Posts Tagged Decatur Fire Department

Decatur Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Decatur firefighters were sent Tuesday to a boarded-up, three story commercial structure at 1891 N. Water St. where flames had started at an area along the back of the structure at the roof line. Firefighters responders had the fire under control in about 20 minutes.  While on scene, a car hit the fire truck which was mostly unscathed, but firefighters responders said the car sustained heavy damage. The driver, a 50-year-old man, received at least one citation.

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Decatur Fire Department news

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Karla L. Dillon died at 8:44 a.m. in a fire in the 1700 block of North 33rd St. in Decatur. The Decatur Fire Department said it was called just before 7 a.m. Saturday and a neighbor told firefighters that someone was inside the house. Smoke and fire were evident from the outside when firefighters arrived on the scene. They extinguished the fire in the living room and searched the house, finding the occupant in a hallway.

One dog also died, and another was revived with a PET mask. Three cats had hidden in a crawl space and also survived. 

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Decatur Fire Department news

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Funeral arrangements have been announced for Firefighter Tom Brauer, a 27-year veteran of the Decatur Fire Department, who passed away while off-duty in his home.

A visitation will be held Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at #1 Bachrach Ct. in Decatur. Firefighter lineup will begin at 11:30 for a walk-through at noon.

A memorial service will immediately follow the visitation.

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Decatur Fire Department news

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Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? Most Americans can still recall exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.

Now, we are two weeks away from the 16th anniversary of the tragedy. New York Firefighter Tim Duffy, remembers every second of what he was doing when he found out the World Trade Center had been attacked.

Duffy says, “That morning I was actually doing a tune up on the bike, and I had a spark plug out when I heard the first explosion. It sounded far away and I wasn’t working so I continued working on the bike, but then I heard sirens and the sirens didn’t stop after 10, 15, 20 seconds they just got  more and more. So I knew something happened so I ran into the house to call the fire house to see what was going on. As I reached for the phone it started ringing, my wife was dropping off my kids at the Y for pre-k, and she said a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I lived right on the beach near the horizontal bridge, and I could see it from my kitchen window so I turned and saw the North tower burning. So I was trying to get off the phone to go and of course she was telling me ‘You’re off today, you don’t have to go.’ And she’s trying to keep me there and then the second plane hit, and so I told her I gotta go, I’ll see you later.”

Duffy might be known for being one of the many firefighters on scene that day, but he is also known for a picture that was snapped of him riding his motorcycle through an empty, debris-filled street on his way to the destruction.

The picture brings back his memories, “It’s right when I got off the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s right behind the Millennium hotel, which across the street from the North Tower. I made that turn and when you look at the picture you can see a ray of light coming from the East. I made the right hand turn to head to the Trade Center which was a block. Actually when I got to the corner of Church, there was an engine from one of the planes that was all banged up and it was standing upright on it’s cone. It was very surreal and real.”

Tim says it was his sole job to keep people safe. He says, “People were dying and I had a job to do. It’s just that simple. I lost 50 friends in the first hour, 343 boys I worked with and were losing on average about 2-3 boys a month to cancer. Just last week we lost 4 guys in one week.”

Duffy reluctantly retired from the fire department in 2004 after he says he hid from medical as long as he could. Now, Tim is in Central Illinois visiting a friend who introduced him to Riki Dial, a Carpenters Local volunteer for the Decatur 9/11 Memorial.

Riki says, “It was a freak chance, a freak opportunity. I was at home yesterday, Sunday afternoon. My next door neighbor Mark Teak came over and told me ‘Hey I’ve got someone over here I’d really like to introduce you to.’ So I went over and had a beer with Mark and Tim and listened to Tim’s story and just how amazing it was. I kept thinking how it would tie in very good with the memorial that we’re building here in Decatur.”

So Tim headed to Nelson Park and was amazed and thankful that Decatur will continue to remember the lives lost on that tragic day of September 11, 2001.

Today, Tim says he wants to continue helping people, so now he is a part of 1 Soldier, 1 Dog, 1 Team, a 501 C (3) that pairs veterans with PTSD with dogs. He says they do not buy dogs, but they get them from shelters, so at the end of the day, they save a soldier and a dog.

Tim Duffy says he hopes to come back to Decatur once the Memorial is completed to see it lit up.

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Decatur Fire Department news

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A fallen firefighter’s children were honored on their first day of school.

Micah Wakeman died in a tractor accident on June 12. The 43-year-old spent a long career working for the Decatur Fire Department as a firefighter, leaving behind a wife and four children. 

On Wednesday, other firefighters gave two of them an escort to school.

People who knew Wakeman say he carried a strong presence in the Decatur community. DFD Firefighter Doug Neff previously told WAND-TV the man was “full of life” and “didn’t know a stranger”. Decatur school leaders echoed the sentiment.

“He helped us out a little bit with EMT training for the teachers several times,” said Mt. Pulaski Elementary School Principal Gene Newton. “He was in the office quite a bit. Anything we needed, he’d help out. He was very active in the local church that a lot of our kids are involved in, so all the kids knew him … he was just a very prominent person in the community.”   

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Decatur Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Decatur FD Engine 6 that Firefighter Micah “Bubba” Wakeman rode to the rescue of countless others carried him on his final journey home Tuesday. The 16-year department veteran, who lived in Mount Pulaski and also loved farming, died in a tractor rollover accident June 13. The married father of four children was just 43.

