Posts Tagged East St. Louis Fire Department

Fatal fire in East St Louis, 8-6-21

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Five children died in a fire Friday morning in an apartment building in East St. Louis, Illinois. The fire started after the mother of the five children went to pick up another adult from work.

When she returned home, she tried to get the children out herself, but was unsuccessful. Four children were pronounced dead at the scene. The fifth child died on the way to the hospital.

The fire started at about 3:45 a.m. It is unclear if the building had working smoke alarms. The Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Illinois State Police Department are investigating the fire.

The children have been identified as Deontay Davis, Jr., 9, twins Heaven and Nevaeh, 8, Jabari Johnson, 4, and Loyal Dunigan, 2.

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East St Louis Fire Department news

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The city of East St. Louis announced Tuesday it would lay off nine firefighters at the end of the month and temporarily shut down a fire station Nov. 1 at 1700 Central Avenue.

The city manager said in a letter to a firefighter that the city had to make difficult decisions amid a $5.5 million deficit in the city budget. In the layoff notice, the manager cited the city’s handbook for firefighters, which says the city may separate any employee because of lack of funds. The affected firefighters were told to turn in their uniforms and other city belongings at the end of the month.

In a city of about 26,000 people in 14 square miles, the fire department has long been troubled by layoffs and budget deficits. Following a 2013 ruling from the Illinois Labor Relations Board, the city was ordered to pay firefighters a total of $382,259.82 for lost wages, pension contributions, medical contributions, and more.  The labor board found the city to have violated its contract by reducing the number of total staff and not offering the same wage increase as it did to the police bargaining unit.

East St. Louis announced in 2013 it would lay off about a third of the department, but a month later the city avoided cuts after coming to an agreement with the union.

“This is a very difficult decision that had to be made in order to sustain city operations for the next few months,” a statement said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, with 100% of the city’s state revenues being redirected to the police and fire pensions, we are faced with the difficult task of strategically reducing some services in order to continue to meet our financial obligations for the next few months.”

The firefighters’ union contract ended in 2015, and the union and city have not come to terms on a new one. However, the old agreement, which both the city and union still honor, says the city must maintain 58 firefighters.  A memorandum agreement passed in 2015 allowed the department to reduce staff by 25%, but that memorandum expired in 2016.

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East St Louis Fire Department news

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East St. Louis firefighters are battling … how to protect the fire pension fund.

In East St. Louis some 100 firefighters and the families of deceased firefighters are in fear that the pension funds will soon dry up. That’s because the city has failed to pay into the fund this year and last year, skipping $2.5 million dollar that should have been paid.

Right now retired firefighters are getting paid from the firefighters reserve fund.

Late last year the firefighters filed a lawsuit against the financially strapped city asking a judge to force the city to pay into the firefighter’s pension fund. The board that runs the fund says the monthly payout is $280,000, and if the city doesn’t begin paying into the fund the reserve could be gone in 30 months.

A lawsuit against the city has also been filed by the police pension fund.

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Mayday while East St Louis firefighters rescue fire victim

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East St. Louis firefighters on Sunday saved an 82-year-old man from a blaze in his home. According to fire department reports, a call for help came at about 5 p.m. with reports that a home was in flames at 453 N. 14th St.

Firefighters rushed into the home to save the resident. While they were inside, a floor collapsed and temporarily trapped rescuers and the victim. A mayday call went out over firefighters’ radios during the tense scene. Firefighters were able to eventually work their way out of the burning structure with the man.

After rescuers got the victim into an ambulance, his heart stopped on the way to the hospital. He was revived and and taken to Touchette Hospital, where details about his condition were not available early Monday morning.

Don Moore identified the injured man as his uncle, retired Rev. Henry Nicholson, a former pastor at Truelight Baptist Church in East St. Louis.

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Three perish in East St Louis House fire, 1-3-16

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Two adults and a small child died in a house fire Sunday in the 2000 block of North 43rd Street.

Six people were inside the one story frame home at 2016 N. 23rd St. Three made it out alive, but three people — a 27-year-old pregnant mother, a 4-year-old boy and a 32-year-old male — were trapped inside and died.

East St. Louis Fire Chief James Blackmon identified the dead as: Kendra Williams, 4-year-old Jayden Harris, and Chantez Reynolds.

