Archive for April 19th, 2021

Fire service news

Excerpts from

Members of a pension system get credits for the time they’ve worked. They can purchase additional service credits that essentially move them from one pension system to another. Those credits will then be used to calculate how much that pensioner receives.

Firefighters outside Chicago who started work after 2011 are not allowed to buy service credit after changing departments. 

The President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois says an Illinois Senate bill would allow tier-2 firefighters hired after 2011 to have the same ability as tier-1 firefighters.

The measure cleared the pensions committee unanimously. It’s headed to the Senate floor for further consideration.


As seen around … Garden Homes

This from From Chicagoland_fire_photos:

Garden homes vfd station visit 

Engine 2533 and 2553 
Squad 2525 
Ambo 2562
Garden Homes Volunteer Fire Department fire trucks


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Fatal fire in Sauk Village, 4-18-21

Excerpts from

Sauk Village Fire Department and auto aid companies were dispatched around 8:47 p.m. and arrived to a heavy fire through the roof of a single-family residential home. One occupant was outside of the residence and said that his wife was still trapped inside the home. Firefighters tried to locate the woman but had to evacuate the home when heavy fire overcame the crews. One firefighter experienced a minor injury from a small explosion. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released. A female resident died.

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Evanston Fire Department History – Part 20

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department


The arrival of the auto truck fire engine in the fourth quarter of 1911 allowed the City of Evanston to transfer four horses previously used by the fire department to the street department, and place a steam fire engine into service at Fire Station # 3.

Because the Robinson Jumbo was so much faster than horse-drawn apparatus, Truck Co. 1 was combined with Engine Co. 1 as a 15-man company known as Motor Engine Co. 1, and all personnel assigned to Station # 1 — except for a teamster and a tillerman assigned to drive the aerial-ladder truck and another man assigned as the chief’s buggy driver — rode to alarms aboard the auto truck. The auto-truck responded to all still alarms city-wide, and it was so much faster than horse-drawn apparatus that it often would beat Engine Co. 2 or Engine Co. 3 to an alarm in their own still district! 

After a minor overhaul and a new paint job, the 1906 American-LaFrance Metropolitan 700-GPM second-size steamer and its engineer and assistant engineer were transferred from Station # 1 to Station # 2, the 1895 Ahrens Metropolitan 600-GPM second-size steamer and its engineer and assistant engineer were transferred from Station # 2 to Station # 3, and a lieutenant and three firefighters were transferred from Station # 1 to Station # 3.

So beginning on January 2, 1912, while the number of firefighters remained 34, the number of companies in service with the EFD was reduced from four to three: the new 15-man Motor Engine Co. 1 at Station # 1 that combined Engine Co. 1 and Truck Co. 1 into one company, the nine-man Engine Co. 2 at Station # 2, and the new nine-man Engine Co. 3 now in service at Station # 3 that replaced the former three-man Truck Co. 3. 

Carl Harrison was Chief Fire Marshal, as he had been since December 14, 1905. His office was at Fire Station # 1.   

At Station # 1, Assistant Chief Jack Sweeting was company officer of Motor Engine Co. 1 and he was also in charge of the EFD when the chief was absent, Capt. George Hargreaves was 1st assistant company officer, Lt. Al Hofstetter was 2nd assistant company officer, temporary civilian employee Earnest Erickson was motor driver, and Arthur McNeil was assistant motor driver. 

At Station # 2, Capt. Carl Harms was company officer of Engine Co. 2, Lt. John Watson was the assistant company officer, William Sampson was the engineer, and Max Kraatz was assistant engineer. 

At Station # 3, Capt Thomas Norman was company officer of Engine Co. 3, Lt. Ed Johnson was assistant company officer, J. A. “Dad” Patrick was the engineer, and William Richards was the assistant engineer. Patrick was the first engineer assigned to the Ahrens steamer when it was placed into service in 1895, and he continued to follow the machine as it moved from station to station during the course of his 24-year career with the EFD.   

