Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Department

Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elgin firefighters and residents were honored for their quick thinking and efforts to save lives in the past year.

There were several instances last year when firefighters — honored with the department’s highest award, the Phoenix — helped bring back to life patients who were in full cardiorespiratory arrest. While that may be part of firefighters’ jobs, it’s important to recognize positive outcomes, Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said.

Two residents whose lives were saved attended the ceremony and were given keychains marking the date and time of the events.

The fire chief’s award went to a team from Mathers Clinic who helped a woman unexpectedly deliver a baby, as well as Streamwood Firefighter Chris Tierney, who helped in a March accident involving an overturned limo on I-90, when a woman died.

The department also honored several residents. They included:

• Edier Fernandez, a laundromat employee who extinguished a dryer fire.

• Kurt Engle, a retired firefighter who helped a neighbor extinguish a stove top fire.

• Mary Richardson, who called 911 and performed CPR on her boyfriend until paramedics arrived.

• Tyrone Strother guided two boys to safety during a home fire just before Christmas, when firefighters rescued the boys’ two sisters.

• Four-year-old Sebastian Reyes alerted his mother and siblings when he smelled and saw smoke coming out of the basement in May.

• Four members of St. Thomas More Church, including Lieutenant Chris Clausen, performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator to save the life of a priest who collapsed after Mass in August.

Firefighters were honored for performing CPR on a patient who was stricken while on the roof of a home and for a lengthy extrication of victims after an SUV drove into the rear of a semitrailer on I-90 in August, when Michigan nurse Susan Walthall, who was driving by, also helped.

Firefighters in August revived a man who crashed his bicycle and landed on railroad tracks, severely injuring his neck.

Hoffman Estates Firefighter Evan VonQualen called 911 after seeing smoke come out of a house and helped a resident get outside.

Streamwood Firefighter Eric Casey pulled a man out of a burning car after an accident in December on Route 20.

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As seen around … Elgin

This from Mike Maida:

On Tuesday morning, I happened to see the Elgin Fire Department setting up for what appeared to be a dive rescue drill at the lake behind Sherman Hospital.  Photos included show the 2015 E-One, Engine 5, Engine 3, a Seagrave, and Medic 1.  Engine 5 has a bell on it that came from their previous rig, a 2001 KME.


Mike Maida

Elgin FD fire engine and Medic unit

Mike Maida photo

Elgin FD Engine 5

Mike Maida photo

Elgin FD Engine 5

Mike Maida photo

Elgin FD Engine 5

Mike Maida photo

Elgin FD Engine 5

Mike Maida photo

Elgin FD Engine 5 decal

Mike Maida photo

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Elgin City Council unanimously backed almost $1 million in purchases for the Elgin Fire Department, including a new fire engine, 11 tablet computers used in the field, and 65 breathing apparatus.

The contract for the new E-ONE fire engine is set to be $505,385. However, its terms offer a $10,000 trade-in allowance for an existing KME engine and a $9,271 discount for prepayment, reducing the actual purchase to $486,114. Money from the city’s share of Grand Victoria Casino taxes will be used to pay for the new engine, which will replace one that is 14-years-old and that has maintenance repair costs that exceed its trade-in worth.

“We keep that engine in reserve at Station 6,” Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said on Friday. “But with routine maintenance of vehicles and repairs, about 40 percent of the year we’re using a reserve.”

As recently at Jan. 20, the old vehicle had about 59,000 miles and had been outsourced for brake work and diesel repair, with the cost for such estimated at $4,000 – $5,000. Repairs over time have amounted to more than $41,000, thus far, with the estimated trade-in value for the engine at $10,000 to $15,000.

The new engine will be very similar to one Elgin purchased in 2015 that is being used at Station 5 and kept at Station 2 along Big Timber Road, Schmidt said. A difference is the new unit will have an LED light tower to illuminate nighttime incidents.

The price is a result of a contract former Chief John Fahy negotiated with Fire Service, Inc. for the 2015 purchase, which gave the department what amounts to a 4.5 percent price break and a savings of about $25,000.

The new hose bed is lower and the step on the back of the truck is wider than on other engines, making it easier and safer for firefighters to stand on it.

The ladder will be in a compartment instead of exposed to the elements and on top of the engine. The 2015 purchase and the new engine also have more storage space than other engines and can hold extrication equipment.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that the design of the compartment for holding advance life support medical equipment allows firefighters to access it once they are outside the vehicle, instead of having it inside.

