Posts Tagged Dekalb Fire Department

Dekalb Fire Department history

Excerpts from the

The DeKalb Fire Department has been a cornerstone of the DeKalb community for almost 150 years, saving lives and property. For October’s Local Lore presentation, the Ellwood House Museum will welcome Capt. Luke Howieson of the DeKalb Fire Department.

Howieson will outline the history of the fire department, from the beginning as a volunteer fire company in 1869 to the ready-for-anything, trained and equipped career department it is today. This presentation also will focus on the connections between the fire department and the Ellwood family. Several historical artifacts and photos will be on hand for viewing, as well as antique and modern fire equipment.

In honor of Fire Prevention Month, the presentation will be at noon Oct. 20 at the Ellwood House Museum Visitor Center, 509 N. First St. in DeKalb. The event is free of charge and visitors are welcome to bring a sack lunch.

Local Lore is a series of adult lectures. Each month – March through November – a knowledgeable guest speaker presents a unique one-hour program relating to DeKalb County history. Lectures are free to attend. This year, Local Lore is being presented in partnership with DeKalb area historic sites and museums, including Glidden Homestead, Gurler Heritage Association, Egyptian Theatre, Joiner History Room and DAAHA. The series is funded in part by the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

Tags: , , ,

2-Alarm fire in Dekalb, 9-16-17

This from Andy Russell:

I took in a fire Saturday night in Dekalb.  The fire was at 201 N 6th Street.  It’s a 2-story commercial building that had a deli/bakery on the first floor where the fire was located.  There was a lot of smoke and the crews did a great job of getting in and getting it knocked down quickly.  It was upgraded to a 2nd alarm, but only the box alarm companies were used.  
Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Dekalb fire scene

Andy Russell photo

Tags: , , ,

Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

DeKalb Firefighter/Paramedic Jared Thorp, 28, was the first member of his department to earn the state’s highest honor for a firefighter, which he received at the Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Awards on May 9 in Springfield.

He and his girlfriend were running errands the evening of July 5, 2016. His scanner went off, reporting two people trapped in a burning house on North 14th Street, just south of Dresser Road. It turns out there was only one, Thorp learned from the rest of the family outside. He entered the house, went up the stairs and located the boy in the first bedroom on the left.

“He was stuck kind of behind the door, so I had to force the door open,” Thorp said.

He was able to roll the boy a couple of times to get the door open, but was quickly overcome by the smoke, so he made his way back to the front porch. Hearing sirens, he checked to see whether any engines were in sight … and went back inside.

“I knew I only had a few seconds to make it back up there and see if I could do something,” Thorp said. “Conditions had changed drastically since I’d come back down. Way more heat, way more smoke. Visibility was out the window. I decided instead of making myself another victim, I’d come back down.”

DeKalb Truck Co. 1 and Engine Co. 2 arrived and completed the rescue. Firefighters Jon Ritter and Matt Holuj carried the boy down the stairs and put him on a cot outside, then threw their coats and packs off and worked the patient in the ambulance.

“You can’t ever speculate, but it could have taken them the extra time,” Thorp said. “They wouldn’t have known exactly where to go. They might have searched other rooms, and that probably would have added another minute or two. It’s just one of those things where you’re just geared as a fireman, you’re cranked up and know what’s going on. You look at the house and [can] tell you have some time.”

The two companies also were honored in Springfield. 

“That was a great feeling,” Ritter said. “It’s not every day you get to pull someone out of a fire, let alone have it be a successful mission.”

Thorp signed up for the job because his dad, Bruce, did, as a volunteer with the Hinckley Fire Protection District. He still serves on its board of trustees. Jared, who still lives in Hinckley, started classes at Indian Valley Vocational Center and was in the Hinckley department’s cadet program at age 16 – and right up until he joined the DeKalb department in 2012.

Thorp was one of three to receive the Medal of Honor, and he became the department’s second individual honoree – Joe Cahill received the Valor Award in the early 2000s.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing in your career,” Thorp said. “I work with a great group of guys who make me look good. They did all the dirty work. It’s an honor to come to work every day and serve the citizens. Obviously, we don’t sign up in this career to look for awards.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , ,

Dekalb Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The DeKalb Fire Department secured a $239,000 federal grant to buy a mobile training tower for high-rise fires and the city of DeKalb provided a $21,727 match.

