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Monday, July 27, 2015
Explosion levels two-story house in rural Caseyville    view comments tweat me share on facebook
An explosion possibly caused by natural gas, leveled a two-story home at 40 Edgewood Lane in rural Caseyville about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Dan Smith, resident of the rental home, said he had left the home at about noon to go work at a friend’s house. “I have no idea what happened. I didn’t smell any gas when I left here,” Smith said. Dan Smith, resident of the rental home, said he had left the home at about noon to go work at a friend’s house. “I have no idea what happened. I didn’t smell any gas when I left here,” Smith said. DOGS SURVIVE BLAST: Latest on this story here A neighbor, Darlene Jonas, said she heard an explosion. “As soon as I sat down on the couch, I hear ‘boom,’ one big explosion,” she said. “I’m still shaking from it.” The blast sent debris from the home, including a door, onto neighboring lawns. Neighbor Larry Arnold, who lives across the street, said, “It shook the whole neighborhood. It felt like it was going to blow my door off.” Hollywood Heights Fire Chief Buddy Moore said the explosion appeared to be caused by natural gas. “It blew it off the foundation.
Belleville News-Democrat

Chicago paramedic field chief: Teamwork keeps crews strong as they tackle emergency calls    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Paramedics often have memories from childhood that help explain their interest in emergency services -- the larger-than-life firefighter who climbed off the truck at the fire down the block, the soft-spoken paramedic who helped ease a child's fear when a grandparent was about to be taken to the hospital. Paramedic Field Chief Donna Murphy, 44, one of a handful of paramedic chiefs in the city of Chicago, doesn't claim such a storybook start down her professional path. "I was planning on becoming a dental hygienist, actually, but I knew a guy in the Navy who was studying to be an EMT, and when he explained it to me, I thought 'OK, that sounds pretty good. That sounds like something I could do,'" she recalls. "That's not exactly an inspirational start or anything. It's pretty boring, I guess." Since deciding to become a paramedic more than 25 years ago, "boring" would be the last word anyone would use to describe Murphy's career. She rose through the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department to her current position, in which she provides relief for paramedic field chiefs throughout the city. "I like being in different parts of the city and working with different crews," says Murphy, who can stay with the same fire station for a little as one day or as long as a few weeks.
Chicago Tribune

Chicago firefighters respond to apparent Metra train fire on South Side    view comments tweat me share on facebook
ramedics often have memories from childhood that help explain their interest in emergency services -- the larger-than-life firefighter who climbed off the truck at the fire down the block, the soft-spoken paramedic who helped ease a child's fear when a grandparent was about to be taken to the hospital. Paramedic Field Chief Donna Murphy, 44, one of a handful of paramedic chiefs in the city of Chicago, doesn't claim such a storybook start down her professional path. "I was planning on becoming a dental hygienist, actually, but I knew a guy in the Navy who was studying to be an EMT, and when he explained it to me, I thought 'OK, that sounds pretty good. That sounds like something I could do,'" she recalls. "That's not exactly an inspirational start or anything. It's pretty boring, I guess." Since deciding to become a paramedic more than 25 years ago, "boring" would be the last word anyone would use to describe Murphy's career. She rose through the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department to her current position, in which she provides relief for paramedic field chiefs throughout the city. "I like being in different parts of the city and working with different crews," says Murphy, who can stay with the same fire station for a little as one day or as long as a few weeks.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

