The Northbrook Star has an article announcing the retirement of Northbrook Fire Chief Mark Nolan.

Northbrook Fire Chief Mark Nolan announced his retirement Wednesday, effective Nov. 16, 33 years to the day from the start of his first shift as a village firefighter.

Nolan’s eight-year career as chief has been marked by some significant improvements in local safety, including, at his behest, the adoption by the Northbrook Village Board of an ordinance requiring all new single-family houses be fitted with fire sprinkler systems, a rarity in the Chicago area. It was during his tenure as chief, too, that automatic external defibrillators were installed in all Northbrook pubic buildings and in all police cars.

One of his most dramatic accomplishments came in June 2008, after a series of serious wrecks on the eastbound Tri-State Tollway Spur. He realized the cause was that drivers, mostly truckers, coming out of a Tri-State Tollway construction zone were speeding up on the Spur, just in time to hit backups on a blind curve caused by another construction zone on the Edens Expressway. He insisted that warning signs be added at the start of the Spur, and that the eastbound lanes be narrowed from two to one well before reaching the Edens, to discourage speed. The Toll Highway Authority and the Illinois Department of Transportation agreed to Nolan’s demands five days later.

Before the changes: Eight wrecks, 26 injuries and two deaths. After the changes: zero deaths, zero injuries, zero wrecks.

Three months later, Nolan dove into a flooded ditch in front of Pinstripes, 1150 Willow Road, to rescue a woman trapped in a car, filling with water, that appeared to be sliding deeper into the ditch. He swam 25 yards, still wearing his fire boots, and hoisted her through the sunroof of the car. The water had reached the top of her seat. At the low end of the car, the water in the ditch was over Nolan’s head.

Nolan had risen steadily through the ranks. He was promoted from firefighter/paramedic to lieutenant in 1991, captain in 1997, district chief in 2002, deputy chief in 2003 and chief in 2007.

thanks Dan

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