Archive for November 19th, 2021

Still and Box Alarm fire in Chicago, 11-18-21

This from Chi-Town Fire Photos:

Here are some shots from the 17th Battalion’s Still & Box Alarm @ 2719 W Augusta Blvd on 11/18/21. Many more photos are available for viewing on our website 

Chi-Town Fire Photos
house fire at night

Chi-Town Fire Photos

massive flames through the roof of a house at night

Chi-Town Fire Photos

massive flames through the roof of a house at night

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Firefighters battle a fire

Chi-Town Fire Photos

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Evanston Fire Department history Part 44

From Phil Stenholm:

Another installment about History of Evanston Fire Department


There were only two promotions in the Evanston Fire Department between 1934 and 1942, both occurring on the same day in May 1937. It was for sure a big day for the Dorband family, as Lt. Henry Dorband – a future chief of the EFD — was promoted to captain and replaced Capt, John Wynn as company officer of Engine Co. 2, and Henry Dorband’s older brother Carl was promoted to lieutenant and assigned as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 3. Unfortunately, Lt. Dorband would suffer a fatal heart attack at the age of 50 while sitting in front of Station # 3 on a Sunday afternoon in May 1942.

After the death of Lt. Dorband, there were twenty promotions over the course of the next seven years, as a wave of “new blood” began to take command of the EFD. Fireman John Schmidt was the first to receive a promotion, finishing at the top of the Civil Service promotional list for lieutenant that was established following Lt. Dorband’s death in 1942.

Prior to his promotion, Schmidt had been a long-time chief’s buggy driver as well as Chief Hofstetter’s administrative assistant and personal secretary, so when he was promoted to lieutenant to ostensibly replace Lt. Dorband at Station # 3, Chief Hofstetter stepped in and transferred Lt. Frank Sherry from Engine Co. 1 to Engine Co. 3, thus making sure that Lt, Schmidt would remain at Station # 1 and continue to serve as the chief’s “right-hand man,” in addition to performing his other duties as assistant company officer of Engine Co. 1.    

Fluent in both English and German, Lt. Schmidt took leave from the Evanston Fire Department in 1947 after being appointed the temporary Oberbranddirektor of the fire brigade in the U. S. Sector of Berlin, Germany. As Oberbranddirektor, Schmidt helped the severely degraded Berliner Feuerwehr located in the U. S. Sector recover from damage to facilities and equipment incurred during World War II, especially in the last days of the war after the Russian army stormed the city.

Schmidt served as Oberbranddirektor of the Berliner Feuerwehr in the U. S. Sector until the Federal Republic of Germany was established and the City of Berlin was returned to local rule on May 23. 1949, at which point he returned home to Evanston. Because he was next on the promotional list for captain when he took his Leave of Absence, Schmidt was promoted to captain upon his return to the EFD in 1949.  

Schmidt was initially assigned as company officer of Engine Co. 5 upon his return to the EFD, before replacing Assistant Chief J. E. Mersch as commander of the Fire Prevention Bureau after Chief Mersch’s sudden death in October 1950. Definitely one of the Evanston Fire Department’s “best and brightest” and a likely future chief of the EFD, Capt. Schmidt instead chose to retire in 1952 at the relatively young age of 51 after 25 years of service — despite being next on the promotional list for assistant chief —  after he was appointed Midwest Regional Fire Coordinator for the U. S. Civil Defense Agency by U. S, President Harry Truman.

While probably none of the other members of the Evanston Fire Department who retired or who were promoted in the 1940’s had quite as unique a career as John Schmidt, some did make a mark over the course of time.  

Lt. Dan McKimmons retired in 1943 after 32-years of service with the EFD, and Fireman John Reddick was promoted to lieutenant and replaced Lt. McKimmons as assistant company officer of Truck Co. 2. Note that this is a different John Reddick than the one who served with the EFD and was fired after he and several other members of Truck Co. 1 were caught drinking alcohol while on duty at Station # 1 in 1906.

Dan McKimmons was hired in 1911, one of four new men added to the EFD when the Robinson Jumbo automobile pumper was placed into service. When he was a fireman assigned as tillerman on Truck Co. 1, McKimmons had been seriously injured after being thrown to the ground when the American-LaFrance HDA was demolished in a collision with an Evanston Railway Company streetcar at Grove & Sherman in September 1916, and then as a lieutenant assigned to Truck Co. 2, he nearly died before being rescued and resuscitated by other firefighters after becoming trapped and overcome by smoke while battling a blaze in the basement of an apartment building at 1015 Dempster Street in February 1941. 

Dan’s older brother George was the rookie fireman whose first day on the job was December 13, 1905, the day of the tragic Mark Manufacturing Company fire at which two Evanston firemen were killed. George McKimmons would later leave the EFD and join the Chicago Fire Department, and after being promoted to captain, he was the CFD officer who organized Truck Co. 44 at Engine 55’s house on Sheffield Avenue in 1928.


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