Posts Tagged Kankakee Fire Department

Kankakee Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

At a cost outlined not to exceed $19,500, the Kankakee City Council hired the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association to search for a new fire chief at Tuesday’s council meeting … [and] the money would come out of the fire department’s budget.

The fire department has been under the direction of acting Chief Phil Perkins since the retirement of Chief Ron Young at the end of November.

If all goes as planned, Mayor Nina Epstein said the new chief could be hired as early as June 1. Anyone with the necessary education and experience can submit a resume.

Young was the city’s third-longest serving fire chief before his retirement. He served 12 years as chief. He had been with the department since February 1984.

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Kankakee Fire Department news

firefighter at house fully engulfed in flames

Mike Voss, Daily Journal

Excerpts from the

A young family of four escaped a fire Thursday morning that destroyed a two-story, multi-family home at 458 West Bourbonnais Street in Kankakee.

The family – consisting of a 23-year-old woman, 21-year-old man, and two children ages 1 and 4 – awoke to smoke detectors about 7:10 a.m. and escaped through a window in their first-story unit. A man living on the second floor left his unit earlier this morning.

“The smoke detectors saved their life,” said Capt. Bryan LaRoche, of the Kankakee Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, the fire had fully engulfed the first floor and quickly climbed to the second floor. Firefighters from Kankakee and Bradley remained at the scene trying to determine what caused the fire.

People at the scene said the family of four just moved into the apartment about a month ago.

The smoke detector was issued by the city and installed last year.

house fully engulfed in flames

Mike Voss, Daily Journal

thanks Dennis

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Kankakee Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Kankakee Fire Chief Ron Young — the third longest-serving fire chief in Kankakee’s history — will be leaving the 50-person department. His last day will be Nov. 30.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association will coordinate the search to replace Young. Assistant Fire Chief Phil Perkins will serve as interim chief.

Young, 55, has spent his entire career as a member of the fire department. He was hired at the age of 22, on Feb. 7, 1984, and spent about 33 years with the department. He worked his way through the department and served as assistant chief for eight years before taking the department’s top spot upon the resignation of then-Chief Richard Kamerad.

Young’s 12-year stint as chief is the city’s third longest, behind that of Roy Marquart’s 18-year tenure [1935-53] and John Marquart’s 14-year stint [1961-75].

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Kankakee vacant building fire video

Dave Statter has posted a video at from a resident with a rambling commentary on the response of the Kankakee Fire Department

thanks Dan

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Several injured during Kankakee fire, 4-13-16 (more)

Excerpts from the

Bail was set at $5 million Thursday for a homeless man accused of setting a fire in a Kankakee apartment building last month that fatally injured two young brothers.

Alex A. Sawyer, 61, of Kankakee, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated arson in connection with the fire early in the morning on April 13 in the 800 block of West Station Street, west of the city’s downtown, officials said. Jushaun Watson, 2, and Justice Stewart, 4, died days later in hospitals in Cook County.

Five other building residents also were injured, and three firefighters were hurt extinguishing the fire, officials said. Twenty people were left homeless.

Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jamie Boyd, in a prepared statement, said he filed the formal charges but was awaiting a report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office confirming the specific cause of death. Preliminary reports showed the victims had no burns on their body, Boyd said. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said the cause and manner of death are pending.

Boyd said preliminary reports from the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s office and investigations conducted by the Kankakee City Fire Department concluded that a futon in a stairwell had been set on fire.

Boyd cited reports that said Sawyer, who previously lived in the building, admitted to having a disagreement with the building’s owner and being inside on the date of the fire and starting the fire.

On Tuesday, Kankakee police arrested Sawyer, who was already incarcerated on unrelated misdemeanor charges.


thanks Dan

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Several injured during Kankakee fire, 4-13-16 (more)

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Kankakee police say arson caused a fire last week that critically injured two children who later died.

In a statement released Monday, police said investigators have developed information on a person, who after being interviewed, is suspected of starting the fire at the apartment building. Authorities say investigators are interviewing the suspect and collecting evidence. They expect the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s office to file formal charges in the near future.

Killed by the fire were 2-year-old Ju’shaun Watson, who was pronounced dead on Sunday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, and 4-year-old Justice Stewart, who died Friday at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

A 65-year-old woman suffered smoke inhalation, a 25-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman suffered burns on their hands. Twenty were left homeless.

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Several injured during Kankakee fire, 4-13-16 (more)

2-Alarm fire with a 3-Alarm EMS Box for apartments over commercial fire with rescues at 894 W. Station St. (radio traffic is a condensed timeline) from – Audio by Broadcastify

Excerpts from

Two brothers, ages 2 and 4, were critically injured in an apartment fire in Kankakee. Their 55-year-old grandmother, a 22-year-old woman, a 25-year-old man and a firefighter were also hurt. Investigators are trying to pinpoint what caused the three-alarm fire. They said it started in a rear stairwell, blocking some escape routes. Firefighters had to make several rescues.

Justice Ward, 4, and Ju’shaun Ward, 2, are struggling to survive. They were airlifted to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center. They were both trapped inside a second-floor apartment as it burned. The boys’ mother and seven of their siblings, including an infant, made it out safely. Their grandmother suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee. She told a relative, Harold Williams, about those frightening moments.

“Kids was hollerin’ and screamin’ because, you know, they didn’t know where they was. So they had to feel through the smoke to try to get them out of there. So luckily the fire department came and kind of saved their lives,” Williams said.