Schmidt said once the contract is signed later this month, it will take about 11 months to get the new engine. With the improving economy, E-ONE has seen an increasing number of orders, including one from Boston for more than 35 vehicles.

The council also approved the purchase of 11 Getac brand tablet computers to replace Panasonic models purchased in 2012 for use in fire inspections and patient care. The Getac units have solid state hard drives.

The final purchase moved along Wednesday was for 65 self-contained breathing apparatus and related equipment from Air One Equipment for $415,712.

The gear is Bluetooth enabled to make it easier for firefighters to verbally communicate and come with exterior amplified speakers worn on shoulders, as well. Another feature are buddy lights that can be seen from most directions and indicate critical air supply information.

Once the contract is signed, Schmidt said all items ordered from Air One Equipment should be in use by June or July.

thanks Dan, Dennis, & Scott

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Hoffman Estates Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Hoffman Estates Firefighter Evan VonQualen was commended by Fire Chief Jeff Jorian and the village board this week for helping save the life of an Elgin resident while driving to work in Hoffman Estates.

VonQualen recounted that he just happened to look to his left during his morning commute Dec. 11 to see a house that was clearly in the early stages of a fire.

He pulled over and contacted the homeowner to get him out of the house. The man was concerned for the lives of his cats and attempted to re-enter the home to search for them. VonQualen persuaded the man that the cats would be all right and got him safely away from the burning structure.

Though human life was the immediate concern, the firefighters rescued the cats as well.

VonQualen will be honored again, in Elgin, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Elgin Fire Department will host a ceremony Friday at 3:30 p.m. at the Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way for four firefighters who were recently promoted. Three new firefighters also will be sworn in.

Robb Cagann is now an assistant fire chief, said Fire Chief David Schmidt. Cagann was one of six finalists in the city’s nationwide search to fill the assistant chief’s position. He joined the department in 1993 and spent 15 years as the training officer where he developed a skill-based training program. He served a number of years as director of the Elgin Regional Fire Academy and was also instrumental in the development of the technical rescue team for both Elgin and the region. He was recognized by the American Legion as the Firefighter of the Year in 2014.

Richard Carter was promoted to the rank of battalion chief. Carter joined the department in 1991 and spent 15 years as a paramedic and member of the technical rescue team. He serves in the training division, where he has been involved for 15 years. Carter also served as director of the Elgin Regional Fire Academy. In 2007, Carter was recognized by the American Legion as the Firefighter of the Year.

Daniel Wagner is now fire captain. He joined the department in 1996 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2004. Wagner has been a member of the water rescue team for 18 years and led the department’s water rescue team to a public safety dive championship. He helps coordinate the annual Fox River cleanup and has been a member of the department’s Honor Guard for the past 15 years. He also served as a fire academy instructor for 10 years. Wagner was recognized by the American Legion as the Firefighter of the Year in 2003.

Michael Przybylski now is a lieutenant. He joined the department in 2004 and is a leader of the department Fire Explorer program and an assistant team leader for the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System mobile field force as a paramedic. He serves on the Safety Committee and has been a member of the Rescue Task Force for active shooter incidents in conjunction with Elgin Police Department.

Justin Lee, Austin Lawrenz and Kellen Smith are becoming probationary firefighters.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department News

Excerpts from the

The Elgin Fire Department spent $1.368 million on overtime in 2016, a more than 20 percent reduction from $1.715 million spent in 2015.

Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said the biggest reason for the reduction was about a 45 percent decrease in time lost by staff out on workman’s compensation.

Schmidt said part of the reason for the reduction in injury-related overtime was probably due to the purchase in recent years of bariatric lifts for transporting people to the hospital. The lifts make it easier to move larger people, thus lessening the likelihood of injury for paramedics. Already, the department has seen about a 45 percent decrease in shoulder injuries since 2013.

“All seven of our ambulances have the lifts now,” Schmidt said. “The City Council is seeing a return on investment for having decided to allocate the money for their purchase, which was roughly $32,000 per ambulance.”

Elgin uses a high overtime/ low personnel model for manning its shifts. The model is based on studies claiming that using overtime is about 15 percent less expensive over time than hiring more firefighters, figuring in costs such as pensions and health insurance.

