Posts Tagged Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum

Elgin Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum officials unveiled designs Saturday for a new memorial plaza and launched an effort to raise the $170,000 needed for the project, a vision that’s coming together after decades of planning.

When former Fire Chief John Henrici started thinking about the memorial, he had a grand vision to construct something similar to Springfield’s firefighter monument that could be a focal point for the annual service and would serve to honor firefighters. There have been various artist renderings and thoughts of what should be placed in the George Van deVoorde Firefighter Memorial Park. The park is located on the museum grounds.

The plans call for expanding an area to include three flag poles, a seating area and a water feature. The names of Elgin and other area firefighters killed in the line of duty would be listed as would firefighters who die each year.

Museum officials hope plans for the plaza will be finalized by October, however construction won’t start until the funding is in place.

The Firefighters’ Memorial Service is filled with traditions including a reading of the Fireman’s Prayer, the last alarm and a benediction. New this year was an honor guard presenting the flag of every department attending including Algonquin, East Dundee, Hampshire, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, and Streamwood.


Tags: , ,

Elgin FD memorial service

Excerpts from the

Elgin Fire Chief David Schmidt was part of the original Elgin Area Firefighters Memorial ceremony 25 years ago, as was colleague and friend Steve Berry, and Elgin Fire Department Chaplain Roger Pollock.

This year’s memorial was especially bittersweet for Schmidt because Berry was among those being remembered Berry, who died in July 2016, was among 11 firefighters from seven area departments honored during Saturday’s 25th annual memorial service, held at George Van De Voorde Firefighter Memorial Park on the grounds of the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum on Bent Street.

Bells tolled for Berry and Robert F. Smith from the Elgin Fire Department; Thomas Mack and Ken Penkala from Bartlett Fire Department; Dennis Dwyer from Carpentersville Fire Department; Don Benchly, Ron Nussbaum and Don Oranger from Hampshire Fire Department; Robert Scholl from Hoffman Estates Fire Department; and Michael Mattoon from Rutland Dundee Fire Protection District. Freeport Firefighter Eric Kohlbauer, who died in the line of service, was also recognized.

A moment of silence was held for Elgin Police Officer Steve Jones, who died suddenly May 7. Schmidt said Jones was a friend to firefighters and will be missed.

The annual ceremony is a way for families to mourn their loved ones as well as heal, Schmidt said.

Elgin Mayor David Kaptain read a proclamation marking the day, which also included such traditions as the Last Alarm, reading of the “Fireman’s Prayer” and a performance of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.

Kathleen Mattoon attended the event with her 1-year-old daughter, Madison. She lost her husband Michael, a former Rutland Dundee firefighter, in January. Kathleen took photos of the ceremony to share with her daughter and to keep Michael’s memory alive.

“The fire service has been what has gotten Madison and me through every day,” said Mattoon, who attended the ceremony many times when growing up as the daughter of former West Dundee Fire Chief Frank Buhrmann. “The support they have given us is incredible.”

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Elgin Fire Barn news

Excerpts from the

With the support of a relatively small group of volunteer members, Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum remains a working piece of local history.

The city council on Wednesday unanimously agreed to move forward updating an agreement with the nonprofit that runs the museum. The city-owned fire barn at 533 St. Charles St. was built in 1903-1904 to hold two horses and a hose wagon and at the time stood at the southernmost spot in Elgin.

According to the agreement, the city will continue to be responsible for maintaining the building and property, pay for utilities, except telephone service, and continue to maintain insurance for the property. City officials said utilities for the building ran $4,456 last year, while the estimated property insurance cost to the city is $945 annually. The city also takes care of additional periodic maintenance and repairs to the building and plans to paint its exterior this year.

The previous five-year deal expired in 2002, but continued to operate under the old terms, including a $10-per-year lease. The terms of the updated agreement are substantially similar to the previous one, including a five-year term and rent of $10 per year.

Revisions to the term from 2017 through 2021 include an automatic renewal provision by which the agreement is automatically renewed for additional five-year terms unless terminated by one of the parties.

The nonprofit also has to maintain and update museum records including providing an inventory of the museum collection and to make those records available to the city.

