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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Elgin Fire Chief and Deputy Chief receive Chief Fire Officer Certification    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy and Deputy Chief Dave Schmidt were recognized and awarded “Chief Fire Officer” certification this fall at the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Conference in Peoria. “It is the highest level of certification that the Illinois State Fire Marshal offers,” Fahy said. “It included over 600 hours of coursework.” Fahy and Schmidt noted the program started almost three years ago, with this autumn being the second time certificates were issued to those completing it. It is tailored to include issues pertinent to overseeing departments in Illinois as well as educating about current firefighting practices. “Firefighters never stop going to school,” Schmidt said. “Firefighting practices and technologies are always changing. You adapt or become a dinosaur.” Both men have been firefighters for more than 25 years and have bachelor’s degrees in fire science from Southern Illinois University which offers such classes through Triton College in River Grove. “Firefighting is much different today than when we started,” Fahy said. “It’s much more data driven, as society is. Today, you have to have data and to be prepared to have the data to back up what you do.” The program involves one classroom session for each of 12 topics, with online work and study accompanying those classes. Completion of units from Life Safety Initiatives could count toward the certification requirement.
The Courier News

Pease Named Highland Park Fire Chief    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Fire Chief Patrick Tanner will be recognized by City Council for 29 years of service to the City of Highland Park at the City Council Meeting on December 1, 2014. Chief Tanner announced his plan to retire effective December 1 after a rewarding career with the Highland Park Fire Department. “I am thankful to the City for allowing me to serve the residents of Highland Park for 29 years in a profession that I absolutely love,” Chief Tanner said on his retirement. “Having started my fire service career in Highland Park at age 19, I consider it the City that I grew up in and I leave knowing know the city is in excellent hands.” City Manager Ghida Neukirch is pleased to announce the promotion of Deputy Fire Chief Dan Pease to Fire Chief of the Highland Park Fire Department following Chief Tanner’s retirement. “Dan has served the Highland Park Fire Department for 27 years and has earned numerous honors throughout the years for his service,” City Manager Ghida Neukirch stated. “He brings to the position a wealth of experience, great leadership, a teamwork approach and an extraordinary commitment to the Department and the City.”
Highland Park

Firefighters investigate house fire in Quincy    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Officials in Quincy are investigating the cause of a house fire that broke out late Tuesday night. Crews were called to the home at 613 North 7th Street at about 11:30 p.m. and spent hours battling the blaze. Fire Chief Joe Henning says the fire started on the second floor where they had it contained when flames burst through the roof, causing major damage to the home. Henning says there was some confusion for crews, as they responded to two initial calls around the same time and in the same area. "There was a little bit of confusion when we first got on scene because we had a report of a structure fire, but we also had a report of smoke in the area - possibly a recreational fire," Henning said. "We did locate a recreational fire, but at about the same time we located the structure fire. Guys got here and found heavy smoke."
WGEM-TV Quincy

Follow Up: Crystal Lake Fire chief rules out arson in Chicago stable fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Authorities have ruled out arson as a possible cause of a stable fire that killed 32 horses in suburban Chicago. Crystal Lake Fire Chief Paul DeRaedt said the Saturday fire at the Valley View Acres horse boarding facility isn’t considered suspicious. He says the fire appears to have started in a hay storage area on the barn’s second floor. The flames spread to the first level and basement. DeRaedt says determining an exact cause will be difficult because there is so much debris. Five horses escaped the barn and were found in a nearby field. Authorities estimate the total value of the horses that perished at more than $1 million. The stable in unincorporated Woodstock is about 50 miles northwest of Chicago.
The Courier News

Chicago Fire Department: Natural gas buildup likely led to South Side building collapse    view comments tweat me share on facebook
An explosion of built-up natural gas from a leak likely caused the collapse of a three-story condominium building in the Washington Park neighborhood over the weekend, the Chicago Fire Department determined Tuesday. Neighbors had described hearing a loud explosion before the 10-year-old frame apartment building collapsed about 7 p.m. Sunday in the 5800 block of South Calumet Avenue. The collapse left the building "pancaked," and firefighters rescued two women, ages 51 and 78, and a dog from the rubble, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said at the time. The department's Office of Fire Investigation "determined the most probable cause of the building collapse ... was a buildup of natural gas from an appliance or customer owned piping in the lower level of the building," Langford said in a statement Tuesday. "The resulting ignition caused the structure to fail. Peoples Gas has worked closely with CFD on this investigation." The gas buildup that led to the explosion appears to have been related to the building's internal connection to its gas meters, Langford said in an email.
Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Cherry Valley Fire Proves Hydrants Dont Work, Water Company Says They Arent Supposed To   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Video from the fire at 2411 Pinedrop Parkway Saturday night, revealed that the fire hydrants near the home don't work. Cherry Valley firefighters tried to get water from the two that were closest to the home, but no water came out. Utilities Services of Illinois owns the water system, and they say these hydrants are not fire hydrants. Steve Lubertozzi is the President of Utility Services of Illinois, and he said, “People have referring them to as fire hydrants, which they are not, they are flushing hydrants, and they are used periodically for the water system to perform maintenance on the system." And the president of Utility Services of Illinois says the fire department should have been aware of that. "They neither have the pressure or the capacity for fire flow, and the fire department was aware, or should have been aware that that was a private fire company, or excuse me a private water company and that they were flushing hydrants and not capable of providing fire flow,” said Lubertozzi. But Deputy Chief Doug Hayes says they did not know that. Hayes said, “I would say they need to make that clear to us, something, give us something in writing and indicate that those hydrants are out of service and not for fire-fighting purposes." Deputy Chief Hayes says they've even used them before. "We have used those hydrants in that neighborhood before for fire-fighting purposes,” said Hayes.

