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Friday, October 17, 2014
Chicago firefighters union sounds alarm about protective masks    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Despite the burgeoning Ebola epidemic, the Chicago Fire Department has never “fit-tested” its 4,645 firefighters and paramedics to make certain that disposable face masks used to protect them from fluid transmissions are properly sealed. The Massachusetts manufacturer of the N95 respirator recommends — and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration demands — that first responders be tested annually to make certain the mask fits tightly enough to filter out small particles. The tighter the fit, the more resistant the mask is to bodily fluids, which is how Ebola is transmitted. But until the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 sounded the alarm this week, the Fire Department had distributed masks without fit-testing any of its employees. “I can’t say who dropped the ball, but we’re taking this very seriously. You have to have a solid seal to prevent permeation. This is an obvious concern to all first responders because we will be the first ones to initiate patient contact,” union President Tom Ryan said Thursday.
Chicago Sun-Times

2 women found dead after Northwest Side Chicago apartment blaze    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Video: Two women died in a blaze that broke out in the basement of a two-flat building in the Belmont Gardens neighborhood Thursday night, authorities said. The fire started about 11:10 p.m. in the 4500 block of the West Parker Avenue on the Northwest Side, according to Chicago police and fire officials. First responders found the two women, who appear to be in their 20s, in the building’s garden apartment, according to Chicago Fire Department officials. Fire personnel responded to the scene within three minutes, officials said. The cause of the fire is under investigation, police said. The Police Department's bomb and arson unit was on the scene Friday, and a canine unit indicated areas where accelerants could be present, sources said. Joel Gonzalez, 33, who lives in the two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the building, said he was taking a shower when the fire alarm went off. Gonzalez said his mother and sister, who live in the apartment with him, went through a hallway filled with black smoke in order to get outside.
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s Second Greatest Fire: Union Stock Yards Fire of 1934    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Highland Park Historical Society host on Thursday November 6th at 7:00 PM 'Chicago's Second Greatest Fire: Union Stock Yards Fire of 1934,' presented by Highland Park resident Jeff Stern. With less than four inches of rain having fallen since the first of the year, and temperatures hitting 92 degrees on May 19, 1934, Chicago was vulnerable. It took only a carelessly tossed cigarette in the Union Stock Yards that Saturday afternoon to set off the most destructive blaze since the Great Fire of 1871. Winds of up to 60 miles an hour at times spread the fire faster than a man could run, and six of 100 pumpers sent to put it out it were themselves destroyed while attached to hydrants. Yet, although six square blocks of property, including parts of the steel 'L' structure, were left in ruins, the major packinghouses were saved. This 80th anniversary program reviews the strategies taken to control the fire and features photos and documents relating to the efforts of 1,600 Chicago firefighters to extinguish it. Suburban departments were also recognized. No fewer than 31 sent men and apparatus to provide protection at vacated Chicago firehouses. Jeff Stern is a member of the Board of the Fire Museum of Greater Chicago and Highland Park Historical Society. He has never been a Chicago firefighter, but has been involved with the Fire Department for well over 60 years. Whether it was the early motorized equipment that was still in service when he was growing up or some other aspect of the fire service that attracted his interest, he's not sure, but he managed to visit all 141 of the fire houses that were then in service before he turned 13, and was able to run with some of the busiest squads and chiefs.
Chicago Tribune

Rochelle man injured in barn fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A rural Rochelle man was injured Thursday afternoon after a furnace in his barn exploded, according to the Rochelle Fire Department. The man, whose name isn’t being released, was flown to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford for treatment of burns to 20 percent of his body – specifically his hands and his legs, the fire department said. Crews from eight departments, including Rochelle, Ogle-Lee, Ashton, Lynn-Scott-Rock, and Oregon, responded to the scene at 1884 S. White Rock Road, east of Chana, just before 4 p.m. The large barn, which is not a livestock barn, was located north of the intersection of Cottonwood and White Rock roads. Firefighters reached the blaze in time to stop flames from reaching the nearby home and its garage. Rochelle firefighter Ben Johnson said a preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was accidental. “At this point, we believe the fire originated from a malfunction of a furnace that the man was trying to light,” Johnson said. “That’s all we know for now.”

Woman, 78, burned in North Lawndale blaze    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 78-year-old woman was taken to a hospital for burn injuries following a fire in the North Lawndale neighborhood early Friday. Firefighters were called to the 1500 block of South Drake Avenue about 6:10 a.m., said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Janel Sedevic. A 78-year-old woman suffered minor burns and was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Ana Pacheco. Another victim, a man, was treated on the scene for his injury, said Sedevic said, citing preliminary information.
Chicago Tribune

