Chicago Fire Department news (more)

This from Dennis McGuire, Jr:

Work has started on the new Joint Public Safety Training Campus for Chicago 

Construction of the new Joint Public Safety Training Campus for Chicago

Dennis McGuire, Jr. photo

Construction of the new Joint Public Safety Training Campus for Chicago

Dennis McGuire, Jr. photo

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Small plane lands on I-355 in New Lenox 5-13-21

Excerpts from

Part of I-355 was closed after a plane landed on the Tollway near New Lenox Thursday morning.

Illinois State Police responded after a small white Beechcraft aircraft made an emergency landing in the southbound lanes of I-355 due to unknown mechanical issues.

Four people were on board the plane at the time of the emergency landing including the pilot and three young women, ages 15, 20, and 21, all from Wilmington, Illinois. Three of the four people are being treated for back injuries and undergoing other medial checks at Silver Cross Hospital.

small plane on the interstate highway

Larry Shapiro photo

From ISP District 15 on Twitter:

Small plane lands on I355 SB near Route 6 in New Lenox, IL 5/13/21

From ISP District 15

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As seen around … Evergreen Park

From Larry Shapiro


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New engine for Matteson (more)

From Bill Schreiber:

Matteson FD rescue pumper update

Rosenbauer fire engine with Line-X being built

Rosenbauer photo

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As seen around … Pennsylvania

This from Danny Nelms:

Was posted on Facebook by Sam Guners

“Saw this in central pa south of roaring spring on rt 36 @ 868
Nobody around to ask about it – Painted over name looks like Waukegan”



vintage Ward LaFrance / LTI aerial

Sam Guners photo

Vintage Ward LaFrance/LTI aerial ladder truck in Waukegan, I

Larry Shapiro photo

vintage Ward LaFrance/LTI aerial ladder truck in Waukegan IL

Bill Friedrich photo

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Pierce Eye Candy … Mesa, AZ and Jacksonville, FL

From RB:

Mesa AZ Velocity engine
Jacksonville FL Enforcer tiller
new Pierce fire truck for Jacksonville, FL

new Pierce fire truck for Jacksonville, FL

new Pierce fire engine for Mesa, AZ

new Pierce fire engine for Mesa, AZ

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Evanston Fire Department history Part 23

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department

Aw, Heck!   

On the evening of February 23, 1914, the Evanston Fire Department responded to one of the worst fires in the city‘s history up until that point in time, a spectacular blaze at Heck Hall dormitory on the lakefront campus of Garrett Bible Institute. Most of Evanston’s multi-story hotels and apartment buildings were constructed in the years 1916-23, so at five stories, Heck Hall was the tallest building in Evanston in 1914, and it was one the few structures in the city at that time where the EFD’s 85-ft aerial ladder was actually needed for something other than as an elevated master stream. 

Several thousand spectators gathered as the top floor was engulfed in flames, with embers falling as far away as Dempster Street. Firefighters led 92 students to safety, getting the students and themselves out of the building just before the upper floors collapsed, with charged hose-lines left behind under the rubble. The EFD‘s three-year old Robinson automobile pumper — Motor Engine No. 1 — broke down with a damaged transmission while en route to the fire, so with the first-due engine company unable to respond and with the two horse-drawn steamers coming from further away, any chance to control the blaze while it was still possible to do so was probably doomed from the start. 

Chief Carl Harrison somewhat belatedly requested help from the Chicago Fire Department, and CFD Engine Co. 79 and Engine Co. 102 responded to the scene to assist Evanston firefighters. Engine Co. 102 was operating with the CFD‘s first gasoline-powered automobile fire engine — a 1912 Webb 650-GPM combination pumper, but even with the assistance of the big-city boys, Heck Hall was completely destroyed, with the loss estimated at $50,000. 