Corey Burries, who owned the home, said she, three adults and two children were inside.

“I was asleep. My grandson was screaming fire. I opened my bedroom door. The smoke overwhelmed me. I let up my window and threw him out. I started to climb out of the window. I was calling my daughter and her fiance, telling them to come to the fire escape, which is outside of my bedroom window. They never came,” Burries said through tears. She said they were in a back bedroom.

One family member had to be restrained by other family members as he tried to get to the burning house. Several family members said neighbors tried to get in to help, but were overcome by the thick smoke that was raging inside of the burning structure.

East St. Louis Assistant Fire Chief Todd Hill said the call came in to the fire department at 1:42 p.m. Sunday reporting people trapped inside.

“When we arrived, about five minutes after the call came in, we learned that a couple of people had gotten out,” Hll said. “The house was a big ball of fire when the crew from Engine House 422 arrived on scene. They immediately looked for a point of entry and tried to knock the fire down. There was a lot of fire.”

Hill, who has been fighting fires for 25 years, said he has seen some pretty bad ones and this was among them. He praised the work of the six-member crew. “Whenever there are people trapped inside, the guys do everything they can to get everyone out alive. They did a tremendous job. Unfortunately, though, three people did not make it out.”

He said the bodies were inside of the house in a bedroom. Hill said he didn’t know where the fire started or what may have caused it. A member of the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office was on scene.

Kendra Williams was her sister. She was five months pregnant, Janice Williams and other family members said. Chantez Reynolds was Kendra William’s fiancee. Like her mom, Williams said she woke up to her son screaming “fire.” Williams said the smoke was so intense that she nor her mother knew where her sister was.

She said her son was really smart and was very good with computers and telephone technology.

The family didn’t have any insurance. Family members said they are homeless now and will need some place to live. They will also need help paying for the funerals.

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East St. Louis to lay off firefighters

According to an article found at, the City of East St. Louis plans on laying off 17 firefighters as the result of a SAFER Grant which has run out.

EAST ST. LOUIS — Seventeen firefighters who were hired with grant money have received notices that they will be laid off effective Sept. 30, unless city leaders find other means to pay them.

City Manager Deletra Hudson sent a letter to the firefighters dated Aug. 22 telling them that the city “has been forced to make some difficult financial decisions to meet its budgetary obligations.” The News-Democrat obtained a copy of the letter.

The money came from a SAFER grant, which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. The grant, which was used to pay the firefighters’ salaries, has run out, forcing the city to send out the lay-off notices.

The grant, which was good for a year, ran out on March 30.

In the letter from Hudson, the firefighters were directed to turn in all keys, identification badges, gas cards and all other city property to the department director. The letter also said that the firemen would be notified in writing of their rights “regarding continuation coverage for health, dental and vision insurance and any unused vacation days.”

Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said the department has a total of 54 firemen, including the 17 who are slated to be laid off.

Mayor Alvin Parks said after the grant ran out in March the city found some extra money to keep the firefighters on the job until the end of September.

Parks acknowledged that 19 layoff letters were mailed out, but he said two of the firefighters’ salaries were transferred to the general fund, so for now, only 17 may actually be laid off.

“I have complete confidence in the fire department administration. I am confident they will utilize creativity and resourcefulness to keep negative impact to a minimum,” Parks said.

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East St. Louis house fire video

Chris Ranck found this video of the East St. Louis Fire Department working at a house fire:

Published on Jun 28, 2013

Filmed with 2 Fire Cam 1080s, we responded to a 2-story occupied house fire with a report of a woman and 2 children trapped from dispatch. When we arrived the neighbor confirmed there was a woman and 2 children missing. 1st due engine attacked the fire and when the 2nd due engine arrived we made entry and search while extinguishing the fire. We had 1 crew on the 1st floor and 1 crew on the 2nd floor. After the fire was knocked down it was later confirmed that the occupants were outside but never told anyone. No one was injured. Video was filmed with 2 Fire Cam 1080’s from


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Video: Real Life in the East St. Louis Fire Department

The video below chronicles the hard work, heavy fire load, and effects an economic downturn for the East St. Louis Fire Department

thanks Chris

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