Having the mobile tower gives the fire department permanent training equipment, as well as a tool to learn how to fight fires in taller structures. Officials said the DeKalb area has some 30 buildings that would be considered high-rise.  The mobile tower is about the height of a four-story building. It is equipped with a four-landing staircase, six windows, a smoke machine, standpipe and sprinkler systems, and a confined space simulator.

The money for the mobile tower came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The annually awarded grants are for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operations efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.

Historically, the fire department has relied on donations of houses and other structure that were to eventually be demolished to use for training. Although the home donations are unpredictable and sometimes sporadic, even with now having the mobile tower, the homes are still needed.

The tower is currently housed at the DeKalb Municipal Airport, but can be dropped off at any of the department’s three stations to conduct training drills. Firefighters have not begun training in the mobile tower yet, but they will start in the coming weeks. DFD is looking for a permanent storage space for the tower, especially since it has to be stored indoors during the winter months.

DeKalb fire officials plan to allow other fire departments in the county to use the tower for training.

“Right now, DeKalb (county) fire departments, even though we work very well together, we don’t train together. This is really going to help us to strengthen that bond,” said Jeff McMaster, DeKalb deputy fire chief.


Tags: , , ,

New aerial for Dekalb (more)

Excerpts from the

The DeKalb Fire Department is inviting the community to a dedication ceremony for the city’s newest fire truck.

The dedication ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Fire Station 1, 700 Pine St., DeKalb.

The city spent $420,000 last year to buy the 2008 Pierce Quantum 105-foot aerial ladder truck. Northern Illinois University contributed $275,000 as part of its fire service agreement with the city.

The new truck replaces a 1990, 102-foot Grumman AerialCat, nicknamed “Big John,” after 26 years of service that was  named for former DeKalb Fire Department Capt. John Isom, who was influential in the design of the truck.  He died from a fire service-related illness before the truck was put into service. The city bought Big John for $473,000 in 1990.

The new truck will be named “Rip Roaring” as a tribute to former DeKalb Fire Chief Albert “Al” Riippi.  The name was chosen by the community in a voting contest. “Rip Roaring” won the contest with 77 percent of the 636 votes, beating out “Spirit of DeKalb” and “The Baron.”

Riippi first joined the fire department in 1949 after serving in the U.S. Navy and retired in 1986 after almost 30 years of service. He left the city in 1952, but later returned and rejoined the fire department in 1959. He was appointed acting chief in late 1978 and was made the permanent chief the following year.

After the ceremony, firefighters will be available to answer questions and give tours of the station and fire equipment.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New aerial for Dekalb (more)

Excerpts from the

Dekalb Fire Department officials are holding a communitywide contest to name their new ladder truck and have selected three options for the public to vote on.

The department bought the replacement ladder truck for $420,000 last year with Northern Illinois University contributing $275,000 as part of its fire service agreement with the city.

Firefighters have been training on the new truck, and it will hit the streets around the beginning of May, after the name is revealed.

“Fire departments throughout the county do these sorts of things,” said Pat Erikson, DeKalb firefighter/paramedic and public relations coordinator. “We wanted to continue that tradition in DeKalb. … and to make the community as much a part of the tradition as we are.”

The three concepts the department have chosen are “ ‘RIP’ Roaring,” “Spirit of DeKalb” and “The Baron.”

The first concept is dedicated to former Fire Chief Albert “RIP” Riippi who grew up in DeKalb and played football with Northern Illinois University and joined the fire department in 1959 and retired as chief in 1986.

“Spirit of DeKalb” is meant to incorporate the entire community and what DeKalb stands for, Erikson said.

“The spirit of DeKalb is not just a phrase,” he wrote on the concept plan. “It’s a philosophy that embodies the members of the community and all the members of the DeKalb Fire Department.”

“The Baron” is dedicated to the city’s namesake Baron de Kalb, a French military officer and major general who served in the Continental Army during the revolutionary war.

Community members can vote on the city’s website at Voting is open through April 18.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

New aerial for Dekalb


The new aerial ladder truck just came back from being detailed with the City of DeKalb colors and logos.  A new feature on the design is the #proudlydekalb logo.  DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks stated, “The DeKalb Fire Department is an active supporter within the community from emergency response to community service. Because we believe DeKalb is “America’s Best City” we have prominently displayed #proudlydekalb on our new ladder truck.”

