Archive for June 23rd, 2012

Woman dedicates headstone for firefighter that saved her life

The Chicago Tribune has a human interest story about a Chicago firefighter who died in 1952.

Chicago firefighter John Francis Minich died a hero, collapsing just moments after rescuing several people from a burning apartment building in 1952.

But for nearly six decades, Minich’s body has lain in an unmarked grave in a Des Plaines cemetery, an anonymous resting place among rows of headstones chiseled with names.

That will change Saturday morning, when officials from the Chicago Fire Department and the firefighters union dedicate a headstone marking Minich’s grave at All Saints Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum.

Also in attendance will be a woman whose lifetime of questions about the firefighter who saved her life led to the recognition of his resting place.

Her mother was eight months pregnant with McCann when the smoky blaze began to spread Oct. 25, 1952, through their apartment building in the 1000 block of West Argyle Street.

Trapped on the third floor, McCann’s mother ignored firefighters shouting at her to jump because she didn’t want to harm her unborn child, McCann said.

Minich already had rescued other residents when he went back into the building to find the trapped woman. He put a wet cloth over McCann’s mother’s mouth and nose and led her through the blinding smoke, according to McCann and a Tribune article about the fire published the next day.

Minich tried to keep McCann’s mother calm as they made their way through the building, asking her what name she planned to give her baby, McCann said. He even promised to visit her and the newborn once the child was born.

Moments after guiding McCann’s mother to a waiting ambulance, the firefighter collapsed, McCann said.

A death notice in the newspaper said Minich was survived by his wife, Marie, and two brothers. A 29-year-old man was later charged with setting the fire after he became upset with his girlfriend, who lived in the building, according to several Tribune stories.

Twelve days after the fire, McCann was born. She had always been intrigued by the story of her mother’s rescue and last year began searching for Minich’s grave.

She asked a friend who works at All Saints, John Stewart, to help her find where Minich was buried. Stewart discovered that Minich and his wife were in unmarked graves.

McCann first visited Minich’s grave on a snowy day in January, and the sight of the nondescript plot left her shaken, she said.

“It really troubled me,” McCann said. “I looked at this entire row, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s a hero. He saved my life. I’m here because of him. And he doesn’t have a marker.'”

McCann told Stewart that she would buy a headstone for Minich. But Stewart told her to wait, and he talked to a neighbor who is a Fire Department captain. The department contacted the firefighters union a short time later, and Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst soon agreed to donate a black granite headstone. McCann said she also plans to secure a headstone for Minich’s wife.

The complete article can be found HERE.

thanks Chris

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New ambulance for Warrenville

Martin Nowak found another recent delivery for us on a manufacturer’s website. This time, we go to the Braun Custom Ambulance site showing a new unit for the Warrenville Fire Department.

Recent Delivery – #5857 – Warrenville Fire Protection District

 Please view our gallery of a Braun Chief XL Type I ambulance on a Ram D-4500 chassis delivered to Warrenville Fire Protection District in Warrenville, IL. This unit was delivered by Allan Wenckus of North Central Ambulance Sales & Service.
Warrenville Fire Protection District Braun ambulance

New Type I ambulance for the Warrenville Fire Protection District on a Dodge Ram chassis. Braun photo

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New engine for Bolingbrook

This from Lucas Hanson

I just thought I’d share a picture of Bolingbrook‘s new engine 5 that went in service this week.  Its a Pierce PUC, not sure of any specs.

Bolingbrook Fire Department Engine 5 2012 Pierce Impel PUC

Bolingbrook received this 2012 Pierce Impel PUC for Engine 5. Lucas Hanson photo

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