Firefighters arrived at the scene just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. The building, located in the 800-block of West Station Street, has two businesses on the first floor, eight apartments on the second floor and 22 residents.

“Upon our arrival, we had heavy smoke from the second story with numerous victims from numerous windows on the second floor,” Kankakee Fire Chief Ron Young said.

The 25-year-old man jumped from a window. He was rushed to Riverside, where he’s being treated for burns and a fracture. The 22-year-old woman was also taken to Riverside for burns. A firefighter had minor burns on his face. He was treated at the scene.

“All of the doorways to the apartments fed into a single hallway, so they couldn’t go out the front door to get out. That’s why they went out windows,” said Chief Ron Young, Kankakee Fire Department. “I’m proud of my people. I am proud of their professionalism and their courage.”

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Several injured during Kankakee fire, 4-13-16

Excerpts from

Two boys were critically injured and 22 people were displaced after a fire in Kankakee. The fire broke out at a building just before 2 a.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of West Station Street.

The two boys, ages 2 and 4, had to be airlifted to burn units at hospitals in Chicago. Three other people were hospitalized: a man who jumped from a second-floor window, a woman with smoke inhalation and another woman whose hand was burned. A firefighter also suffered minor burns and was treated at the scene.

Firefighters had to rescue residents from a rear window, because the fire blocked their path to the front door. Eight children and 14 adults were displaced. The building housed businesses and eight apartment units. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Friends help former Kankakee firefighter

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 It has been a terrible and magnificent year for Derek Hogg. He’s the former Kankakee firefighter battling ALS-Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Last year he was still fighting to keep his job. It’s a fight he lost, but now he has gained something much greater. Hogg left his job as a Kankakee firefighter after city officials refused to extend his employment by a few weeks so that he would qualify for a disability pension.

At 33, Hogg suffers from ALS-Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is a muscle wasting condition for which there is no cure. He now needs a walker and sometimes a wheelchair as his body continues to deteriorate.

“That was my life, helping people. And now I’m in a position where people have to help me. It’s really hard,” Hogg said.

Hogg, his wife Holly and their two young boys are doing their best to get by. Holly works part time as a teacher, and Hogg gets a small social security check. There have been numerous fundraisers by suburban fire departments that have helped, other firefighters recently built a new driveway at the Hogg’s home in Channahon, and a neighbor is about to install a wheelchair ramp.

“Well I’m not gonna sugarcoat anything. It’s been very difficult. Everything’s like a domino effect with him going downhill with his health and with the whole financial situation,” Holly said.

Hogg and Holly say they still can’t understand why the city of Kankakee wouldn’t help him work desk duty a little longer so that he would qualify for disability, which is something the city says would have been bending the rules. They made a dramatic appeal to Kankakee’s mayor last year.

“So I ask you again mayor, will you let my brothers and sisters on the fire department assist me?” Hogg asked. “There’s nothing I can do to reverse that decision,” the mayor responded.

Now, Hogg sees a silver lining in that failure.

Spreading awareness and getting word out there that ALS does exist, and ALS does drastically affect people and their families,” he said.


“I think what mostly affects him is not being able to do anything. He can’t work. He can’t drive. So he’s depending on other people. You can tell it’s affecting him,” Holly added.

There have been triumphant moments as well. Last summer, Hogg finished a 1.5 mile race, which was a fundraiser for ALS, crossing the finish line after two hours with the help of his son’s stroller.

On Wednesday, Holly gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Brinlee Grace.

“Her middle name is gonna be Grace. Because I think she’s going to be my little saving grace,” Hogg said. “I think a positive mental attitude is 99-percent of the battle. And it’s gonna be impossible to be negative holding a baby in your hands.”

Friends of the Hogg family are trying to help get Derek a conversion van. They have started a Go Fund-Me page to raise money for it.

Friends are hoping to raise $10,000. They say a used conversion van costs more than $30,000 and Hogg’s insurance won’t pay for it.

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Former Kankakee firefighter raises awareness for ALS

Excerpts from

A former Kankakee firefighter who is suffering from ALS is still proving to be a hero. On Tuesday, Derek Hogg walked in the Strike Out ALS 5K. He’s done it for years.

But this time, because of his own battle with the disease, many told him not to, including his worried wife Holly.

“I kinda wanted to make a point of it and really put forth a valiant effort and try to walk as much as I could,” Derek said. “It was definitely an emotional moment for everyone that was there.”

Last year, it took Derek 22 minutes. This year, he managed to walk the last mile and a half in two hours.

“It felt awesome, at the finish line, hugging me and cheering me on,” Derek said.

In addition to fighting off the disease, he has been fighting to get his disability pension.

Months ago, as his condition worsened, he had to give up firefighting and was placed on desk duty.  Then in February, his FMLA expired and he was terminated just months before his disability pension would have kicked in, which would have been at about $3200 dollars per month.

It’s money that would have still been paid to his wife and two boys after he died. But Mayor Nina Epstein said she couldn’t allow it, because it was against the rules.

Derek did everything to try and appeal, and right now he said he has lost that battle, but not the current one. He wants to show people that even though you’re tired, there is still a reason to keep moving forward.

“My father always told me, everyone out there, mentally you can do anything that you really want do,” Derek said. “I just wanted to get awareness out there, and me crossing the finish line has done so,” Derek said.

“The look on his face of sheer determination was amazing. It was definitely there yesterday,” Holly said.

A related post is HERE.

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