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Friday, July 31, 2015
Park Ridge firefighter responds to fire in his own building    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Robert Sempoch has responded to a quite a few fires in his 10-year career with the Park Ridge Fire Department. But none occurred as close to home as the one he encountered in June. That's because the fire broke out in the sixth floor of Sempoch's own Palatine apartment complex. But even though he wasn't on the job, officials say he took charge of the situation. Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen sent a letter to Park Ridge Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen complimenting Sempoch for helping evacuate the floor and contain the fire to the apartment unit in which it started, simply by closing the open door. "That was a key factor," Andersen later told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. "It kept the fire in the unit. … I would hope that everyone would know to close a door, but certainly with his training he knew that and he did it." An open door could have easily caused the fire to quickly spread to the hallway and common area of the building, confronting residents who were trying to get out, Andersen said. Sempoch said he was alerted to the fire when the fire alarm in his building at San Tropai apartments, 1275 E. Baldwin Lane, sounded early on the morning of June 10. Sempoch, who lives alone, exited his apartment and noticed smoke in the hallway. Looking for the source, Sempoch saw a man step out of unit 609. Inside the apartment, Sempoch said he saw fire.
Chicago Tribune

Bringing diversity to Peoria’s police and fire departments    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The city of Peoria wants to diversify its police and fire departments. The city is taking a new approach to recruiting minorities and women. Dozens of people packed a room at the NAACP Thursday night for a public safety career fair. Those who already protect and serve were on-site, and applications were available. Police officers, firefighters and dispatchers come in all shapes, sizes and colors," said Peoria Police Officer, Amy Dotson. "We need them, we want to represent the community that we serve." In the 200 person fire department -- there are just two women. And the city wants every department to be reflective of the people living in the community. "They don't have enough. And women need to get out here and have more many positions and jobs that men be having," said Kattrine Gaston. And some say hiring more minorities will help community relations. "Some people put it out that it's bad to become officers," said aspiring police officer, LaMike Washington. Reporter: And you don't think that's true? "No. And that's the only way we can fix it is for us to become officers."

Man suffers from smoke inhalation during fire in Normal, after trying to warn residents    view comments tweat me share on facebook
One person is injured after an early morning apartment fire. It happened just after 1:00 a.m. Friday on Orlando Avenue on Normal's North Side. Firefighters found the origin of the fire on the second floor and had it under control in about 20 minutes. A man was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Normal Fire Department believes he does not live there, but ran into the building to alert residents. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
WMBD-TV Peoria

Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District improves ISO rating    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District recently was bumped up to a Public Protection Class 2 rating by the Insurance Services Office, putting it in the top 2 percent in the nation for its ability to respond to emergencies, according to a district news release. Since 1992, the district had been rated as a Public Protection Class 3 organization with the last rating done in 2005, the release stated. Of the 2,408 fire protection agencies in Illinois, Darien-Woodridge is now among 71 that hold a Class 2 rating, according to the release. Nationwide, there are 917 Class 2 departments out of the 49,000 agencies that the Insurance Services Office rates. There only three agencies that have a Class 1 rating in Illinois, the release stated. The evaluation process examines water supply, training, vehicle and station locations, dispatch, fire prevention and public education among other areas, according to the release. Homeowners in parts of Darien, Woodridge and unincorporated DuPage County near Downers Grove have the potential to save on their insurance premiums as a result of the new rating, the release stated. Business and commercial property owners also can expect a significant decrease.

30th Anniversary Of Arlington Park Fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Friday marks 30 years since one of the biggest fires in Chicago-area history. The first call came in about a fire at the Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights around 1 a.m. on July 31, 1985. Firefighter Chuck Kramer, who was off-duty, rushed to the scene. “I remember hearing the commander say he had a confirmed fire and told them, ‘What’s the most I can have?’ They said, ‘Five alarms.’ He said, ‘Start with that.'” Seven hours later, some 200 firefighters were battling the blaze. The massive structure built in 1927 had all kinds of hidden spaces that made it impossible to put it out. “The fire was burning its way through these hidden spaces, above us, below us, around us. And we couldn’t stop it,” said Kramer. At one point, the fire chief put in a call to Fort Sheridan. “He was trying to get ammunitions people out there to blow off the end of the building so we could actually make a firebreak and cut it,” Kramer said. But Pentagon permission would have come too late. The fire just kept burning until there was nothing left.
CBS Chicago