New firehouse in Fairbury dedicated to fallen firefighter    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Thursday was a bittersweet day for Karen Munz. It marked the seventh anniversary of her son Brian dying from injuries suffered while fighting a fire in Forrest with the Fairbury Fire Department. But it also was a good day as she and others shared stories and continued preparing for the dedication of the Brian J. Munz Public Safety Complex, a project that got its boost from memorial funds donated after his death. Brian Munz was only 24 when he died, but he had been on the all-volunteer department for six years. “Brian would just be happy to see this,” Karen Munz said as she stood in the building named for her son. “He loved being up here.” The new building is next to the older, much smaller Fairbury Fire Department building it is replacing. The complex also houses the South East Livingston County Ambulance Service, which raised money for its portion of the building. Instead of having trucks crammed into the former, 3,200-square-foot, three-bay building, the new 8,600-square-foot building has six bays. It also has a training room, radio/records room and a storage area that doubles as a storm shelter. A plaque to be placed in the building describes Munz as “an inspiration to all firefighters.” “He was very dedicated to the fire service,” said Fire Chief Leroy McPherson said. “He trained and made sure he knew what to do.” The need to replace the former station, built in 1969, with something that better met the department's and the community's needs had been known for some time. But it wasn't until Munz's death that everything came together. “When a tragedy like that happens, people want to do something,” said Greg Bazzell, one of the Fairbury firefighters who was in Forrest that tragic day.
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Cook County: Boy at sister’s beach birthday party drowns in lake despite rescue efforts    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Eddie Horns took a dip in the lake while celebrating his little sister’s birthday, but the 17-year-old drowned despite the efforts of a relative and two joggers, according to his family and police. A distraught male relative, who was reached by phone Saturday morning, said the beach party was held at 31st Street Beach and was for Horns’ sister, who had just turned 10. It was about 8:30 p.m. when Horns, who went into the lake to swim, did not come up, and several people at the beach began screaming that “someone is drowning,’’ according to a police report. Horns was a student at Dunbar Career Vocational Academy who was always telling jokes and played football. He was the third of nine children and had a little brother he especially "liked to take care of," said aunt Crystal Jackson. A relative jumped in the water by using a ladder at the break wall and, grabbing Horns by the waist, frantically tried to pull him to the safety of the shore as hysterical family members and friends watched. The two were about halfway there, but Horns began to struggle and the relative was unable to hold him up, and Horns sank to the bottom, the report said. The relative screamed for help, jumped out to shore and enlisted the help of two joggers passing by. One of them was Alex DeCorrevont, a senior at Northwestern University.
Chicago Tribune

Elmhurst Firefighters Getting New Breathing Devices with Federal Grant Award    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Elmhurst Fire Department was awarded federal grant money to replace 38 Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses used by firefighters and rescue workers during emergencies. The department’s current SCBAs don’t meet National Fire Protection Association standards, and frequent malfunctions needed costly repairs, according to a letter Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) wrote in support for the grant. “As the only Illinois member on the House Appropriations Committee, one of my main responsibilities is driving federal dollars back home to Chicago and the Fifth District,” Quigley said in a statement. “Grants like the one awarded to the Elmhurst Fire Department directly support one of the core roles of government – protecting its citizens. I’m proud to fight for increased funding for these grants and drive some of that back home to Elmhurst.” The Elmhurst Fire Department responded to over 6,000 calls in 2013, serving a population of 44,121 over 10.25 square miles, according to Quigley’s letter.
Elmhurst Patch.com


Friday, July 24, 2015
Five -alarm fire burns Caseyville auto salvage yard; oil drums explode    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters from five departments rushed to an early Thursday afternoon blaze at Black Lane Auto Parts in Caseyville, which was turning into a hazardous material spill. According to Caseyville firefighter Chuck Cohn, it wasn’t immediately clear what initially caused the fire. But there was an explosion at about 1 p.m. followed by flames shooting 20 feet into the air, creating thick plumes of black smoke. The blaze caused 55-gallon drums — believed to be filled with used motor oil — to rupture, causing St. Clair County’s Hazardous Materials Response Team to rush to the site of the auto salvage yard at 1880 Black Lane. Oil mixed with water from the firefighters, and it was running into drainage ditches along Black Lane. Cohn said it was not immediately known if anyone was injured in the explosion and fire. As of 2 p.m., fire crews had the blaze under control. They continued to pour water onto the building to cool it down and prevent the flames from reigniting.
bnd.com

Skokie Names New Fire Chief   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A firefighter with nearly 30 years of experience with the Skokie Fire Department was named Fire Chief on Thursday. James Walters, who has been Deputy Fire Chief for the last ten years, will begin in his new role August 7. “I consider it a tremendous honor to be able to serve as the Fire Chief for the Village of Skokie, a wonderful community that has been an integral part of my life, and my family’s life, for nearly three decades,” Walters said. “I will uphold the tradition of excellence and best practices for which the Skokie Fire Department is known, providing the highest level of emergency response in the safest and most fiscally sound manner.” Walters is an Illinois State Certified Fire Officer II and Instructor II. He further is a National Fire Protection Association-certified Fire Inspector, and is certified in incident command by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “We are very fortunate to have a person with Jim’s background as Skokie’s new Fire Chief,” Village Manager John T.Lockerby said. “He has dedicated his professional career to public safety in the Village of Skokie, and has served the community with innovation and distinction.”
Skokie Patch.com

