Posts Tagged John Tobin

Reflections about 9/11/01

This from John Tobin:

Rather than work on something I should be doing, I chose to do this instead … drats.

Wondering how Elgin, IL could be attached somehow to the September 11th attacks in New York? Attached is a post from another site. It tells the story of four Elgin firefighters (three now retired) and their trip to the East Coast on a mission to deliver a new fire truck. The truck that was built for the FDNY was almost ready to be delivered when the attacks occurred.

Along for the ride, were many very specially made cards of sympathy and concern from some very young (and some older too) citizens of Elgin.

When we were ready to leave Elgin for New York, the entire front of the cab was filled, not only with the cards, but posters and food items for the trip. It’s not too often that you get to see something like this and I will never forget it. I’ve never seen Elgin this united. On the way home after dropping the truck off, we stopped and posted them for all to see.

Read on:

Interesting comments on replacement vehicles for FDNY after 911-01.

There was an order for multiple aerials at Seagrave (SFA) that was trickling out of the factory in Wisconsin during that time frame. One of the most dedicated employees at SFA at that time was Glenn Bennett, a delivery driver with a huge heart. He delivered an aerial just before the attacks and was stranded there. As we all know, the airlines had been shut down.

I called him wondering what was up. He mentioned that he couldn’t get back and, for multiple reasons, SFA was having trouble getting a driver to bring the next aerial out. He said he was at the FDNY shops working on cleaning up rigs, helping install windshields and such to try and get rigs back in service. I immediately called SFA, and since I had driven rigs for them over the years, the dispatcher took me up on my offer … going out with a chase vehicle and three other firefighters from home. The truck was going to be ready on Saturday by noon. What started out as an urgent need to get the rig delivered, turned into a media goodwill tour of sorts to which many at SFA didn’t embrace. I was in trouble for a long time.

After getting the truck to IL late that evening, we set out for NY and drove straight thru. A dilemma was brewing, as the guys wanted to work at ground zero and we were going to arrive in the middle of the night. I wanted to meet up with Glenn (which never happened) and work at the shops, even if it was just sweeping the floors. We decided to take the rig to ground zero and leave at first light for the drop off point in South Plainfield. Not only were they in dire need of the truck, it was also loaded with spare parts. We were met at ground zero with interest and our group was interviewed on radio and even squawk box on CNN. At first light there was gridlock and quite a jaunt to get out of the city. The rig arrived safe and sound and we stayed two days to work “the pile”. As much as the grandstanding comments from some which hurt me very much, that was never our intent, as this turned out to be a creature in its own right. It was always about our FDNY brothers.

PS Glenn you were a hero in your own right. Rest in peace my dear friend.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

All ready to leave EFD station #2….let’s roll.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

Somewhere on I-80….Ohio perhaps.

Seagrave ladder truck being delivered to NYC immediately following the attacks of 9/11/01

Just arriving at ground zero trying to find a safe spot to park.

FDNY Ladder 3 pulled from the rubble of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

The now famous L-3 rolls passed. Interesting how the derbies hang off the truck from the offices of the world trade center…..inclusive of a cord and receiver from someone’s desk. L-3 is now on static display at the memorial. Wonder if ” Jeff we will not forget you” is still on the back door?

the World Trade Center on the night of 9/11/01

Taking it all in as a tower ladder still flows water and parts of what are left of the world trade center rise up high into the night sky.

the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/12/01

The night begins to give up it’s darkness and the complete picture will be in view soon.

aftermath of the attacks of 9/11/01 seen on 9/12/01

An FDNY officer overlooks “the pile” as it was to be called. At various points bucket brigades were set up to sift thru the derbies for anything that could be recovered. It was anyone’s guess what might be in the ground up derbies….. I have never since looked upon a plastic bucket the same as before 911.

Firefighter with new fire truck at the World Trade Center on 9/12/01

My chase driver readies our final route to safely deliver the rig, which was loaded with much needed spare parts for the rigs that would be salvaged. Later he would uncover a fire fighter on “the pile” and alert the FDNY team to remove the remains.

memorials outside a NYC fire station on 9/12/01

The look on the fire fighter’s face says it all….I didn’t get a chance to say hello….his “T” shirt said Las Vegas FD on the back. There were fire fighters from all over the country that came to New York after the attacks. Many were frustrated as there was nothing they could do…..I felt fortunate to have had a task to complete.

cards are posted at a fire station after the attacks of 9/11/01

Up go more cards from the Elgin school kids….not one was missed.