The new aerial ladder truck was purchased from a department in Florida with financial assistance from Northern Illinois University.  The new truck cost $420,000 with $275,000 coming from NIU.  This new addition to the DeKalb Fire Department is another example of the City of DeKalb and Northern Illinois University working together for the good of the community.

“With the residence towers and other high-rise buildings, you need something like that in the unlikely event of a fire,” NIU spokesman Paul Palian said. “Not only to put out a fire, but perhaps a rescue.”

Because DeKalb’s aerial ladder truck is the only means in the immediate area for firefighters to battle fires from above the truck appears at all fires in the city and many of them in cities such as Sycamore, Genoa or Malta.

After almost 26 years of service the previous aerial ladder truck “Big John” was ready to be retired after responding to more than 2,000 fires.  The truck, which was custom built for the city in 1989, was named after captain John Isom, who died of cancer the year the truck was delivered.

thanks Dan

new fire truck for Dekalb FD in IL

Former Weston FL Pierce Quantum tower ladder now serving Dekalb, IL. Dekalb photo

new fire truck for Dekalb FD in IL

Dekalb photo

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dekalb to buy used aerial

Excerpts from the

After working longer and responding to more fires than most DeKalb firefighters, Big John is ready to retire. Big John is DeKalb’s aerial ladder truck. After almost 26 years, the city plans to retire the truck and buy a used one from a department in Florida with financial assistance from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said. The truck, which was built in 1989, was named after Captain John Isom, who died of cancer the year the truck was delivered.

“A vehicle that’s 26 years old, you almost think of it as a member of the department,” Hicks said. “It’s a high-profile vehicle. People know it, whether by name or as something else.”

The city’s new truck will cost $420,000, with $275,000 coming from NIU, and the remainder from city funds. Hicks said the city explored several options, including buying a new truck, which would have cost about $1 million. The city also discussed refurbishing Big John for about $650,000.

From the Dekalb Facebook page:

Our new truck made it home from Florida and is now awaiting decals. Looks pretty good in its new home!

Weston Fire Department tower ladder

Dekalb Fire Department Facebook page

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dekalb works toward creating a fire museum

Excerpts from

A local foundation plans to create a museum to house the DeKalb Fire Department’s artifacts, some of which date back to the department’s creation nearly 150 years ago.

The DeKalb Firefighters Historical Foundation, which was created four years ago to preserve the history of the department and its connection to DeKalb and NIU, is fundraising to purchase a building for the museum, said Patrick Eriksen, DeKalb firefighter and paramedic.

“The museum and the creation of the historical foundation kinda’ all came together hand in hand,” Eriksen said. “We’re going to be coming up on our 150th anniversary of the fire department, and we’ve acquired a lot of artifacts … both big, as far as old vehicles, old rigs … even all the way down to the smallest thing like badges from history past.”

The DeKalb Fire Department was founded on a volunteer basis in 1869 and became a full time fire department in 1904.

One of the department’s most prized possessions is a vintage dispatch board, which is comprised of a series of levers that produce a ticker tape that was used to determine the address of an emergency. There are only two left in the country, Eriksen said.

“For me to not only continue on that tradition, but to do it in a town that I’ve always wanted to do since I started thinking about doing this venture, it’s pretty important, pretty special to me,” Eriksen said.

The fire department is currently talking with the city about a property that can’t be disclosed at this time, said Lieutenant Todd Stoffa, who chairs the foundation.

The foundation is looking at, a couple different options to make things go forward in regard to the building.

The fire department will hold its fourth Annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday to raise funds for the foundation.  The breakfast will cost $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 4 to 10 and free for children under 4. Tickets will be available at the event.

Proceeds from the breakfast will go towards purchasing the building that will house the museum, and then towards ongoing maintenance and infrastructure for the museum through the historical foundation.

“Once we get past that then we might be able to utilize those funds in many other means,” Eriksen said.

In addition to members of the fire department cooking breakfast for guests, the event will also have an open house tour of the station, an inflatable jump house, and a smoke trailer to coincide with fire prevention month, among other things.

The breakfast will run 8 a.m. to noon at the DeKalb Fire Department, Station 1, 700 Pine St. Contact Adam Miller at 815-748-8649 for more information about the breakfast.

Tags: , ,