Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Department

Elgin Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary

Excerpts from the

For Elgin Fire Assistant Fire Chief Robb Cagann, Saturday was a special way to celebrate the Elgin Fire Department’s 150th Anniversary. 

The Fire Barn No. 5 Museum’s open house Saturday showcased the department’s history as part of the celebration of the day it began exactly 150 years earlier.

Cagann credited the museum board with building the collection housed in the early 1900s fire barn. The volunteer museum board takes care of the fire engines and all the memorabilia, he said.

Elgin Fire Department was established on September 16, 1867, and the all-volunteer force worked out of a building at 9 N. Spring St., according to a brochure the department created. The city’s first company, the Elgin Hook and Ladder Company, had a hose wagon and two horses to serve 5,441 residents, it stated.

Fire Station No. 5 was built in 1903 to 1904 at 533 St. Charles Street. By 1904, the fire department had 5 fully staffed fire barns with three hose wagons, two combination hose/chemical engines and horse-drawn engines, according to the museum. It was decommissioned in 1991, later becoming a fire museum, officials said. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, the brochure states.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

A domestic argument got heated Wednesday morning when a man allegedly doused an Elgin home in gasoline and set it on fire.

Officers were called at 9:25 a.m. to a house in the 900 block of Carol Avenue, where a man was reportedly threatening bodily harm while dumping cans of gasoline inside the house.

Responding officers found the caller about a block away from the house, and when they reached the home, the front of the structure exploded into flames that engulfed the house.

The officers found 60-year-old Larry Harris in the back yard and took him into custody.

Emergency crews Firefighters searched the house and brought the fire under control within 20 minutes. Two people were treated at the scene and one of them was taken to Sherman Hospital in Elgin for additional treatment.

Detectives from the Major Investigations Division found evidence of accelerant use. Harris, who lives in Elgin, was charged with felony counts of residential arson and criminal damage to property and a misdemeanor count of domestic battery.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Elgin Fire Department intends to use a $72,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to be used when performing CPR.

The city council Wednesday night is set to move along for final approval the purchase from Michigan-based Stryker for $79,400, with $7,200 of the money coming from the fire department’s capital budget. Stryker is the owner of Washington-based Physio-Control, which makes the system.

We will be getting five of the systems, one for every frontline ambulance,” Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said Tuesday.

“It’s great tool to have in the community,” said Dr. Mohammad Zaman, Medical Director, CEP America, Presence St. Joseph Hospital Elgin.

The systems are designed to provide consistent, high-quality mechanical chest compressions that meet the American Heart Association standards for rate, depth and speed. Part of the apparatus goes under a person’s back, while the other part wraps over a person’s chest and holds a device which applies the compressions, which can be adjusted to the size of the person.

The Lucas Chest Compression System the department plans to buy allows firefighters to keep CPR going while a patient is on a stretcher and while the patient is being moved, even up or down stairs.

The machines also take away lapses in applying CPR thus lessening health-related issues for patients and keep the compressions consistent, taking away the fatigue factor when a paramedic is applying the compressions. Current protocol calls for CPR to be applied for 30 minutes before terminating resuscitation efforts.

Schmidt said the systems also mean more safety for paramedics while in ambulances, who now can wear a seat belt while chest compressions are being applied by the battery-operated machine.

The systems are Bluetooth enabled so that they can transmit the data they collect to the department’s computer system and to the hospital to which a patient is being taken.


Statistics show that each year in the United States, more than 300,000 individuals suffer non-traumatic, out-of-hospital, sudden cardiac arrest, which has been the leading cause of death in adults over 40. The Elgin Fire Department responds to about 56 cardiac arrest incidents annually.

During a four-month trial of the two mechanical CPR systems, the Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) percentage rate in cardiac arrest victims rose from 36 percent to almost 58 percent, Schmidt said. Upon completion of the trial, the rate returned to 36, or about 10 percent higher than the national ROSC average.

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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elgin Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said that in December the fire department purchased a practice drone and one that will be used in the field with a sophisticated forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera system. The camera cost $9,000 and the two drones a combined $3,000.

The police and fire departments will begin using the equipment in the field after a presentation to be given the city council. Eventually, other departments might find uses for the drones, such as public works surveying its projects or the water department inspecting water towers and its sites.

At a hazardous materials spills, a drone could be sent up to survey the situation prior to any firefighters being sent into the impacted area. With structure fires or field fires, the drone could be deployed to see the nature of the blaze or from where the fire might be coming or be most intense. In searches for missing people, the drone could assist from above, saving time and saving money. Helicopters used in such scenarios can run upwards of $2,000 an hour.

The camera works in conjunction with a GPS mapping system. So if there were a flood, tornado, snowstorm, or other natural disaster that left an area unmarked or cleared of housing, that mapping could be used to compare how the area looked before and after the event. In those situations the drones also could be used to look for survivors and damage assessment.

Overseeing the fire department training is Battalion Chief Rich Carter. At the Elgin Police Department, Officer Kevin Snow has been training on using the drone system.

Advanced functions on the drone Elgin will be using include object avoidance and the ability to fly indoors. It’s also designed to be able to carry small objects, such as a life vest. It can stay in the air 28 to 35 minutes, and can be flown in winds up to 30 mph, but not in the rain.

State law limits how police departments can use drones. For surveillance operations, police must get a signed warrant. Any footage taken that is not used in a criminal case must later be destroyed, and drone footage is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.


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Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elgin Firefighter/Paramedic Lt. Wayne Smith wasn’t even supposed to be at the hockey rink in Rolling Meadows on March 13.

But Dan Isola, who collapsed on the bench from a heart attack that night, is glad he was.

Smith, 53, was honored by the Rolling Meadows City Council for helping to save Isola’s life. Smith, who lives in Rolling Meadows, coaches hockey and plays in an adult league, had been asked to fill in as a player for the 10:30 p.m. game. He was about to get onto the ice when he heard people yelling to “call 911.”

thanks Dan

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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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