FDNY Ladder 11 one year after the attacks of 9/11/01

A year later some of us returned to visit where the truck ended up. Eleven Truck as it is called is in the Alphabet city section of New York, not far from where the world trade center stood. The burned ladder sign on the front of the station, was recovered off their wrecked truck.

FDNY Ladder 11 after the attacks of 9/11/01

The front mural says it all.

Firefighters with American Flag at ground zero on 9/12/01

They promised they would never forget

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The passing of a friend … Glenn Bennett, Jr.

Many of our readers knew Glenn Bennett, Jr. who grew up in the area. Others may have known him from his years driving and delivering trucks for Seagrave.

In April of 2016, we posted an article about an accident that Glenn was involved in. He was hospitalized out east and then transferred to a rehab center in Wisconsin where he lived. Glenn passed away this past Sunday, November 4th and will be missed by all those whose lives he touched.

Glenn Bennett Jr  August 25, 1951 – November 4, 2018

Glenn Bennett Jr. of Three Lakes WI passed on November 4, 2018 at home surrounded by family at the age of 67. He was born August 25, 1951 in Evanston, Il. Glenn was a fireman for a total of 37 years between Northfield IL and the Three Lakes Fire Department. He became an employee of FDW Seagrave and delivered fire trucks all over the United States and volunteered his time during 9/11 to help with the recovery efforts and gave his support. He enjoyed his time outdoors working in the yard, going fishing with family, spending time in Florida, and a good laugh. He was proceeded in death by his parents Glenn Bennett Sr. and his mother Elizabeth Bennett. Survived by his wife Anita and daughters Lauren Madl (Paul Madl), Barbara Bennett, Ashley Edwards (Bryan Edwards), 2 grandchildren, 3 brothers and 2 sister’s. Anita would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers during this difficult time.

A visitation will be held at Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home in Eagle River WI, on November 10th 2018 from 10am-12 noon.

Thoughts from John Tobin, a longtime friend of Glenn, posted previously on Facebook.

John Tobin and Glenn Bennett, Jr

John Tobin and Glenn Bennett, Jr

For every picture there is usually a story and this one is no

exception…..got a call from my pedigree buddy Seagrave delivery man one
summer. He said JOHN can you come and help me….I’m in the maintenance pull
off on the Dan Ryan in downtown Chicago and I’m broke down…..I was like
Seagraves never break down and he laughed….the rig had developed an air
leak and he knew who to call…..so I jumped in the Suburban picked up the
parts that we needed and I was on my way. About 90 minutes later I arrived
and bing we got lucky and I had the right part. Glenn with the big smile and
bubbly personality was up and running, headed to New Jersey. Glenn always
was the biggest ambassador for SFA and his efforts should never be
forgotten. Please take a moment to think of Glenn, or drop him a line
wishing him well as he continues to struggle with what life thru at
him……..my thought for today.
 

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Palatine Fire Department history

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

John Tobin photo

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

John Tobin photo

Excerpts from theDailyHerald.com:

When fire broke out at the Ben Franklin five-and-dime store on Feb. 23, 1973, John Tobin was a high school senior who lived about a mile from downtown Palatine.

It was early that morning and his father, Dave, then a second lieutenant with the village’s volunteer fire department, had already left for the scene. So had the assistant chief, who lived across the street. Tobin felt he had no choice but to ditch school. He started running toward the fire. Towering over the fire was Palatine’s 1969, [75-foot Snorkel].

But nothing had prepared him for what he saw that morning. Staring at the scene in shock, Tobin heard one firefighter say three others were trapped in the basement.

In his rush to get to the fire, Tobin had forgotten his camera. He ran home to get it and when he got back to downtown Palatine he saw his father working on the fire outside and knew he was safe.

“It wasn’t until hours later we found out who was in there,” Tobin said. Three firefighters were killed — Warren Ahlgrim, Richard Freeman and John Wilson — after they were trapped in the basement filled with carbon monoxide.

The fire was 43 years ago, and Tobin has never forgotten the emotions of that day and how it changed him.

All these years he could never get the image of [the Snorkel] out of his mind.

