Archive for July 4th, 2020

Police seek help in identifying arsonists

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Chicago police and federal investigators are working to identify people who set fire to dozens of businesses and vehicles following the death of George Floyd as many businesses went up in flames across the Chicago area during violent unrest. Because of the sheer number of fires that were set during that weekend, federal officials were brought in to help. The national response team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spent weeks in Chicago going through surveillance video. On Tuesday, they released images from just 10 of those fires.

On May 31, inside Englewood’s City Sports store at 65th and Halsted, two suspects walked through the already looted business. One leans down and uses a lighter to set fire to some papers on the ground. A few miles away, at a beauty supply store in Archer Heights, a similar scene played out. A suspect is seen inside the beauty supply store pouring some sort of liquid over a counter, then setting fire to it. Hundreds of stores were looted and dozens of fires set from the Loop to the South and West Sides.

The Chicago Police Department, in conjunction with federal officials, released surveillance video and photographs of 19 people suspected in just some of the 53 fires that were set between May 31 and June 3. The hope is that by making these public, they may be able to arrest those responsible for the fires. Chicago police have published the surveillance images and videos of these fires on their Youtube channel.

Those arrested may be facing federal charges as the U.S Attorney’s office said the arson investigations are part of a national effort to prosecute those responsible for crimes committed during that time of civil unrest. Anyone with information is asked to contact contact CPD at 312-745-6233 or email Information can also be submitted anonymously via or on the Report It mobile app, available on Google Play or Apple Apps Store.


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Mattoon Fire Department news

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The City of Mattoon’s insurance rating for fire protection service recently improved, a change that could yield lower insurance premiums for some property owners. Fire Chief Jeff Hilligoss said the Insurance Services Office (ISO) issues these ratings for how well protected communities are by their fire departments. Insurance companies then use that score to help set property insurance rates, although the impact on homeowner insurance policies varies by insurer.

An ISO fire insurance rating is scored on a range of 1-10, with lower numbers meaning better ratings. There are four main criteria for for score: 50 percent from the quality of the fire department, 40 percent from the availability of water supply, 10 percent from the quality of the local 911 system, and an extra 5.5 percent from fire prevention programs. Only 0.71 percent of all communities surveyed have a rating of 1, and a rating of 5 is both the median and most common rating. The Mattoon Fire Department previously had a rating of 4/4, and  Mattoon improved to 3/3 through changes in documentation, additional training, inspection services, and water distribution system improvements.

The Mattoon Fire Department will work to lower this score again in a couple of years.

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The Mattoon City Council voted on June 16 to appoint Jeff Hilligoss to the chief’s post after conducting a candidate search process with the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. 

In 1995, Hilligoss began pursuing his career in firefighting when he became a volunteer with the Lincoln Fire Protection District. He served there as a volunteer firefighter for 25 years and was eventually named chief of this district’s Old State Road station in rural Mattoon, a position he held until recently.

After gaining experience as a volunteer firefighter, he was hired by the Mattoon Fire Department 19 years ago and worked his way up the ranks to engineer and then captain, and also became a training supervisor. Hilligoss has years of experience with the day to day operations of the department and cooperating with other area emergency response agencies. He said that experience will help him as he takes on the administrative responsibilities with Mattoon. Hilligoss intends to develop long term plans for vehicle and equipment purchases, and continuing to improve the city’s Insurance Services Office rating for fire protection capabilities.

The Mattoon Fire Department’s previous permanent chief retired in February 2019. The department subsequently had two interim chiefs; first Kris Phipps and then Kevin Schott.

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New engine for Lansing (more)

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Congratulations Village of Lansing Fire Department on the delivery of their new 2020 E-ONE fire trucks pumper! 

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to provide your community with it’s FIRST E-One apparatus! 

Specs: 2020 E-One Typhoon chassis, Cummins L9 380HP // Allison 3000 transmission, low hosebed stainless steel body, 1500-GPM Waterous pump, 530 gallons of water, & Hi-ViZ scene lights.

2020 E-One Typhoon pumper

Fire Service, Inc. photo

2020 E-One Typhoon pumper

Fire Service, Inc. photo

chevron striping on back of fire engine

Fire Service, Inc. photo

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