Posts Tagged Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jim Bodony

New fire chief in Glen Ellyn

Excerpts from

Chris Clark is the new chief of the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company. He was sworn in at the Glen Ellyn Village Board meeting April 25. Clark, who was first elected chief by his peers before being sworn in, is taking the reins from Jim Bodony, who had served as chief for the past three years.

“I thank you for your confidence and support,” Clark said, in addressing village officials. “But this day is not really about me. This day is about the volunteers … These are absolutely wonderful, dedicated people that want nothing more than to help their neighbors on their neighbors’ worst day.”

During the meeting, Bodony also was honored for his three years of service as fire chief. He first joined the company in 1972.

“Jim has been a great leader and has become a friend, and we’ve accomplished a lot of things over the last several years together,” Village President Alex Demos said. “It is with a bit of sadness, but also happiness – knowing that you get a bit of your time back, but you are going to stay on and continue to be a member of the volunteer department. I look forward to the continued relationship, and I wanted to express my personal gratitude and also the gratitude of this board for your service to the community.”

“The past village boards have been great in supporting the fire company and supporting our initiatives, and I think in the past three years we’ve made some great progress that benefits all of Glen Ellyn in the way that we’ve maintained the fire company and created a model so it can continue,” Bodony said.

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Glen Ellyn VFC history

Excerpts from

Former Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Capt. James Pierce Jr. had a passion for firefighting.

“He just loved to fight fires,” said Fire Chief Jim Bodony, who had worked alongside Pierce for 20 years. “He gave it his all.” He liked the challenges that came with being a firefighter, Bodony said.

Pierce died March 26 at the age of 77. He had worked for the fire company for almost 28 years – from 1960 to 1976, and then from 1980 to 1992.

A memorial gathering for Pierce will be from 4 to 8 p.m. April 1 at Leonard Memorial Home, 565 Duane St., Glen Ellyn. A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. April 2 at Leonard Memorial Home, with interment to follow at Forest Hill Cemetery.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in it, and I think that’s what draws a lot of people to this profession,” Bodony said. “It’s a challenge, and it tests you physically and mentally to go into some place that’s unknown. You really can’t see when you go into a burning building. The smoke is down to the floor, and you have to go in there and find a fire or find a victim and bring them out and put the fire out.”

Pierce retired from the fire company in 1992 as a captain. Bodony first joined the company in 1972.

He was a quiet leader,” Bodony said. “He was very dedicated to the guys that he supervised.”

Pierce also worked for the Schaumburg Fire Department from 1971 to 1980.

“He was very proud of both departments and also of his service to his country as a United States Marine,” Bodony said. “He was especially proud of that.”

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Fire Departments express concerns about hazardous cargo

Excerpts from a Daily Herald article:

A continued spike in oil trains and recent high-profile explosions and pollution spills across the United States have suburban fire departments playing defense.

[Firefighters] interviewed by the Daily Herald for this series of reports on railway hazardous materials releases said they train continually and have mutual aid agreements for worst-case scenarios. But all the forethought in the world could be trumped by issues beyond their control, authorities warn.

It’s more than theoretical in places like Glen Ellyn, where a 1976 derailment spilled ammonia, leading to a massive evacuation and 14 injuries.

And fuel isn’t the only hazardous material emergency firefighters face, records show. The Daily Herald reviewed 15½ years of hazmat reports involving trains and found 345 occurrences in the metropolitan region. The types of chemicals and fuels firefighters could battle on any given day include toxins that pose a health threat with significant exposure such as hydrochloric acid, ammonia or the solvent xylene, and highly flammable liquids such as ethanol or Bakken crude oil.

As one of Illinois’ largest cities, Aurora has about 195 firefighters. There are about 30 hazmat specialists on hand.

Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis noted that the railroad annually trains about 2,500 local, state and federal first-responders on ways to minimize the impact of a potential derailment. “In 2014, Union Pacific has trained 314 emergency responders on crude oil safety.”

BNSF spokeswoman Roxanne Butler said the railroad trained 8,619 first-responders this year. “We’ll go to any fire department along our railroad and host a hands-on training,” she said.

The Federal Railroad Administration proposes phasing out older DOT-111s that transport ethanol and crude oil within two years. But the policy gives the industry an out, firefighters say, by limiting the restrictions to trains with 20 or more high-hazard flammable cars.

“The (BNSF) railroad goes through almost all of our central business district … if we had a train that was transporting Bakken oil and we had an accident and spill and a few of the containers caught fire — it would have a significant long-term impact on the community,” Lisle-Woodridge’s Krestan said.

The American Association of Railroads said its members support modernized, more durable tank cars.

With busy Union Pacific tracks bisecting his community, Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jim Bodony knows trains carrying hazmat will pass through town frequently. What he balks at are trains potentially carrying ethanol or crude oil idling on tracks for hours on end.

His fears aren’t unprecedented. Before dawn on May 16, 1976, a Chicago and North Western Railway (now UP) train derailed after hitting another freight train on a curve just west of Glen Ellyn, causing a carload of ammonia to gush out, injuring 14 people. Parts of Glen Ellyn and Glendale Heights were evacuated for hours, and the chemical went into the sewers, polluting Lake Ellyn and killing fish.

If there’s a serious release from a tank car, the faster firefighters know what substances are or could be involved, the better, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said. Existing policies — where a paper manifest is handed over to first-responders — just aren’t pragmatic, he thinks. He wants real-time electronic access from the railroads as to what chemicals are on the train. So far, that hasn’t materialized.

CN’s Waldron said the railroad’s police communications center can email or fax a train manifest to first-responders when requested during an emergency.

CN and other railroads are offering a mobile app for emergency response officials that “provides immediate access to accurate, near-real-time information about railcars carrying hazardous materials on a train,” Waldron said.

The BNSF’s Butler said the railroad has an emergency number for firefighters to call and get critical information.

thanks Dan

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