Tracking it down became something like an obsession for him. He heard it had been sold to downstate Salem, Illinois, in 1981. In 2003 he stopped in Salem overnight while driving home from a convention. But by then Salem had sold the truck to Pierceton, Indiana. So he paid a visit.

Earlier this year, Pierceton officials were ready to sell the old truck. They called Tobin, who told them the best he could offer was $5,000. They accepted.

“This is my childhood idol of a truck,” Tobin said.

For the past few days Tobin has been hard at work at the Bartlett Fire Department, where the truck is being housed while he buffs the paint, fixes the lights and creates a tribute to Ahlgrim, Freeman, and Wilson.

“It brings back old memories and it honors those firefighters that were killed that day,” Tobin says.

On Tuesday the restored truck was in downtown Palatine, exactly where it had been 43 years ago, as Palatine held its annual memorial service at the Firefighters Memorial at Brockway and Slade streets.
After the memorial service, Tobin plans to keep the truck in a barn on his property in West Dundee.

thanks Dan

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters.

The Ben Franklin store fire killed three Palatine firefighters. John Tobin photo

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A reflection on 34 years as a firefighter (more)

This from John Tobin:

A reflection in time 1960-2014 seems like just a blink of an eye now.

montage of a firefighter's career

by John Tobin

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For American LaFrance collectors

This from John Tobin:

ALF 1000 series restoration. Reportedly it was a brand new rig in the 1970s belonging to the South Chicago Heights, IL FD. In the mid 1990s the cab was purchased by the Zion, IL fire department and 3-D metals cut the roof off and made a closed cab out of an open cab on their AP. I decided it had too much potential to go to the melting pot and I finally cut just the front off, mounted it on wheels, new paint and a South Park bell and there you have it.
If any ALF lover is interested in this please let me know. The Elgin logo can easily come off and a new department name can be re-applied.
American LaFrance fire engine cab front

John Tobin photo

American LaFrance fire engine cab front

John Tobin photo

American LaFrance fire engine cab front

John Tobin photo

American LaFrance fire engine cab front

John Tobin photo

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New engine for Mundelein

This from John Tobin:

The rig has the followin discription:
KME STAINLESS STEEL PREDATOR SEVERE SERVICE CAB
STAINLESS STEEL FLEX BODY 
INTERNAL/EXTERNAL EMS COMPARTMENTS
CUMMINS ISL 450HP ENGINE
ALLSION EVS 3000 TRANSMISSON
WATEROUS 1500-GPM SINGLE-STAGE PUMP 
750-GALLON UPF POLY WATER TANK
LOW PROFILE HOSE BED
HARRISON 6K GENERATOR 
WILBERT 1.8-3000 LIGHT TOWER
ZIAMATIC SWING ARM LADDER RACK
Thanks very much.
JT
Mundelein Fire Department fire engine

John Tobin photo

fire engine at night with light tower

John Tobin photo

engraved fire engine bell

John Tobin photo

KME Predator Severe Service fire singe

John Tobin photo

fire engine blueprint

New engine for Mundelein

fire engine with engraved bell

John Tobin photo

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A reflection on 34 years as a firefighter (final)

a few final images from John Tobin reflecting on his 34 year career with the Elgin Fire Department

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

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A reflection on 34 years as a firefighter (part 3)

more images from John Tobin

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

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A reflection on 34 years as a firefighter (part 2)

more images spanning the 34 year career of John Tobin

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

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A reflection on 34 years as a firefighter (part 1)

This from John Tobin:

How does the song go … “reflections of my life.” Well the pictures here are a reflection of time and how it’s moved on. Throughout that time, it was quite a ride and after 34 years I can’t believe it’s over! I made many friends, some enemies, and pretty much did what I set out to do in 1979 when I was hired by the EFD. (Elgin Fire Department)

I said more than once … “one day I rolled under a rig that needed fixing and when I rolled out my first wife had left me, the kids were grown, and I was an old man” … there is a lesson there. Some have changed their colors so many times over the years they become someone completely different. I never thought I was anything special, but I had a special job and I was very fortunate to have it!

There is a saying “don’t confuse me with the facts.” When that became a reality, rather than just a joke … I knew my end was near. So if you will, glance at the pictures and see if any of them will take you on a journey. Time for the next chapter in my life and the EFD will do just fine without me.

As the French say … C’est la vie

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

Reflections of 34 years as a firefighter.

John Tobin collection

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