Chicago: Little Village Fire Destroys Pallet Business
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."
Chicago city budget puts off day of reckoning until after election
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.
Official: Man found dead in attic after Cicero fire
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.
Peoria fire officials recount horrific house fire during Aunterrio Barney trial
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
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
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.
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