To all appearances, the tenure of Evanston Chief Fire Marshal Carl Harrison had been characterized by innovation and modernization, with implementation of a formal training program, a 20% increase in the firefighting force, and the acquisition of a more-powerful steam fire engine, an aerial-ladder truck, an automobile triple-combination pumper, and a “Lung Motor” mechanical resuscitator. But the Harrison regime was also seen by Evanston Mayor James Smart as increasingly erratic and eccentric. After an uncharacteristically poor performance by the Evanston Fire Department in front of thousands of spectators at the Heck Hall fire, Mayor Smart abruptly fired Harrison, just like an owner of a professional football team might fire a coach who just lost a big game.  

Mayor Smart tapped 34-year old Albert Hofstetter to replace Harrison, and Hofstteter would serve as chief fire marshal of the EFD for more than 36 years, until his death at the age of 70 in September 1950. Hofstetter had just turned 21 when he joined the Evanston Fire Department in March 1901, and he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was assigned as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 2 at the age of 23 in February 1903. He was promoted to captain on March 14, 1914, and two HOURS(!) later was appointed chief fire marshal by Mayor Smart. So Hofstetter’s two-hour tenure as a captain was followed by 36+ years as chief, spanning World War I, the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, WWII, and the onset of the Korean War. His 49 years as a member of the Evanston Fire Department is the all-time record for length of service with the EFD, as is his 36 years as chief, and it’s very unlikely that either of the two records will ever be broken. 

Meanwhile, a few days after being dismissed as chief of the EFD, Carl Harrison announced he was running for alderman of the 4th ward against Smart political ally James Turnock. This announcement precipitated a ferocious editorial in the Evanston Press newspaper by publisher Albert Bowman, accusing Harrison of alcoholism. Harrison lost the election, and swore out a complaint against Bowman for criminal libel.

While the public drama unfolded, Carl Harrison’s father — Justice of the Peace and former Evanston F.D. Chief Sam Harrison — was furiously working behind the scenes in an attempt to influence new Mayor Harry Pearsons to reinstate his son as chief of the EFD. However, Pearsons declined Sam’s request, and to make matters worse for the Harrison clan, the criminal libel complaint against Albert Bowman was summarily dismissed by a Cook County grand jury.

Along with Albert Hofstetter’s promotion to captain on March 14th and then his almost immediate elevation to chief, a number of other promotions occurred within the EFD that day that would affect the EFD for decades to come.

Specifically, Lt. Ed Johnson (Engine Co. 3) was promoted to captain and was assigned to Motor Engine Co. 1, and firemen Tom McEnery, J. E. Mersch, and Pat Gaynor were promoted to the rank of lieutenant, with McEnery replacing the deceased Lt. John Watson as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 2, Mersch replacing Hofstetter as assistant company officer of Motor Engine Co. 1, and Gaynor replacing the newly-promoted Ed Johnson as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 3.

The Hofstetter Boys: 

Ed Johnson: Joined the Evanston Fire Department in 1902, and he was the “man in the middle” who survived the tragic wall collapse at the Mark Manufacturing Company fire in December 1905 that killed Evanston firemen George Stiles and William Craig. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1909, and after being promoted to captain on March 14, 1914, he was promoted to assistant chief in 1918 when Assistant Chief Thomas Norman retired. Johnson served 30 years with the EFD, before dying of a heart attack while being driven home from work by another fireman on October 22, 1932. Coincidentally, besides being 1st Assistant Chief Fire Marshal under Chief Hofstetter 1918-32, Ed Johnson was also Hofstetter’s brother-in-law.

Tom McEnery: Joined the Evanston Fire Department in 1902, and after being promoted to lieutenant on March 14, 1914, he was promoted to captain in 1918, and then to assistant chief in 1924. He served 46 years with he EFD — second only to Al Hofstetter’s record 49 years — and retired as a platoon commander in 1948. Tom’s brother Ed retired as a captain on the same day as his brother in 1948, after serving 40 years with the EFD.

