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Friday, March 6, 2015
Agencies mobilize after crude oil train derails near Galena    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said. The BNSF Railway train derailed about 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn’t yet been determined. No injuries were reported. Only a family of two agreed to leave their home, Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said at a news conference late Thursday, adding that the suggestion to evacuate was prompted by the presence of a propane tank near the derailment. The derailment occurred 3 miles south of Galena in a wooded and hilly area that is a major tourist attraction and the home of former President Ulysses S. Grant. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the train was transporting oil from the Northern Plains’ Bakken region. Earlier in the day, Moran said eight tankers had left the track. But Williams said at the news conference that only six cars derailed, two of which burst into flames and continued to burn into the night. Firefighters could only access the derailment site by a bike path, Galena Assistant Fire Chief Bob Conley said. They attempted to fight a small fire at the scene but were unable to stop the flames. Firefighters had to pull back for safety reasons and were allowing the fire to burn itself out, Conley said. In addition to Galena firefighters, emergency and hazardous material responders from Iowa and Wisconsin were at the scene. The derailment comes amid increased public concern about the safety of shipping crude by train. According to the Association of American Railroads, oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 500,000 in 2014, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana, where pipeline limitations force 70 percent of the crude to move by rail.
Chicago Sun-Times

Unions sue to block Rauner’s order on dues collection    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Illinois labor unions filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to invalidate Gov. Bruce Rauner's executive order ending a requirement that state workers pay union dues even if they don't want to join a union. Illinois AFL-CIO and 26 unions sued the Republican governor, saying the order he issued last month violates collective bargaining agreements and state labor law and that Rauner exceeded his constitutional authority. The lawsuit filed in district court in St. Clair County also asks a judge to issue an injunction preventing the order from being implemented. Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan said Rauner's action strikes at more than 40,000 firefighters, snowplow drivers, nurses and other employees who provide critical state services. "Governor Rauner's political obsession with stripping their rights and driving down their wages demeans their service, hurts the middle class and is blatantly illegal," Carrigan said in an emailed statement. Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said the lawsuit was expected.
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Quincy: Carbon monoxide patients give high marks to responders, health workers    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Emergency and medical workers won praise from people who were exposed to carbon monoxide Tuesday at Kelly's Tavern. Dave Comer and Jeff Dorsey were among those who ate lunch at the restaurant at 2902 Broadway on Tuesday when the first of two carbon monoxide alarms sounded. "We were just finishing lunch when they told us to clear the building. When we got outside, the (Quincy) Fire Department was already there," Comer said. Emergency responders got the names of everyone in the restaurant as firefighters found between 700 and 800 parts per million of the deadly gas in the building. Adams County EMS Chief Paul Davis urged everyone to seek treatment if they felt any ill effects. Dorsey said he returned to work and later developed a headache. He got a call from Shirley Miller of Kelly's about 4 p.m. She said several people who had been in the building were going to Blessing Hospital's emergency room after feeling ill. Dorsey contacted Comer with the same message. "I began feeling lethargic and off-balance a little bit that afternoon. After Dorsey called, my wife told me I had better go to the hospital, because I looked a little tired," Comer said. Dr. Richard Saalborn, medical director of the emergency department at Blessing, said 29 patients came in to be checked out that afternoon, resulting in severe overcrowding, but health professionals improvised by moving some patients to the second floor where they could receive oxygen from the hospital system. Others stayed in the emergency room, hooked up to oxygen tanks. Breathing oxygen helped those who were exposed to the fumes compensate for lower oxygenation of their blood. "Carbon monoxide binds to the hemoglobin 250 times more tightly than oxygen," Saalborn said.
Quincy Herald-Whig

Champaign Fire Dept. honors fallen firefighter on anniversary of his death    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Those who could remember recalled the snow vividly. "There was about a foot of snow on the ground. The response was slower than normal," John Barker said of the fire call at 5:40 a.m. on March 4, 1960. "It was a small 1,050-square-foot home with a basement fire. There was snow piled up around the house so they didn't (immediately) recognize there was a basement." The acting deputy chief of the Champaign Fire Department set the scene for fellow firefighters gathered Thursday morning in their training room to honor their only colleague lost in the line of duty: Edward "Eddie" Hoffman. Hoffman, 32, died on March 5, 1960, from injuries he sustained in the fire at 722 S. New St. Barker, who has researched Hoffman's death, told colleagues that the residents previously had problems with their oil furnace. Firefighters found heavy smoke and the distinct smell of oil inside the bungalow. In 1960, there was only one self-contained breathing apparatus per fire truck, two on the scene that day. Today, each firefighter has his or her own. Hoffman, "one of the younger guys," had training with the device, Barker said, so he pulled it on and went in, making his way to the basement. "They had a rapid change of conditions. Joe Webber was with him. He had to dive out a window with major burns. They had to get Eddie Hoffman out and take him to Burnham City Hospital, where 36 hours later he paid the ultimate," Barker said.
Champaign News-Gazette

