Illinois News

Friday, May 18, 2018

Carbondale Fire Chief Set to Retire

Carbondale Fire Chief Ted Lomax is hanging up his hat. The Chief says it's time for him to retire and spend more time with his family. "When I first started on, I kinda had set an age for myself because this is a very physical and demanding job," Lomax, 55, said. And it seems that from a young age, the signs pointed to him becoming a firefighter, "When I was in kindergarten, the man that lived by my grandma was a firefighter and I just always inspired." Following years of having firefighter mentors, the real push came after Lomax was married. "Her father was the fire chief here in Carbondale, and we moved back over here," Lomax said. "Once he retired, I started testing with this department and after about four years, I got hired." Tragedy played a large role in his career, and one incident in particular made him even closer with his fellow fighters, and inspired him to become an officer and eventually chief.

Man Found Dead In Kankakee Fire Shot In Head

Firefighters say they made an alarming discovery following a deadly fire inside a business on the South side of Chicago. Police say they found a body after putting out the fire around 5:15 a.m. Thursday. Officers say the man found inside was murdered. The coroner’s office says Spitzig was shot in the head. The fire happened in Kankakee on Harrison Avenue and Locust Street. After firefighters gained control of the flames, the Kankakee business was left in a charred state. CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross spoke with the victim’s family. “To be honest, I’m in extreme shock right now. I am holding my strength together for my two children as best as I can,” said Peggy Wirtel, the victim’s mother.
WSCR-AM 670 The Score

Minivan crashes into Aurora Fire-Department ambulance, multiple people injured

department ambulance and a minivan that injured 10 people, including two children who are now listed in stable condition after being treated for life-threatening injuries . Police said they responded at 4:05 p.m. to the crash at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and West Street. t appears a 25-year-old Chicago man driving the 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan did not see a stop sign while heading south on West Street and continued into the intersection. The ambulance, which was headed west on Galena with its lights and sirens activated, struck the vehicle on the driver's side. The minivan driver had to be extricated by firefighters and was taken to an Aurora hospital along with his passengers: a 20-year-old woman; two girls ages 3 and 12; and four boys, including 1-year-old twins and a 5- and 11-year-old.
Daily Herald

Survivor of Lombard bonfire explosion speaks out: ’He was just screaming that he was dead’

It's been nearly three weeks since eight teens were burned at a weekend bonfire in Lombard. Four of them suffered severe burns and had to be hospitalized. Two remain at the hospital. Alyssa Wolff, 15, is many things: A varsity cheerleader, a friend, a school leader and now, three weeks after the accident, she’s also a motivator, hero and fighter. “It was just like a huge explosion and the first instinct was to help my friends,” she said. One of the boys attending the gathering poured gasoline on the dwindling flames. ll of a sudden, Wolff was on fire. She said she remembered what she learned in kindergarten. She stopped, dropped and rolled.
WGN-TV 9 WB Chicago

Numerous departments respond to Banner Marsh brush fire southwest of Peoria

Firefighters from the Timber Hollis and numerous other area departments responded Thursday night to a brush fire at the Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area. Departments called for mutual aid included Logan-Trivoli, Copperas Creek, Tuscarora, Farmington, North Pekin, Limestone, Brimfield and Buckheart, said Logan-Trivoli Fire Chief David Tuttle, adding that the cause of the fire is not yet known. The Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is about 25 miles southwest of Peoria on U.S. Route 24. It is protected from the Illinois River by a major levee, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website. Tuttle said the fire call came in at 8:03 p.m., and mutual aid was requested at 8:28 p.m.
Pekin Daily Times

Cause still unknown for Effingham warehouse fire

The cause of a fire that left a commercial warehouse devastated late Wednesday night remained unknown Thursday as local fire officials and the state fire marshal’s office continued their investigation. Located at 2301 South Banker Street in Effingham, the warehouse belonging to Effingham Environmental Resources sits behind the Clean uniform company and is owned by the Lee Patrick Kaufmann Revocable Trust, according to county documents. The fire broke out at about 10:20 p.m., according to a press release from the Effingham Fire Department and upon arrival, firefighters reported “heavy fire.” “It was through the roof when our guys pulled up,” Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy said on Thursday. “The building was pretty well involved. We had a high fire load inside with wood so that really fueled it.”
Effingham Daily News

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Joliet looks at city overtime costs

The city of Joliet is taking a closer look at overtime costs, especially in the fire and police departments. The fire department has spent more than $1 million on overtime, which is 60 percent of its overtime budget for the year, according to a report presented to the Joliet City Council Finance Committee this week. The police department has spent only 26 percent of its overtime budget, although the total of $652,000 makes it the second-highest among city departments. Administration is preparing an analysis of police and fire overtime for the Finance Committee, City Manager David Hales told the committee. The issue of fire department overtime came up in February, when Fire Chief Joseph Formhals sought council approval for the acquisition of a quint truck, which would have required lower staffing. Formhals said he was trying to address overtime amid staffing shortages. Firefighters objected. Mayor Bob O’Dekirk called the $300,000 spent in December on fire department overtime “obscene.”

Former East Peoria interim fire chief John Knapp renamed interim chief

John Knapp was sworn in Wednesday morning as the interim chief of the East Peoria Fire Department. Again. “Deputy Chief Knapp is the perfect candidate to fill the chief position and has served in this interim position before,” Commissioner John Kahl said Wednesday. Kahl oversees the operation of the Fire Department. ”(Knapp) held this position back in 2015 when we were going internally to hire a new chief when Chief (William) Darin retired.” Knapp will fill in for Chief Al Servis, who announced his retirement in December. Servis served on the Fire Department for more than 25 years and was named chief in 2015. Servis’ last day on the job was May 15. Servis served on the Fire Department for 25 1/2 years and was promoted from deputy chief to chief in the summer of 2015. His first day as chief was Sept. 1, 2015. After serving as interim chief, Knapp returned to his position of one of three deputy chiefs in the department.
East Peoria Times-Courier

Flames destroy attic, several bedrooms in Montrose house

A fire completely destroyed the attic of a Montrose house, firefighters say. Just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, crews went to a house in the 20200 block of North Effingham St. to find the fire. They say it started in the attic and left that area, along with upper floor bedrooms, as total losses. Firefighters say the main level and basement took smoke and water damage. The fire did not cause any injuries. Mutual aid from a number of departments, including Wade, Tuetopolis and others, came to help at the scene. Montrose Fire Chief Chris Overbeck says firefighters are continuing to investigate.
WAND-TV NBC Channel 17

Mount Prospect buys building for new fire station

Barring any unforeseen obstacle, Mount Prospect will be moving its downtown fire station to the north side of the village. Village trustees, with one dissenting vote, agreed Tuesday to pay about $1.48 million for the MB Financial building at 111 E. Rand Road. The building will be remodeled and replace the current fire station and headquarters at 112 E. Northwest Highway. The village now has a 60-day due diligence period to review the property's environmental suitability and structural condition. "We have the opportunity to secure a property that we believe has great strategic value to our emergency response mission for the fire department," Village Manager Michael Cassady said. "Given that we were looking to relocate our police headquarters, we didn't feel like we should just ignore fire." Officials say the new location will mean significant improvements to response times in areas where the fire department has struggled to achieve its four-minute objective.
Illinois Daily Herald

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