Thursday, October 16, 2014
1-year-old and teen among several rescued from extra-alarm fire in Chicago   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 1-year-old child and an 18-year-old man were taken to a hospital after they were among three people rescued from an extra-alarm fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Wednesday afternoon. The fire started about 3:20 p.m. in two residential buildings in the 4400 block of South Honore Street. The fire was raised to a 2-11 alarm, with an emergency medical services Plan 1, sending six ambulances to the scene. A 1-year-old child and a male teenager were taken the hospital, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. Several other people were evaluated by paramedics. The teen and both victims were believed in good condition, with the teen going to the hospital with the child to make sure the child was all right, said Fire Department Chief of Special Operations Michael Fox. The two buildings that caught fire are 2-1/2 story frame homes, at least one of them broken up into apartments. Firefighters had the most trouble extinguishing the fire in the attics of the buildings, officials said. The fire began in the building to the north and spread to the second building, officials said.
Chicago Tribune

Ewing-Northern Fire Chief Dies   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Ewing-Northern Fire Chief Monty Rea has died. Franklin County Emergency Management Officials say Rea had been helping organize the the first ever full-scale disaster drill in the Ewing-Northern District. Colleagues say Rea was a community leader and great friend. He died Wednesday morning. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Carol Stream battalion chief could be fired after board ruling   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Carol Stream Fire Protection District Board of Fire Commissioners has upheld charges of misconduct against Battalion Chief Joseph Gilles. The board's Wednesday evening decision brings an end to Gilles' monthslong disciplinary hearing. The backbone of the charges leading to the hearing rested on Fire Chief Richard Kolomay's allegation that the battalion chief failed to follow Kolomay's order to sign a performance improvement plan. By not signing the plan, Gilles violated four district rules of conduct, according to the allegations. Now that the board has supported the allegations against Gilles, the final task for the commission is determining the penalty, officials said Wednesday. The chief has requested for Gilles to be terminated. "The commissioners correctly sorted through the evidence to determine that Battalion Chief Gilles violated the rules of the district when he blatantly refused to sign the performance improvement plan and engage in remedial training," according to a statement from Kolomay's attorneys. The plan outlines core issues with Gilles, including that he does not have the proper management and leadership skills, as well as seven goals for the battalion chief.
Illinois Daily Herald - metered site

Schaumburg officials settles firefighter’s age discrimination suit   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Schaumburg officials Tuesday settled a 2012 discrimination lawsuit filed by one of their firefighters who said his age was the reason he lost the position of fire department public education officer in 2009. The settlement agreement calls for the village's insurance company, Lloyd's of London, to pay Schaumburg Firefighter Scott Kody $170,000 and for Kody to separate from the village. The lawsuit originally sought Kody's reinstatement as public education officer, back pay for time missed and reimbursement of legal fees. Assistant Village Manager Paula Hewson said the decision to settle the case was made by the insurance company, which is paying the full amount. The village already has met its $100,000 deductible in defending itself in the case. In settling the lawsuit, the village is making no admission of wrongdoing on the part of itself or any employee, Hewson said. Kody's exact age was not available Tuesday, but he's older than 65 based on the medical benefits he's entitled to, according to the village. He has been on unpaid leave since earlier this year and is applying for a disability pension, having exhausted all of his sick time. Kody's recent sick time and application for the disability pension are unrelated to his lawsuit, Village Attorney Rita Elsner said.
Illinois Daily Herald

Chicago: O’Hare International Airport evacuation prompted by box of computer hard drives   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Reports of a suspicious package prompted an evacuation of a cargo building at O'Hare International Airport early Thursday, authorities said. The building was evacuated about 12:40 a.m. and the Chicago Police Department's bomb and arson unit was called to the scene, said Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro. A United Airlines representative said a box inside a United cargo building was swabbed and tested positive for explosive material. Authorities were called and found the box contained computer hard drives, said Uniteid spokeswoman Karen May. Authorities cleared the hard drives "without incident" and then allowed employees to return to the building, May said. As of 3 a.m., people were being allowed back in the building.
Chicago Tribune

Bosom buddies: Carpentersville area frefighters selling T-shirts to benefit battle against breast cancer   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Members of six area fire departments have teamed up to sell T-shirts to raise money to help fight breast cancer, while Elgin firefighters are down to a small number of T-shirts of their own they have been selling for that cause. The multi-department shirt sale is being coordinated by members of Carpentersville Professional Firefighters International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 4790. While this marks the fifth year Carpentersville firefighters have sold such shirts, it’s the first time they have done so in conjunction with firefighter efforts in other towns, Firefighter Tony Ferreiro said. Ferreiro said that last year Carpentersville firefighters raised $4,500 for the cause, with money going to breast cancer-related work at Presence Saint Joseph and Advocate Sherman hospitals. This year, the combined effort hopes to double that amount, with proceeds heading to Sherman. Carpentersville Firefighter Chad Parker’s design for the 2014 shirt incorporates fire department patches from the six towns involved with the project — Algonquin, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Huntley, South Elgin, and West Dundee — along with a pink ribbon and the IAFF logo. Parker said the Carpentersville firefighters had considered focusing on a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project in November, but a hiccup in the process led to waiting to do that until next year. Ferreiro said that in March, Carpentersville firefighters will be selling T-shirts to the public in support of that cause and wearing ones on duty on military-related holidays and on Fridays.
The Courier News

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