Algonqin-Lake in the Hills taps assistant chief to lead department   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Algonquin-Lake in the Hills taps assistant chief to lead fire department The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District will get a new fire chief in August from within its own ranks. The district’s board voted Wednesday to promote Assistant Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe to fire chief. Van Dorpe said he agreed to replace retiring Fire Chief Patrick Mullen knowing that he has a strong team to lead and some financial hurdles to overcome. “When you’re not, you say ‘This is what I would do if I was in charge,’ ” Van Dorpe said. “Well, it’s put up or shut up time.” Van Dorpe will be in charge of the approximately 66 part- and full-time firefighters and staff. He sees his biggest challenge as managing the fluctuating costs of health insurance because of changes in the Affordable Care Act. He said rates could change by 20 percent to 30 percent, which would affect the agency’s $9 million budget. Trustees feel comfortable with Van Dorpe handling those challenges, said Board President Rick Naatz. Trustees had Van Dorpe pegged as the next chief when he became assistant fire chief in October 2013 after 33 years with the Chicago Fire Department. “That level of expertise he brings to our department is what prompted us to offer him the contract,” Naatz said.
Northwest Herald

Mattoon firefighters battle house fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A home on Richmond Avenue was severely damaged late Thursday morning by a fire caused by the improper disposal of hot ashes. Capt. Denny Kingery of the Mattoon Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched at 10:37 a.m. to a single-story house at 79 Richmond Ave. and found the attached garage and kitchen engulfed by flames when they arrived at the scene. Kingery said the flames also spread to a storage shed next to the garage, destroying the shed and causing a propane tank there to discharge. "We pretty well got ahead of the fire and got it pushed back into the garage," Kingery said. He said firefighters extinguished the flames and cleared the scene by 12:48 p.m. Kingery said there were no injuries to the lone occupant, Deanna Warren, of the home or any of the emergency responders. He said the property owner is Warren's son, John Ward. The fire started after a visitor to the home removed ashes that appeared to be dead from a grill and stored these ashes inside a cardboard box that was subsequently placed inside the garage, Kingery said.
Mattoon Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Kankakee Boy, 12, arrested for arson in Family Dollar fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 12-year-old boy from Kankakee was arrested on Monday and held on charges of arson after investigators say he was spotted on surveillance video using a lighter to set a fire in The Family Dollar on East Court Street, causing more than $250,000 in damages. The boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, was sent to River Valley Juvenile Detention Center after Kankakee County Circuit Court Judge Mike Kick declined to release him to his family. Mike Casagrande, a captain with the Kankakee Fire Department, said the boy lit some paper products on fire inside the store just before 2 p.m. July 11. He was there with other kids but was alone at the time. No one else was arrested.
daily-journal.com

Springfield Firefighters Take Competencey Training Course   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Springfield fire officials are training to respond to road emergencies more efficiently during their annual competency course. Reports show every year on average 100 firefighters die in the line of duty. Even more than that are injured while responding to a call. That's why they take part in a training course every year that shows them how to effectively respond while on their way to an emergency. When you hear sirens from an emergency vehicle and see flashing lights in your rear view mirror, fire officials say you should yield. "If they can pull over to the right and stop. Just get out of the way, especially at intersections. Drivers really have to be aware at intersections," said Captain Gary Self with the Springfield fire department. Self says that's where they have most of their crashes. He says driving to the scene of an emergency can sometimes be difficult and dangerous. He says driving around parked cars and through narrow streets in a 60,000 pound fire truck is a task in itself.That's why today is training day. "Every year we do the competency course so our members can practice under less strenuous circumstances. That way, if they see if in real life they'll be able to recall it from their training," said Self. You're looking at a training course made up of cones simulated to put firefighters in tough situations while responding to calls. Depending on the course, the cones could either represent parked cars or buildings.
WICS-TV Springfield ABC Channel 20







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