Wakeman’s colleagues and fellow firefighters from all over Central Illinois paid their respects and offered him one last salute. Then an honor guard carried their friend from the church as other hands rose in a slow-motion salute. Proceeding slowly, and led by squad cars, symbolically one each from Decatur Police and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the funeral procession moved off.

It was filled with other fire, police, and emergency vehicles as it wound its way on the 3-mile journey to the interment in Warrensburg. The funeral procession passed under a ceremonial arch formed by two aerial ladder trucks supporting an American flag snapping smartly in the breeze. The bright weather had matched the upbeat tone of Wakeman’s funeral service, which was described as a tribute to an extraordinary life well-lived rather than mourning one cut short far too soon.

Wakeman’s friend Tracy Dyer said “This is not a funeral, this is a celebration … of how one not-so-little man has made an impact here and all over the world from Uganda to Haiti, to Guatemala to the Ukraine …”

Wakeman’s strong Christian faith had led him on missions work to those countries and others and to serve as a foster parent for kids in need. He was described as a caring, conscientious, and hardworking man who spent almost every waking moment lending others a hand. 

And while the atmosphere was upbeat with occasional laughter at funny stories and memories, the sadness at the departure of a good and well-loved man was there, too. Sobbing from the mourners could be heard as a message was read out from 20-year-old daughter Ashton to her dad, describing how, for once, she was lost for words to say how she was feeling.

“But the thing I can think to say, and the thing that I think we all need to say, is ‘thank you’ … thank you, God, for letting us have some of my daddy in our lives, because not many people are blessed with a Micah Wakeman …”

There were more tears punctuating an intense quiet that fell over the church sanctuary at the end of the service as a lone firefighter prepared to ring a bell nine times in three sets of three rings, the traditional way firefighters salute and bid farewell to a comrade.

In a show of solidarity and support, firefighters from Springfield and Champaign covered fire stations in Decatur on Tuesday so Decatur firefighters could attend the service. The number of Decatur firefighters present, active duty and retired, numbered more than 100.

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New engine for Decatur

This from Bill Fricker:

Here’s a photo of the new pumper for Decatur, IL Engine Co. 1. – 2016 Pierce Impel ( 29142 ) 1,500-gpm /500-gbt
Bill Fricker photo
Pierce Impel fire engine in Decatur IL

Decatur, IL Engine Co. 1.
– 2016 Pierce Impel so 29142, 1,500-gpm /500-gbt
Bill Fricker photo

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Area apparatus on order

Decatur Fire Department: Pierce Impel pumper; 1,500-gpm pump; 500-gallon tank. Delivery in February 2016.

Elgin Fire Department: E-ONE Typhoon pumper; 1,500-gpm pump; 530-gallon tank. Delivery in November.

Elmhurst Fire Department: E-ONE Cyclone II, 95-foot rear-mount aerial tower ladder; 1,500-gpm pump; 300-gallon tank. Delivery in January 2016.
Niles Fire Department: Pierce Dash CF PUC pumper; 1,500-gpm pump; 500-gallon tank; 20-gallon foam cell; Husky 12 Class A foam system. Delivery in February 2016.
Pontiac Rural Fire Protection District: Alexis flatbed brush truck with a Ford F-550 cab and chassis; Waterous PB18-3030LE portable pump with 21-hp Kubota engine; 300-gallon tank; 12-gallon foam cell. Delivery in September.
Skokie Fire Department: Pierce Dash CF 100-foot platform quint; 1,500-gpm pump; 300-gallon tank. Delivery in February 2016.

Thanks Ron

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Decatur to layoff 6 firefighters

The has an article about budget deficits in Decatur which will result in layoffs throughout several city departments, including the fire department.

City Manager Ryan McCrady said Friday that the city will cut 20 positions, including six firefighters, to close a $1.6 million gap in next year’s budget.

Twelve people are being laid off, and eight currently or soon-to-be vacant positions will be eliminated, McCrady said. The employees were notified this week, with the cuts to take effect near the end of the city’s fiscal year on Dec. 31.

All departments are likely to be affected, except for police, which typically does not spend its entire personnel budget, and water, which is funded separately by user fees, he said.

The deficit in McCrady’s budget proposal comes from a projection that revenues such as sales and food and beverage taxes will remain flat. Expenses continue to rise, including a 10 percent jump in pension costs.

In addition to the firefighters, the positions include two senior clerk typists, four clerk typists, a human relations officer, human resources training officer, plan examiner, plan development manager, senior long-range planner, a rehab construction specialist and two engineering technicians.

Four of the firefighter positions were vacant, McCrady said. The cuts will not result in closing any of the city’s seven fire stations, but they will mean more “brownout” procedures, when a fire engine is shut down. Instead of nine companies, the city will operate eight companies at a time, he said.

“If we had a situation where we had multiple fires going on at one time, there could be a higher response time to something, but it’s hard to say because you never know for sure what the situation is going to be,” McCrady said. “… I’m not saying it’s great to run eight companies. I’m not saying that’s optimum, but we do believe we can protect the city and operate in that way.”

At 490 employees, the city’s work force is already down from the 576 people it employed five years ago.

The city’s operating budget has taken more hits in recent years because of rising pension contributions. City council members have not wanted to raise property taxes to pay for the increases, though Mayor Mike McElroy recently said the city could not continue to cut forever.

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