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Orland Park firefighters use drone to battle house blaze   view comments tweat me share on facebook
VIDEO: Firefighters used a drone to battle a house fire that may have been caused by lightning in south suburban Orland Park. The fire chief said flames were seen on the roof of a two-story home in the 10800-block of Scarlet Drive just before 3 a.m. Wednesday. When firefighters arrived on scene they found flames spreading across the roof and through the attic. Firefighters determined the family that lives in the home was away on vacation, and then launched a drone to track the spread of flames in order to concentrate water where it was needed. It took about an hour to get the ire under control Fire officials say the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed that lightning may have hit the home. Thunderstorms with lightning were in the area at the time the fire began. The fire chief said fire damage left the home uninhabitable.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Follow Up: Peoria Fire Chief Kent Tomblin officially announces retirement   view comments tweat me share on facebook
City officials formally announced Fire Chief Kent Tomblin’s pending retirement today, ending a 37-year career with the city of Peoria. “I have been blessed beyond measure to be a part of the fire service and the Peoria Fire Department,” he said in a news release. “I felt that way on my first day on May 7, 1979, and I will continue to feel that way forever.” Tomblin’s retirement will be effective Jan. 4, 2016, to allow time for a successor to be found. He has been chief since 2007. The departure comes months after an overwhelming no-confidence vote in Tomblin by the firefighters’ union in March. More than 90 percent of the union members who took part in the formal vote — some 85 percent of the force — cast ballots against the chief. City officials declined to answer questions about the pending retirement on Tuesday night, but in a news release Wednesday city manager Patrick Urich called Tomblin “a consummate professional firefighter and a great leader of the department.”
Peoria Journal Star

Family escapes blaze that destroys Curran home   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Jessica Burke was looking forward to celebrating her birthday Wednesday with her three children and husband. Instead, the family spent the day rummaging through their home in search of belongings not destroyed in a fire Tuesday night. Burke was determined not to get too down about the sudden change of plans. "We're just spending it together in a different manner," she said as she looked at the burnt insulation piled up on her kitchen countertop and at the smoke-blackened walls throughout her home. The Burke family is without a place to live after a grease fire got out of control Tuesday, destroying their home of the past seven years at 6237 Moffet Street in Curran. Jessica and Lon Burke have three children, ages 4, 16 and 20. A GoFundMe page will soon be set up online for people interested in donating money to help the family, who own Finn's Fish and More, a food stand they bring to small-town carnivals and fairs. Burke said she was cooking french fries in the kitchen Tuesday to make horseshoes for dinner when the pan on the gas stove exploded. Grease shot through the air and landed on the wall, causing it to ignite. The wall instantly caught fire, and the blaze traveled up into the attic.
Springfield State Journal-Register

West Dundee firefighter Dave Strossner promoted to lieutenant   view comments tweat me share on facebook
West Dundee firefighter and paramedic Dave Strossner is being promoted to lieutenant, taking the place of Jim Schultd who retired in June. Strossner, 46, is excited about the new position. He especially enjoys being a leader and mentoring the newer members of the department. "Training is what got me so interested in fire service," he said. "Leading and training is what I'm excited about." Elgin firefighters battle three fires in two days Strossner joined the West Dundee Fire Department in November 1992 as a part-time employee. He became a full-time firefighter and paramedic in October 1997. He is the Sparky the Dog skater at many public events and parades, vice president of the West Dundee Firefighter's Association, and a fire science instructor at Elgin Community College. Strossner also teachers West Dundee employees first aid and CPR, and instructs the village's Public Works employees on trench and confined space rescue to meet OSHA standards. With his new position as lieutenant, he will assume the role of chairman of the Safety Committee Secretary, as well as be the department's public education coordinator. Strossner's swearing-in ceremony is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, at the West Dundee board meeting. West Dundee Chief Randy Freise lauds Strossner's enthusiasm. "He brings a lot to the table. He likes to do a lot of hands-on work," Freise said. Strossner and his wife, Kristi, are parents to three daughters.
Chicago Tribune - metered site

Firefighter motorcyclists visit Marseilles memorial in Ottawa   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Hundreds of motorcyclists from across the country — all members of the International Association of Firefighters Motorcycle Group — are celebrating their 9th Annual National Rally this week in Ottawa. The group is being hosted for the rally by Ottawa Firefighters Local 523. Following a ride through Starved Rock State Park Wednesday morning, more than 300 riders and passengers from the rally gathered for a wreath ceremony in front of the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseilles. Before the solemn ceremony, Ricky Walsh, chairman of the national association's motorcycle group from Richland, Wash., said he was impressed with the Ottawa area and was enjoying the fellowship of other firefighters. "The locals here are doing an awesome job," said Walsh, who retired from firefighting service after 30 years. "This is one of the smallest locals (27 members in Local 523) ever chosen to host the rally. We like being here. Ottawa was a great choice. We have been warmly welcomed and we're enjoying the community's hospitality." During the ceremony, Walsh said,"It is fitting for us to be here to give thoughts to those veterans who gave all to their country." Those sentiments were echoed after the short service by the motorcycle group's vice chairman, Chris Prickett, of Eatonton, Ga., who spoke of the wreath ceremony. "I think it is very touching to be here in Marseilles," he said. "Ottawa is an idyllic American town."
MyWebTimes-The Times

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