Archive for August 1st, 2021

As seen around … Darien

From Daniel Hynd:

Darien Woodridge FPD Ladder 89 is back in service after it’s year-long refurbishment at Pierce. I know it has paint and body work done in the range of $45,000, but I’m not sure if anything else was done to it.
Darien Woodridge FPD Ladder 89

Daniel Hynd photo


As seen around … Chicago

From Chicagoland fire photos on Instagram:

CFD Engine 121 visit

Home to- 

Engine 121 
Truck 40 
Battalion 21 (not there)
Mass casualty 8-8-14 
Ambo 79 (not there) 
Ambo 29 (not there) 
Chicago fire station

Chicagoland fire photos on Instagram

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Used fire trucks sold

This from Dennis McGuire, Jr.:

Found this on Quad County Fire Equipment, Inc. and Fire Truck Resource Facebook page

Quad County Fire Equipment, Inc. and Fire Truck Resource

click to download

Quad County Fire Equipment, Inc. and Fire Truck Resource

click to download

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Evanston Fire Department history Part 32

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department


At 1:30 AM on Wednesday morning, January 7, 1925, EFD Engine Co. 2 and Truck Co. 1 responded to a report of a fire at the Evanston Boot Shop at 919 Chicago Ave. Chief Hofstetter was notified by his buggy-driver that the blaze was confirmed as a working fire, and was picked up at his residence at 1228 Sherman Avenue and conveyed to the scene. Upon arrival, Chief Hofstetter ordered a second alarm and a call-back of the opposite platoon, and EFD Engine Co. 1 and Truck Co. 2 and CFIP Patrol No. 8 responded to the fire, while Engine Co. 3 changed quarters from Station # 3 to Station # 1 and began to call-back off-duty firefighters.

While firefighters were working to quell the stubborn blaze at the boot shop, another fire was reported at 3:30 AM at the Swanson Brothers shoe store at 1906 Central Street in North Evanston. Engine Co. 3 responded to the alarm on Central Street (which was located only a block from Station # 3) with a longer-than-usual response time, because the company was responding from its change quarters at Station # 1. Engine Co. 3 — operating with its own five-man crew plus a few off-duty firefighters who had reported to Station #1 over the previous couple of hours — encountered heavy fire conditions upon arrival. A man was sent on foot to Station # 3 to call for additional assistance, and more firefighters from the opposite platoon who had just arrived at Station # 1 formed-up as a temporary Engine Co. 4 and responded to the fire aboard the reserve Robinson Jumbo pumper (Engine No. 4).   

With all other firefighters from the on-duty platoon committed to fighting the blaze in South Evanston, Chief Hofstetter – who had been advised by his buggy driver of the second fire — immediately ordered Truck Co. 2 (the city service truck) to pick-up from the first fire on Chicago Avenue and respond to Central Street. CFIP Patrol No. 8 also responded to the second blaze to perform salvage work. Chief Hofstetter then requested assistance from the Chicago Fire Department to help battle the blaze in North Evanston, and the Main Fire Alarm Office dispatched Engine Co. 102 and Engine Co. 79 to Evanston. In September 1921, the City of Chicago established a fee for assistance provided by Chicago F. D. companies to neighboring communities — $20 for the first hour, and $15 for each additional hour, per company — and so the EFD did not request assistance from the Chicago Fire Department very often after 1921.    

The Swanson Brothers shoe store was gutted and several several other stores in the block sustained smoke and/or water damage before the conflagration could be contained, with a combined $84,000 damage estimate (combined) between the two fires ($50,000 aggregate damage to stores on Central Street and $34,000 damage to the boot shop on Chicago Avenue). Although it was never proven, the two fires were believed at the time to be arson, because the Retail Clerks International Union (RCIU) had been encountering resistance while attempting to organize employees at the two shoe stores. Back in those days, it was not uncommon for some union locals to employ thugs to damage property by breaking windows, throwing stink bombs or feces into the stores, or sometimes even setting a fire, after more-peaceful attempts to organize workers had failed.            
About six weeks later, on Sunday night, February 22, 1925, Evanston firefighters battled an inferno at the Lynch-Clarisey Oil Company storage yards on Main Street at the C&NW RR Mayfair Division tracks. A cloud of black smoke billowed thousands of feet into the air as 170,000 gallons of oil burned. The fire was extinguished only after the fuel was exhausted. Engine Co. 2 and Engine Co. 1 went to work immediately, and Truck Co. 2 was sent back to Station # 1 to bring the reserve pumper (the Robinson Jumbo) and reserve three-inch hose to the scene. Engine Co. 3 remained in service at Station # 1 to cover the city, and Truck No. 2 was staffed by off-duty firemen when they arrived at Station # 1. All three pumpers including Engine Co. 2’s 300 GPM booster pumper went to work, each pumping at full capacity (2,500 GPM combined) to cover exposures and feed three-inch hose lines into the Eastman Deluger and to an elevated master stream operating from atop Truck No. 1’s extended aerial ladder. Although there was a fear of a possible explosion, that did not happen. While the Chicago Fire Department did place several Foamite rigs into service in 1927 that could be used to attack oil and gasoline fires, setting up defensive positions, covering nearby exposures, and allowing the fuel to burn itself out was the usual method used by fire departments when dealing with a large oil or gasoline fire in 1925. There were no injuries at this fire, but $30,000 worth of oil was lost.     

