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Friday, August 1, 2014
Chicago: Little Village Fire Destroys Pallet Business    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Chicago fire crews called water management officials with a request to increase the water pressure in the city's Little Village neighborhood early Friday morning as they battled a massive warehouse fire that sent raging flames and smoke into the early morning sky. Crews were called to the fire, at 2525 West 25th Street, shortly after 11:15 p.m. Thursday and was quickly elevated to 3-alarms. By the time the fire was out about two hours later, three buildings, several tractor trailers and countless wooden pallets were destroyed. Residents in the area reported hearing explosions, and firefighters battling the fire at points were using more water than the local pumping station could supply. "We did have an issue with water. When you supply a large volume, pumpers in large numbers, it diminishes the water supply in the surrounding area. We bring in large-diameter hose apparatus and reach large water mains to increase our water volume," said Deputy Fire Commissioner Anthony Vasquez. "We also had assistance from the water department to increase pressure in the area."
NBC Chicago

Chicago city budget puts off day of reckoning until after election    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out a pre-election increase in property or sales taxes, but he’ll have to find another way to close a $297.3 million budget gap that assumes the Illinois General Assembly will lift the pension hammer hanging over Chicago. State law requires the city to make a $550 million contribution to shore up police and fire pension funds that have assets to cover just 30 and 24 percent of their respective liabilities. If Emanuel chooses to fund the payment with property taxes, the city’s levy must be raised in 2015 so bills issued the following year reflect the increase. Instead of including that payment in the financial analysis now used as a substitute for Chicago’s preliminary budget, the mayor left it out, assuming he will get both revenue and reform before the payment is due. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said Emanuel is actually making two risky assumptions that put off the day of reckoning until after the mayoral election.
Chicago Sun-Times

Official: Man found dead in attic after Cicero fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A man was found dead after a fire early Friday morning in west suburban Cicero, according to a town official. The fire began about 1:30 a.m. in a three-story building in the 5000 block of West 30th Place and was quickly extinguished, according to Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania. A 23-year-old man was found dead in the attic of the building, Hanania said. His name was withheld pending notification of family. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office did not immediately confirm the fatality. The property was apparently overcrowded, according to Hanania. He said investigators are “99 percent sure” the fire was not arson and appears to be accidental. The cause remains under investigation.
Chicago Sun-Times

Peoria fire officials recount horrific house fire during Aunterrio Barney trial    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Four people trapped in a West Bluff apartment during a 2010 house fire had little chance to escape, a Peoria fire investigator told jurors Thursday. The fire was started in the only stairwell upstairs, sending intense heat and thick smoke into the upper floor apartment of 1212 N. University St., Division Chief Phil Maclin of the Peoria Fire Department said. “One of the things we teach in fire prevention is to crawl underneath the smoke, but here, the soot was from the ceiling to the floor,” he told jurors. Soot, jurors have learned, is indicative of smoke. “They (the victims) were overcome by heat and they were overcome by inhaling those carbons in their air. It was a very short time for them.” The jury heard testimony all day regarding the horrific blaze and its aftermath. One man, Aunterrio Barney, 37, is on trial for murder and arson in connection with the April 21, 2010, blaze. Youlandice Simmons, 24, her pregnant sister, Brianna Simmons, 22, and 19-year-old Darresse Roddy died that morning. The son of Youlandice Simmons, 2-year-old Darryl Miller Jr., died the next day at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
Peoria Journal Star

Workers rescued by Moline firefighters after bucket-lift malfunction    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Two men working on a tower at First Lutheran Church in downtown Moline were rescued Thursday after the bucket they were in tilted on its side 120 feet in the air. Without training and the safety equipment the men were using, they would have fallen to the ground, Moline Fire Department public information officer Jim Versluis said. Instead, they were rescued by the Rock Island Arsenal Fire Department and declined medical treatment. Keith Sutton, owner of Georgia-based Sutton Christian Supply, said the workers -- Brian Wilson and Sean Hillhouse -- were preparing to caulk when the hydraulics failed and the bucket began falling. Fortunately, the safety equipment kicked in and stopped the fall, he said. "One of the workers got caught in the webbing as it came down," but both were tethered and implemented the safety measures they were trained to use, Mr. Sutton said. The Moline Fire Department responded to the church at 13th Street and 5th Avenue and requested assistance from the Arsenal, which brought its ladder truck and rescued the men. "In my 35 years with the company, this is the first time ever something like this has happened," Mr. Sutton said. "When you are dealing with mechanics, they have failures." That's why the workers are safety certified and have procedures in place, he said.

