Two women pulled from house fire in Cahokia
Two women were pulled from a house fire Wednesday morning at 901 St. Patrick Blvd. in Cahokia.
Witnesses at the scene said they saw the two women and a cat pulled from a window of the one-story home and said the women were alive. A second cat that lived in the house was not accounted for.
Next-door neighbor Ernestine Little said the two women were both elderly and coughing as they were pulled out of a broken window. Little said they could not have gone through a door because of the fire had fully-engulfed the doorways.
“Too much fire,” Little said.
Little said she smelled smoke around 9 a.m. Wednesday and called the Cahokia Fire Department, which she said took a half hour to respond.
At about that time, Belleville resident Edward Johnson was driving by the house when he spotted the blaze. He said he stopped, got out of his car and broke windows in the engulfed house to help the women escape. He also said the fire department took a half hour to arrive.
Fire department leaders could not be immediately reached.
Cahokia Police said the condition of the women is unknown at this time. A MedStar ambulance was at the scene to transport the women to a hospital.
Firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
Firefighters battle fire south of Streator, firefighter injured
A Streator firefighter was injured and transported by ambulance after being struck by a fire truck on the scene of a fire, just south of Streator off of Aqueduct Road.
The firefighter's injury did not appear to be life threatening.
Eight fire departments continue to battle the blaze as of 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Nobody was injured within the home, according to a resident, who spoke with The Times.
Reading Volunteer Fire Chief Paul Losey said all the pets are accounted for in the home.
Three East Peoria firefighters appointed as temporary officers
With the retirement of former East Peoria Fire Chief William Darin, three members were sworn in Wednesday as temporary officers.
Assistant Fire Chief John Knapp will take over as the Interim Fire Chief and Lieutenant Garry Grugan was sworn in as the Temporary Assistant Chief.
Veronica Marmitt was sworn in as Temporary Lieutenant and she becomes the first woman in the department to serve that position.
"I couldn't be more proud to serve with the men and women of the fire department and city council. It's a big day I'll remember forever," said Knapp.
The three members will serve their temporary positions until a new fire chief is hired.
Trial for Former Oak Forest Deputy Fire Chief Charles Sopko Begins July 20
t’s unclear if Charles Sopko will have a chance to speak on his own behalf, in a trial during which a Cook County Judge will determine if he went along with his wife’s embezzling about $352,000 from the Palos Heights Fire Protection District.
Judge Kerry Kennedy on Tuesday scheduled a July 20 trial date for Sopko, 48, who is charged with felony theft of more than $100,000 in government property, Chicago Tribune reports.
Michelle Sopko pleaded guilty in March, after prosecutors said she redirected more than $350,000 from the fire district where she worked from 2008 to 2012, into the bank account she shared with her husband. Her schemes included paying herself overtime and paying salaries for two “ghost” employees. She was sentenced to eight years in prison; her family members are repaying $120,000 to the fire district.
She and her husband were arrested in December 2013. Charles Sopko was Oak Forest’s deputy fire chief. He still holds the rank of lieutenant and is currently on paid leave. He also sits on the Oak Forest Park District Board of Commissioner. His wife served on the Board of Education for Arbor Park District 145, but relinquished her seat shortly after her arrest.
Oak Forest Patch.com
Romeoville fire station rebuild approved
The Romeoville Fire Station 1 has not seen major renovations since the mid-1980s, Fire Chief Kent Adams said.
Today, the fire station’s walls are deteriorating, paint is chipping in flakes from the roof and the concrete is cracking, Adams said.
The Village Board Wednesday night approved demolition of the fire station at 18 Montrose Drive, and architectural and construction services for the building of a new one in its place.
“I mean, it was pretty much a pole barn when it was built,” Adams said. “We were eventually going to need a new station.”
Oakbrook Terrace-based Robinette Demolition Inc. was hired to demolish the fire station for $103,400. Elgin-based Dewberry Architects received a contract not to exceed $66,212. And a contract not to exceed $3 million was awarded to Downers Grove-based Corporate Construction Services.
“There is no doubt that Fire Department 1 needs to be replaced,” Mayor John Noak said.
Assistant Village Manager Dawn Caldwell said the village has been discussing the reconstruction or renovation of the fire station for several years.
“We did a lot of research on the existing building,” Caldwell said. “It made sense, due to the amount of work needed on that building, to construct a new building.”