Motor Engine Co. 1 was a two-piece company, operating with the new 1911 Robinson Jumbo 750-GPM triple combination pumper known as Motor Engine No. 1 and the 1907 American-LaFrance 85-foot HDA with a four-horse hitch still known as Truck No. 1. One fireman was assigned as the driver of the chief’s 1906 two-horse buggy, and the formerly horse-drawn 1873 Babcock double 50-gallon chemical engine was now attached as a trailer behind the auto-truck, which together with the 50 gallons of soda acid carried by the auto-truck, provided up to 150 gallons of chemical fire suppression almost immediately upon arrival at a fire.  

Engine Co. 2 continued to be a two-piece company, but now operating with the newer 1906 American LaFrance Metropolitan 700-GPM second-size steamer (ex-E1) with a three-horse hitch now known as Engine No. 2 and the 1902 Seagrave combination truck & hose tender with a two-horse hitch that was still known as Truck No. 2, 

Engine Co. 3 was also now a two-piece company, operating with the older 1895 Ahrens Metropolitan 600-GPM second-size steamer (ex-E2) with a two-horse hitch now known as Engine No. 3 and the 1885 Davenport H&L and hose tender with a two-horse hitch that was still known as Truck No. 3.   

There were also two hose wagons and 2,500 feet of 2-1/2 inch hose-line kept in reserve, one wagon at Station # 1 and the other at Station # 2, each loaded with 1.250 feet of hose. To help protect the city’s water mains, the Holly high-pressure water works would now be used to increase pressure in the mains only in the case of a large conflagration and/or if one or more of the EFD’s three engines was out of service.  

The two horses that had formerly been assigned to pull Engine Co. 1’s hose cart and the two horses that had been assigned to pull the Babcock double 50-gallon chemical engine were initially transferred to the street department, although one of the horses that was sent to the street department was returned to the fire department in 1913 when the chemical engine was decoupled from the motor engine and converted to a one-horse rig with a two-man crew that responded primarily to minor fires and Gamewell box alarms in Station # 1’s still district.    

Evanston firemen were still working a 112-hour work week in January 1912, working 24 hours on duty, followed by a 12-hour furlough. So sometimes a firefighter would work 8 AM to 8 AM followed by 12-hours off duty, and his next 24-hour shift would run from 8 PM to 8 PM followed by 12-hours off duty. So a fireman got to sleep at home once every three nights.

The Evanston City Council granted pay raises to all Evanston firemen in 1912, except the chief. So EFD annual salaries in 1912 were $1,620 (chief), $1,200 (assistant chief), $1,140 (engineer and motor driver),  $1,080 (captain), $1,020 (lieutenant, assistant engineer, and assistant motor driver), and $960 (fireman).     

There were not yet kitchens in Evanston firehouses in 1912, so a fireman was still permitted to take his meal breaks away from the firehouse, either at home if he lived close to the firehouse, or at a nearby restaurant or lunch counter. Or the fireman could bring a lunch pail or a brown bag and eat at the firehouse. Evanston firemen also received two weeks paid vacation each year, but there was no paid sick leave or time & a half overtime pay. Only one man could be on vacation from each fire station at any one time, with vacations only allowed March to November.  

With a 112-hour work week, one out of every three firemen was on his 12-hour furlough at any one time, so routine staffing in 1912 actually was ten men at Station # 1, six men at Station # 2, and six men at Station # 3. Each company could run one man short, so no fewer than 19 men could be on duty at any one time, or there could be as many as 22, or even 23 if you count the chief. A 35th man was added to the EFD in June 1912 whose job was to provide vacation coverage at Fire Station # 1, which increased minimum on duty EFD staffing to 20. 

The chief was technically on duty at all times, but he typically spent nights and Sundays at home. The chief’s buggy driver would transport the chief to and from his residence, and the buggy driver could respond to the chief’s residence and then drive him directly to a working fire from his home. Otherwise, the assistant chief — who was also company officer of Motor Engine Co. 1 — was in charge of most routine incidents that occurred while the chief was at home. 

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