Jackson County: More Volunteer Firefighters Needed    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Many fire departments across our region depend on volunteers. But the ranks are thinning, and some stations are down to just a half dozen firefighters, which forces them to rely on other departments and slows response times. The Carbondale Township Fire Department is just one of many in the area dealing with a shrinking list of volunteers. Right now, they only have eight, about half as many as they need. Carbondale Township Fire Department Shift Officer Joseph Shelton said, "You get a pager, and you take it around with you all the time. And there's not like certain nights where you have to show up or certain days, you just show up." The Carbondale Township Fire Department has four full-time employees and eight volunteers. With such a small staff, the department is often forced to call for mutual aid, which can take up more time. "If we're called to a structure fire, there's a lot of stuff going on at the same time," said Shelton. "And we need the manpower to get it all done." "A lot of the areas that can't afford to have a full-time fire department rely on, you know, just regular citizens in the area, you know, [to] step up and dedicate their spare time to help protect the area," said DeVante Marshall, a volunteer with the Carbondale Township Fire Department.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Chicago Mayor: Strength of CPS diversity behind hiring preference plan   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday defended his decision to give graduates of Chicago Public Schools a leg up on city jobs — including Chicago firefighters. Chicago Firefighters Union President Tom Ryan has said the hiring preference has caused an “outcry” among the rank-and-file, many of whom are second- and third-generation firefighters and would like their own children to have the same chance. Some members whose children attend parochial school are so incensed about the hiring preference, they’re threatening to file a lawsuit to stop the city from applying the preference on Chicago’s first firefighters entrance exam in a decade. On Wednesday, Emanuel made it clear he has no intention of backing off from a plan that serves as an incentive for inner-city kids to stay in school and graduate. “We have a very diverse city made up of a lot of people with talent. Part of the Shakman decree and getting us out from underneath that court-ordered supervision was [ending the day when] it was more important who you knew than what you knew,” the mayor said.
Chicago Sun-Times

Marengo firefighter quits after funds went missing   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A Marengo Fire Rescue lieutenant resigned Tuesday after he was caught taking $6,700 from the volunteer fire department's nonprofit organization, according to multiple sources. Lt. Russ Kahl took funds from the Marengo Fire Rescue Association in three separate incidents this month while serving as president of the nonprofit organization, said current president Scott Klaassens, who was named to the position Tuesday. Kahl, who had been serving as association president for nearly two years, returned the $6,700 to the organization this week before resigning. The association notified Marengo police of the incident, although no charges have been filed. "As a board, we decided at this time that he shouldn't be charged," Klaassens said. "It's not a closed case yet. It is still open, pending on what we discover in our audit." Kahl was suspended from the fire department a week ago, after the association's treasurer, Klaassens said, noticed a number of withdrawals that didn't appear to be approved. The association has policies in place to guard against unauthorized withdrawals. Going forward, the group will be conducting an audit to ensure no other money was taken.
Northwest Herald

Danville: People worry about safety when consolidating fire stations   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A committee is talking about closing one fire station. It’s all part of a plan to save money. They would go from four stations to three. Danville has been in this trouble before, but always found a way to pay for firefighters and their stations. Leaders aren’t sure how long they can do that. That’s what the Danville Fire Sustainability Committee is trying to figure out. They’re talking about consolidating stations 3 and 4 into one. Herman Young has lived on Main Street for five years. He worries about his station closing because it would mean taking an engine longer to get to him. "We still have a dilemma here. If they consolidate it or if they don't consolidate it by me living by these railroad tracks," said Young. He says he’s seen trains back trucks up for more than ten minutes at a time. "Those railroad tracks are going to affect our response times," said Lt. Jerry Sparks, who works at station 3 and is also on the committee. Along with plans to consolidate stations, the committee is looking at laying off three or four firefighters. They’re also looking at going from 13 to twelve staffers a shift. Sparks says twelve is not enough. "Are we going to have a back-up line, or am I going to have a firefighter rescue crew? Am I going to have a ventilation crew, or a search and rescue team? We have to make choices. That's bad for the public," he said.
WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign

Bedford Park might scrap piece of firefighting history   view comments tweat me share on facebook
There's a story that former Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn invented the snorkel fire truck in 1958 by running a hose up a cherry picker truck and pumping water down onto a fire. While the first snorkels were converted vehicles, GMC produced the first original snorkel fire truck in 1959 for the Chicago Fire Department. "For some reason, they did not purchase it and it wound up in Bedford Park," said Bedford Park Fire Chief Sean Maloy. "I'm told Bedford Park got a good deal on it." For the next 20 years, Bedford Park firefighters used the GMC snorkel to battle fires and drive in parades. "In 1980, we gave it to Public Works for use as a work truck," Maloy said. "About 15 years ago, they stopped using it." The truck sat for years in a Public Works parking lot. Eventually, firefighters decided they wanted to restore the vintage piece of firefighting equipment. "We had it towed to the fire yard. We wanted to restore it," Maloy said. "We set aside $30,000. We wanted to make it pretty for parades." Then the other shoe dropped. "We had it evaluated," Maloy said. "We found out it needed a lot of body work and a new engine just to make it able to run." He said the needed repairs would have doubled the cost of restoring the snorkel.
Desplaines Valley News

SUV crashes into vacant St. Charles building unit   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A sport utility vehicle Wednesday afternoon went through the plate-glass window of an empty business unit in a strip mall on St. Charles' west side, St. Charles Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet said. Emergency responders found a black Toyota RAV4 completely inside the front space of a vacant unit in the 2000 block of West Main Street in St. Charles. St. Charles police and fire crews were dispatched at 5:33 p.m. Wednesday to the incident, Schelstreet said. The woman driving the SUV told police and fire officials at the scene that she mistakenly accelerated when she pulled up to a parking spot in front of the unit, Schelstreet said. There were no injuries reported at the scene and the St. Charles Fire Department did not find any other structural damage to the building. Jimmy Dalipi was working on the second floor of his business located next to the vacant unit during the crash. He said the impact of the car hitting the window was a loud explosion. "I ran outside to see what [happened], and I saw the car inside," said Dalipi of the family-owned Tailor, Needle & Thread business.
Kane County Chronicle

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