The fires at the shoe stores in January and at the oil storage facility in February clearly illustrated the need for a fourth engine company in Evanston – either a second engine company at Station # 1, or an engine company located in a fourth fire station to be constructed on the west-side of town — but the Evanston City Council took no action at the time, even though establishing a fourth engine company had been recommended by the National Board of Fire Underwriters (NBFU) following their inspection of the EFD in 1924. However, the aldermen did approve $1,500 in July to construct a three-story drill tower in the rear of Fire Station # 3 (which had also been recommended by the NBFU), and it was completed in November. Typically one engine company and one truck company would drill together under the direction and supervision of Chief Hofstetter, parking their rigs in the alley (which would be temporarily closed to traffic) behind Station # 3. Prior to the construction of the drill tower, the EFD had drilled at Fire Station # 1 or at buildings that were in the process of being demolished. In fact, even after the construction of the drill tower, setting fire to a condemned building and then extinguishing the fire was a favorite practice of the EFD for many years.           

Also in July 1925, the City Council granted pay raises to all members of the Evanston Fire Department. The Chief Fire Marshal’s monthly salary was increased from $333.33 to $350, with a $20 per month increase for the Assistant Chief, a $25 per month increase for captains (company officers), a $15 per month increase for lieutenants (assistant company officers), and a $10 per month increase for all other members of the EFD, with an additional $5 per month increase for all members of the EFD except the Chief in January 1926.

On April 10, 1926, Evanston firefighters battled a stubborn blaze at Annie May Swift Hall (School of Oratory) on the campus of Northwestern University that resulted in $34,000 in damage. Both truck companies were heavily involved with ventilation and salvage efforts at this fire. Because it was first-due to the area west of Asbury Avenue which consisted mainly of single-family homes and a few commercial structures along the C&NW RR Mayfair Division tracks, Truck Co. 2 was staffed by only ten men (five men per platoon) at that time, but a week after the Swift fire and at the insistence of Chief Hofstetter, the Evanston City Council approved increasing staffing of Truck Co. 2 by two (Ronald Ford and Frederick Walters were the new men), with henceforth six men on each platoon instead of five, and bringing the total number of Evanston firefighters to 61 (30 on each platoon, plus the Chief).    


On Saturday afternoon, October 9, 1926, an observation plane flying over a college football game (Northwestern versus Notre Dame) at brand-new Dyche Stadium crashed on the canal bank near Noyes & Ashland. While en route to the scene, Truck No. 2 (the city service truck) was struck broadside by another vehicle at Ridge & Church. Capt. Thomas McEnery and truckmen John Lindberg and Anthony Steigelman were injured, with $3,500 damage to the fire truck. All three firemen recovered and there were no injuries to the occupants of the plane, but Truck No. 2 was heavily damaged and it was believed that it would have to be scrapped. Meanwhile, Truck Co. 2 was temporarily designated “Engine Co. 4” at Station # 1, utilizing the old Robinson Jumbo pumper and running as the second engine company out of Station # 1. In the aftermath of the crash, sirens were placed on all EFD apparatus, to be used in concert with the rig’s bell.  

At 9 AM on Tuesday, November 30, 1926, Evanston firefighters responded to a report of a fire at the Flossy Dental Supply Company plant at 1851 Benson Ave. Firemen spent all day battling the blaze and the off-duty platoon was called in, with relief crews walking three blocks up Sherman Avenue from Fire Station # 1 to the scene. With the city service truck in the repair shop, the EFD was running with four engine companies but only  one truck company at this time, so Chief Hofstetter made good use of CFIP Patrol No. 8 to protect Flossy’s expensive heavy machinery with the insurance squad’s many salvage covers. However, there was $46,326 in damage to the building and contents before the fire was extinguished. 

In December 1926, John Wilbern of Engine Co. 3 retired after twenty years of service with the Evanston Fire Department, the sixth member of the EFD to take an “old age” pension (minimum 50 years old with minimum 20 years of service) since the Evanston Firemen’s Pension Fund became fully funded in December 1915. John Schmidt was hired to replace Wilbern. Then on December 29th, the city service ladder truck was returned to the Evanston Fire Department after being repaired at the Seagrave Company factory in Ohio. The ladder truck was placed back into front-line service even though the damaged chassis frame could not be completely straightened. However, the master mechanics at the Seagrave factory were somehow able to reorient the rear wheels so that the truck could be driven without impediment, although it was more difficult to turn and maneuver than had been the case prior to the crash.

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