Fire Barn museum volunteer/members Dale Betts and James Carrigan noted that members try to provide for as much of the maintenance and upkeep as they can, further curbing expenses. The group spends about $200 each year fueling the three antique vehicles it has so that they can be used in parades.

While one of those vehicles is on display in the Fire Barn, the other two are stored in Elgin fire stations. The museum has been trying for two years to find its own storage space.

The museum had 672 visits in 2016, which is a typical annual tally and is run off of donations and the work of volunteers. There are currently 77 dues-paying members.

Betts has been a Fire Barn volunteer for five years and Carrigan has been involved for seven years.

New exhibits this year include a wall dedicated to the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and a display about a fire in the winter of 1956 at the Rialto movie house in downtown Elgin in which the roof collapsed.

Carrigan said the group also has been working to put together a yearbook, of sorts, looking at the 150-year history of the Elgin Fire Department. He expects the piece will be published sometime in midsummer.

Thanks to Elgin Building Maintenance Superintendent Rich Hoke and his crew, the men said, the fountain in front of the museum, which had not been working for more than five years, will be operating again during warm weather.

Filled with fire department lore and memorabilia, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been a museum since 1993.

The space is available to rent for events which have included memorial services, wakes and funerals, visits from groups such as Northern Illinois Fire Buffs, children’s birthday parties, and scouting organizations.

Since the space is run by volunteers, it is typically only open for general visiting every other Sunday afternoon, but it is recommended to call 847-697-6242 or email before stopping by.

Suggested admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children under the age of 7. For information, go to

thanks Dan

Tags: , ,

Elgin FD memorial service

Excerpts from the

The annual memorial service was held at the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum Saturday morning (5/7/16).

A memorial is held each year to remember those who have served area communities and passed away in the previous year as well as to honor Illinois firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty over the previous year.

Bartlett, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elgin, Hampshire, Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Pingree Grove, Rutland, South Elgin, Streamwood, and West Dundee fire departments participated. Illinois State Fire Marshall Matt Perez was the keynote speaker.

The ceremony included an honor guard with a bell ringing for each person who has passed away. The bell signifies a firefighter has been called back to quarters and to rest.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , ,

Elgin memorial service remembers firefighters

The Daily Herald has an article about a memorial held for firefighters who perished in 1974.

Eight Elgin firefighters are listed on a wall at Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum that honors those who died of injuries suffered on duty. Two had heart attacks; one injured a leg and died of the resulting infection; one died of a concussion; one was crushed under the wheels of a fire truck; and one died of a shotgun injury.

Saturday, firefighters remembered the two who lost their lives 40 years ago this summer, trying to save a teenager from drowning in the boil under the Kimball Street dam on the Fox River. Two teens had, on a dare, ridden a raft over the dam on the flood-swollen river. They capsized in the hydraulic roller, or boil, below the dam. One was thrown free; the other was stuck.

To his rescue came Station 2 Pipeman Michael Whalen and his captain, Stanley Balsis, said current Fire Chief John Fahy.

“They did what they are supposed to do. They got their boat in the water and they were the ready to go,” Fahy said of Balsis and Whalen.

Both were killed when their rescue boat capsized. Whalen died almost immediately when their boat slammed against the concrete wall of the dam.

Balsis held on to the capsized boat for 45 minutes, with a broken arm and a separated shoulder, battered by the roil. Efforts to save him proved fruitless, as he could not hang on to flotation devices firefighters threw to him to pull him out. The raging waters took him.

Both teenagers survived the tragedy.

Besides remembering three Illinois firefighters who died on the job in the past year, the representatives also detailed former members of their departments who have died in the last year.

“Once you are a firefighter, you are always a firefighter. It’s what you do. It’s what you wanted to do. It’s how you lived your lives,” Fahy said.

thanks Dan

Tags: , , , , ,

Elgin Fire Barn Open House Oct 27th

Elgin Fire Museum Open House 2012

Tags: , ,

Elgin Fire Barn Open House Oct 27th

Elgin Fire Barn No 5 Museum open house 2012

Tags: , ,