-14

Images from Tim Olk of Chicago firefighters working an alley garage at 48th And Damen on Sunday, February 2nd.

firefighters working garage fire in the snow

Tim Olk photo

firefighters working garage fire in the snow

Tim Olk photo

firefighters working garage fire in the snow

Tim Olk photo

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Chicago 2-11 Alarm fire, 1-26-14 (more)

More images from Steve Redick of the 2-11 Alarm fire on 1-26-14 at 5601 W. Irving Park Road.

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

fire hydrant in snow being used

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

firemen battle night fire in the snow

Steve Redick photo

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

fire trucks at night fire scene with blowing snow

Steve Redick photo

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Chicago Still and Box @23rd and Lawndale 1-29-14

This fro Josh Boyajian:

Here are my pictures from the Still and Box last night at 23rd & Lawndale.

Thanks
Josh

Chicago rehabbed two-flat on fire

Josh Boyajian photo

firemen cut steel fence at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

flames shoot from the roof of a building at night

Josh Boyajian photo

fireman inside burning building

Josh Boyajian photo

fire hydrant in the snow

Josh Boyajian photo

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