As such, city and fire department officials look at past years’ numbers and other information to estimate how much overtime might be used in each year and budget accordingly. In 2016, that set-aside was $1.7 million.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Four brothers and sisters escaped a house fire on Dec. 20 in the 300 block of Division Street. They were treated for burns, smoke inhalation, and frostbite. Afterward, their mother said the children told her the smoke detectors in their apartment did not go off.

Authorities said the landlord of the building had installed smoke detectors in the home, but they were not properly maintained.

Two days later, firefighters returned to the neighborhood to check whether other nearby homes had working smoke detectors. Crews found, of the 45 families they spoke to, 75 percent had either a non-functional smoke detector or no smoke detector at all. Firefighters installed 30 smoke detectors and provided 14 sets of batteries. In some cases, they installed multiple smoke detectors or provided batteries for multiple units.

“We are shocked to find that number of smoke detectors not working, yes,” Elgin Fire Department Battalion Chief Terry Bruce said. “I think people just get complacent, just like this family here. We know that they had working smoke detectors at one time.”

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from

Elgin firefighters canvassed the area of Division Street on Thursday — near a house where a fire left two families homeless — to pass out smoke detectors and remind homeowners about the importance of having a properly installed and functioning smoke detector.

Five fire companies visited 70 homes in the neighborhood carrying donated smoke detectors, tools for installation and a brochure about fire safety. The firefighters also offered to test smoke detectors.

Canvassing a neighborhood where a significant fire occurred is part of a new initiative to promote the use of smoke detectors and reinforcing the benefits of these life-saving devices, according to an Elgin Fire Department news release.

According to statistics, dead batteries cause 24 percent of smoke alarm failures, and three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

thanks Dan

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Four people were rescued from a burning house early Tuesday morning in a blaze that left 10 people without a home in Elgin.

Amy Bishop was taking her husband to work when a fire started in their two sons’ bedroom around midnight. The boys, Lucas, 14, and Kyle, 12, woke up their sisters, Katrina, 19 and Lindsey, 16.

The girls ran back into their bedroom to get a phone to call 911 and were then trapped by the smoke and fire …  they couldn’t escape so they broke the windows.

Lt. Eric Gurke and Firefighter Guy Blando rescued the girls from the second floor windows. Heavy black smoke was rolling out of the second floor, according to Battalion Chief Terry Bruce.

The children were covered in soot, had smoke inhalation and frostbite, and were taken to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital. The girls had third degree burns but were doing well Tuesday evening.

The family was left without a home, clothing or anything else days before Christmas.

Bishop said the smoke detector did not go off and the apartment had only one exit. Another exit was nailed shut. They had several issues with the landlord including no hot water in the kitchen, and had stopped paying rent. The landlord took them to court and a judge ruled the best thing for everyone was to have the family move, she said. They planned to move out by Jan. 6.

“Honestly, we have nowhere to go. Our families all live out of state and the ones closest have a lot of kids and no space,” Bishop said. “I don’t know where to begin.”

Several family pets were killed in the fire at a house which was divided into two apartments.

Firefighters were called at 12:10 a.m. to the home in the 300 block of Division St. Before firefighters arrived, a downstairs neighbor went to notify the upstairs unit of the blaze and found two children at the top of the stairs. That neighbor took those children out.

The blaze was knocked down in 20 minutes, but the fire left the second floor with extensive fire damage to a rear bedroom plus heat and smoke damage throughout the second floor.

A total of 12 Elgin fire units worked the scene while city stations were temporarily manned by four area fire departments.

Donations are being accepted at Community United Methodist Church, 400 W. Spring St., South Elgin. A GoFundMe account has been set up at

“We are grateful for any help, we appreciate anything,” Bishop said. “My number one concern is a getting a roof over their head.”

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elgin Fire Department officials are crediting an off-duty Hoffman Estates firefighter for getting the occupant of a burning home to safety Sunday morning and alerting firefighters to the blaze in time to get it quickly under control.

A fire in the 100 block of Longford Drive had gone unnoticed until the off-duty firefighter spotted it while driving to work at about 7:18 a.m. He called Elgin Fire Department communications, then alerted the home’s occupant and got him out of the residence.

Elgin firefighters arrived about five minutes later and brought the fire under control within 11 minutes. No firefighters or civilians were injured, and firefighters rescued a cat from the home.

thanks Dan

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