Hinsdale fire pension board seeks new investment consultant   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Hinsdale Firefighter Pension Board has selected a different investment firm. The board, which only meets four times a year, voted recently to hire Sawyer Falduto Asset Management LLC, a company that specializes in investments for the Illinois Police and Fire Pension Funds. The board is required by state law to seek requests for proposals every five years from potential investment firms. Two other firms also applied including Graystone Consulting, which is the board's current investment consultant. Thomas McCarthy, a retired firefighter and board member, said the board is opting to go with a different investment firm to try to maximize returns while protecting investments. "We want to maximize our returns while maintaining security," he said. Board president Doug Niemeyer, who is a current firefighter, added that the department wants to take advantage of the potential returns from the stock market that has been doing well in recent years. He said the pension fund's growth relies on contributions from employees, the Village of Hinsdale, and investment returns.
Chicago Tribune

Former Yates City firefighter sues over dismissal   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A former Yates City firefighter is suing the Elba Salem Fire Protection District for firing him back in July following a social media incident regarding a member of the Elmwood Fire Department. Steve Yates was dismissed this summer for posting comments on Facebook targeting an Elmwood firefighter. Frakes had been a whistleblower to an incident earlier regarding the Elmwood firefighter, whom Frakes said was showing up intoxicated on the job. In a lawsuit filed with the Federal District Court in Peoria, Yates is suing the Elba Salem Fire District for $500,000. He also has three separate counts against the three members of the district board for $500,000 each. The money would cover damages due to financial and reputation loss, as well as Frakes’ attorney fees. Frakes’ attorney James Springer of the Peoria-based Kavanagh, Scully, Sudow, White & Frederick PC firm, said the the fire protection board and the three trustees — Greg Wessel, Eugene Saunders and Gerald Buckman — have all been served by mail. Buckman declined to comment and Wessel and Saunders were unavailable. Springer said he cannot yet determine if the matter will be settled before it gets to court, since the suit is less than a week old. He said cases like this one are often settled out of court, either with an agreement between the parties or by dismissal. However, Springer said he was confident the case is strong enough to hold off dismissal.
Galesburg: Register-Mail

Hinsdale firefighter, lieutenant honor late deputy chief with lifesaving training classes   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Just more than four years after the Hinsdale Fire Department said goodbye to Mark “Big” Johnson, a department firefighter and lieutenant have joined together to find a way to keep his memory alive. In September 2010, Deputy Chief Johnson was found unresponsive in the basement of the firehouse after suffering a heart attack during mandatory workout hours, according to firefighter Steve Tullis. Tullis – one of the firefighters who found Johnson – said he has always looked back on that day and wished he and his fellow firefighters could have done something more. Teaming up with his lieutenant, Mike Neville, Tullis said the pair have found a way to ensure others are prepared for similar situations by beginning a business which offers CPR certification, as well as training on an automated external defibrillator and first aid training, called “Mark.” “It’s a very simple life skill that anyone can learn,” Tullis said of the programs. Tullis and Neville will offer two separate courses, each running between three and four hours, according to Tullis. One option for those interested in learning lifesaving techniques is the HeartSaver AED class, which is ideal for the “everyday person.” Through the American Heart Association, the class will offer CPR and AED certification or recertification. Participants in the class will learn to correctly administer CPR and to use a defibrillator, which are now common at many workplaces and schools. Defibrillators delivers a small electrical charge to the heart to restart the heart and are easy for most people to use.

Vernon Hills Fire Damages Three Homes   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Multiple people were displaced after a fire rendered three attached homes uninhabitable Monday morning in north suburban Vernon Hills. Crews were called to a fire in the 900 block of Jackson Court about 9:30 a.m., according to a statement from the Countryside Fire Protection District. When firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the attic on the east side of a two-story town home, the fire department said. The homeowner told them that a plumber had been using a torch in the second-floor bathroom wall. The fire spread from a second-floor common wall to the attic before it was extinguished, and two other units that shared the wall were affected, according to the fire department. While it was not immediately clear how many people were displaced, the fire department said all three units affected by the fire were uninhabitable. Multiple other fire departments assisted in battling the blaze, according to the statement. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although it started close to the spot where the plumber had been using a torch, fire officials said.
CBS Chicago

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