John E. Mersch: Not to be confused with his cousin John M. Mersch, who served 40 years with the EFD 1906-46, J. E. (as he was known within the EFD) joined the Evanston Fire Department in 1905, and after being promoted to lieutenant on March 14, 1914, he was promoted to captain in 1920 and was assigned to Engine Co. 2 when veteran Capt. Carl Harms retired after 27 years of service with the EFD — all 27 years at Station # 2! Mersch was company officer of Engine Co. 1 in September 1927 when he suffered a disabling leg injury after the police ambulance in which he was riding was struck broadside by a bus at Lake & Sheridan while he and two police officers were responding with the inhalator to Greenwood Street Beach to aid a drowning victim. Unable to continue working as a firefighter and unwilling to petition for a disability pension, Mersch was appointed by Chief Hofstetter to the new position of fire prevention inspector in 1928. Mersch would continue to take civil service promotional exams, and was promoted to the rank of assistant chief in 1932. He ultimately served 45 years with the EFD — the final 22 years single-handedly running the Fire Prevention Bureau — before dying of a heart attack behind the wheel of his staff car at the age of 67 while leading the annual Fire Prevention Week parade up Orrington Avenue in October 1950, just a little over two weeks after the death of Chief Hofstetter. Besides his cousin, several other members of the Mersch family served with the EFD, not including one who was a member of the Village of South Evanston Volunteer F.D. prior to the annexation of South Evanston by Evanston in 1892. Additionally, Peter Mersch was chief of the South Evanston Police Department prior to annexation.

Pat Gaynor: Joined the Evanston Fire Department in 1903, and served 31 years with the EFD before retiring in 1934 to join his family’s monument business near Calvary Cemetery. Pat’s brother John also served as an Evanston firefighter during the same period of time, before retiring into the family business in 1936. After being promoted to lieutenant on March 14, 1914, Gaynor was promoted to captain in 1924, and he became the first-ever company officer of newly-organized Engine Co. 4 at Station # 2 in November 1927. Fire Station # 4 opened at 1817 Washington Street in December 1927 and Engine Co. 4 relocated there from Station # 2 at that time, and so Capt. Gaynor took charge of the new Station # 4. Not satisfied with a conventional meet & greet open house with an offering of coffee and cake for the distinguished guests, Gaynor used his juice as boss of the new firehouse to arrange for a professional boxing match on the apparatus floor on New Year’s Eve to help dedicate the new facility. 

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New Chicago Fire Department replica models

1985 E-ONE Hurricane Chicago pumpers – going fast!

Fire Replicas 1985 E-ONE Hurricane fire engines in Chicago Fire Replicas 1985 E-ONE Hurricane fire engines in Chicago Fire Replicas 1985 E-ONE Hurricane fire engines in Chicago

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New engine for Coal City FPD (more)

From the Coal City Fire Protection District Facebook page:

Proud to announce the final inspection of Engine 3112 is complete. Soon the engine will be serving the district for the next 20+ years as a combination Rescue Pumper handling many different responses throughout the district.

orange Seagrave Marauder fire engine

Coal City FFD photo

orange Seagrave Marauder fire engine

Coal City FFD photo

orange Seagrave Marauder fire engine

Coal City FFD photo

thanks Danny

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New ambulance for the Hammond FD

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Congratulations and Thank You to Chief Jeff Smith and the members of the Hammond Fire Department on the recent purchase of two Road Rescue, medium duty, UltraMedic ambulances. These new units will be built on 2022 International MV chassis’ and will have Road Rescue’s 170” long all aluminum walk-thru module with 72” interior headroom. In addition to Road Rescue’s standard all aluminum interior cabinetry and whisper quiet sound deadening thermal insulation system, these fully customized units will also have 6” dropped skirts, integrated rear chevron lighting systems, Pioneer LED scene lighting, Brigade 360 degree overhead view camera systems, as well as Stryker Performance Load Cot Systems. Additional safety systems include Per4Max seatbelt restraint systems, fully CN-10 compliant cabinet doors, safety net at the head of the squad bench, and LiquidSpring Suspension System for improved ride and patient comfort. These top of the line features, coupled with Road Rescue’s rock solid engineering will provide years of dependable service to this busy department. As always, we appreciate the continued business and support from this Northwest Indiana customer.

drawing of a 2022 Road Rescue Ultramedic ambulance on an IHC MV chassis for the Hammond FD in Indiana

thanks Danny

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