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Firefighter policy change after 2013 Hudson LODD may have prevented I-55 tragedy   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Policies changed after the March 2013 death of a Hudson firefighter may have helped prevent a similar tragedy during Tuesday's ice storm. Assistant Chief Jason Hospelhorn of the Dale Township Fire Department was helping victims of a rollover crash on Interstate 55 south of Shirley when a speeding semi "completely took out" his sport utility vehicle, said Fire Chief Ryan Gibson. "He heard the semi coming at a high rate of speed and heard the jake brake (air brake)," Gibson said. "He pushed the other two victims — who were out of their car — toward the ditch and then ran himself." Illinois State Police at Pontiac said the crash was reported at 3:49 a.m., but had no further information since the accident did not result in injuries. One person required hospital treatment from the initial crash, Gibson said. The incident occurred two days before the two-year anniversary of the death of Chris Brown, a career firefighter with Bloomington Fire Department who was hit by a semi while helping Hudson firefighters at a night-time accident on an icy stretch of Interstate 39. Dale Township changed its policies after Brown's death, requiring firefighters to wear reflective vests and protective gear when on an accident call. Hospelhorn's SUV was outfitted with flashing lights, which were in use, and his vehicle was well off the road, said Gibson.

1 dead in 3 alarm blaze in Chicago’s Rolling Meadows   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A man died after jumping from a third-floor balcony to escape an extra-alarm fire in his apartment building in Rolling Meadows, officials said. Fire crews were called to a three-story building at 5201 Carriageway Drive in the northwest suburb Wednesday evening and found heavy fire going on the third floor, officials said. The building was evacuated but one resident, Kenneth Vansickle, 55, apparently was trapped in his apartment and jumped from the balcony of a third-floor unit of the building, said Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote. cComments Update story. There's been at least 1 fatality ANTHONYRO AT 10:04 PM MARCH 04, 2015 ADD A COMMENTSEE ALL COMMENTS 1 He was taken to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, where he was pronounced dead about 8:45 p.m., according to authorities. Firefighters remained on the scene for hours fighting the blaze. No other injuries had been reported as of late Wednesday, but Franzgrote estimated several hundred people would be displaced. The apartment, which did not have a sprinkler system, had more than 50 units, officials said.
Chicago Tribune

Fire Attacks Three Chicago Buildings, Displacing 18 People, Injuring Firefighter   view comments tweat me share on facebook
VIDEO: Eighteen people were displaced and a firefighter was injured in an extra-alarm fire that destroyed one home and damaged two others on Chicago's South Side. Homeowner Janice Hooper said firefighters were at her home, on the 7300 block of South Paulina Street, late Wednesday because she smelled smoke. Firefighters didn't find anything but returned at about 1 a.m. to find flames shooting out of Hooper's front door and through her roof. The flames spread to a home and apartment building adjacent to Hooper's home, ultimately displacing 18 people, according to the American Red Cross. None of the residents, which included five children, were injured but one firefighter was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after slipping on ice. He was not seriously injured. One resident lamented at the loss of her belongings but shed tears when a firefighter came out with her six-month-old kitten. "I feel so happy to have her but I'm just so sad that everything that we had is gone," said Samia Hooper.
NBC Chicago

Rockford Fire Department Looking To Hire More Minorities   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighter James Graham has been working hard, trying to recruit minorities like himself for the Rockford Fire Department. He has been visiting churches, passing out flyers, and interacting with members of the black community. He says he has to educate a lot of them about the duties of firefighters. Graham says, "Most of them have a fear of fighting fire and don't have a true understanding of the training we have, before fighting fires, so I have to explain to them that we get weeks of training before they are actually set forth.” The Rockford Fire Department is more than 90% white, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pushing it to hire more minorities The Comission wants the Fire Department to develop a recruitment plan to increase the hiring rate of qualified minority firefighters, and bring in outside help to provide training to all employees involved in the hiring process. Rockford firefighter and recruiter for the department, Jeff Kloweit, says, "Anytime you have something that the EEOC puts out, we take that very seriously and we put things in place to remedy all the things they told us to do. Most of those things we were already doing.” Graham says hiring minorities will help the department better reflect the diversity of Rockford. And his recruiting is working. He lets minorities know that becoming a Rockford firefighter will give them a bond with peers that can never be extinguished.

Interior cracks send new Clarendon Hills ambulance back for repairs   view comments tweat me share on facebook
It's a good thing Clarendon Hills officials decided to keep their old ambulance as a backup when they purchased a new $259,000 vehicle in December 2014. The 2015 Freightliner/Horton ambulance, delivered Dec. 11, has been out of service since Feb. 23 because of cracks on the inside wall, said Fire Chief Brian Leahy. It is expected to be out for repairs until late March. "There was some major cracking, and we took it back to the dealer," Leahy said. The dealer is Foster Coach Sales, Inc., a Sterling, Ill., company that only sells ambulances. They sent the ambulance to the manufacturer, Horton Ambulance, in Ohio. "On March 9, it's going to be disassembled and then reassembled," Leahy said. "It stared with one crack and then five cracks a week later. The whole inside needs to be taken apart and put back together." While he is disappointed about having the ambulance out of service just months after it arrived, Leahy is confident everything will be fine in the end.
The Doings Clarendon Hills

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