Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn resigns
Fire Chief Mike Vaughn, who received state and national awards for his actions during last year’s tornado, announced his resignation Thursday night. He sent out a news release after he talked to the Washington Fire Department’s volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
Vaughn and the board that oversees the not-for-profit department have been trying to negotiate a new contract since his previous contract expired July 31.
A 90-day extension was to expire Oct. 31. Vaughn’s resignation is effective Nov. 1.
Contract talks had not been going well. Vaughn said the board wanted him to take a pay cut from $80,000 to $45,000.
“And there was no trust left,” he said.
Board President Will Gallaway said he didn’t want to comment about Vaughn’s resignation because the board hadn’t been officially notified.
“I found out about it through social media,” he said.
He said Vaughn was supposed to respond to the board’s latest contract offer by noon Friday.
Brian Barron, who represents fire department personnel on the board and has been a vocal Vaughn supporter, said Vaughn’s resignation is devastating.
“I’m numb,” he said. “Few understand the impact of losing a fire chief like Mike Vaughn.
“Mike has to do what’s best for him and his family. You can’t fault him for doing that.”
Peoria Journal Star
DeKalb firefighters extinguish gas line fire
Photos: Crews installing a fence broke an underground natural gas line that caught fire and burned for about 3 hours Thursday in the Meadow Trail subdivision. DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said firefighters responded at 10 a.m. Thursday to a home in the 400 block of Red Wing Lane, which is off Bethany Road east of First Street. When they arrived, they found flames shooting out from around an excavator in the front yard between two homes.
“With gas leaks, you’re better off letting it burn,” Hicks said.
The excavator had been installing a fence around a DeKalb Sanitary District lift station that sits in the front yard of a home. Residents said they have waited months to have the fence installed.
“We’ve been having discussions about putting up a privacy fence,” said Matt Swan, who lives next door to the lift station. “I guess the fire just becomes an interesting part of the story.”
The fence burned in the fire, which also melted the siding on the nearby home. Fire officials estimated the fire caused $150,000 in damage.
One person in a home next to the fire was evacuated, but no one was injured, Hicks said.
DeKalb Daily Chronicle
Flaming outdoor classroom helps teach LP fire strategies in Moline
A pillar of flames erupted from the rear of a semi-tanker Thursday night, illuminating the parking lot north of the Moline Fire Department. No one was in danger, and, in the end, nothing was damaged. The blaze was a carefully controlled reproduction of a liquefied petroleum fire, which can end disastrously if not appropriately handled.
Moline fire training officer Jim Versluis helped with the University of Illinois' Fire Service Institute program designed to teach firefighters the correct way to extinguish such a fire and shut off the valve. Volunteering for the training were about two dozen firefighters from Moline, the Rock Island Arsenal, Matherville, Polo and other Illinois fire departments.
The training was funded by a grant through the Illinois Propane Education and Research Council.
"It's training we couldn't afford otherwise," Mr. Versluis said.
Liquefied petroleum gas can be used as a primary source of heat during the winter for rural homes or building contractors. Liquefied petroleum fires can range from small propane grills to semi-tankers and gas-filled rail cars, Mr. Versluis said.
Quad-Cities Online: Dispatch-Argus
DHS employees save woman from Murphysboro blaze
Four employees of the Illinois Department of Human Services sprang into action Thursday morning when they rescued a woman from a house fire blazing across the street from their offices in Murphysboro. Judy Bost, the human services case worker who first arrived on the scene, said she didn’t think twice about entering the house.
“A little girl was yelling that her mom was still in the house,” Bost said. “I went into the house to look and the mother was near the front door laying on the ground.”
Bost said the front room was filled with thick, black smoke, and flames billowed from windows in the back of the house, near the kitchen. There was just enough space beneath the smoke to see the woman, who was sprawled on the floor about five feet into the house. But Bost didn’t know if she could pull her out on her own.
“I thought I can’t get her out of here, I can’t lift her,” she said. “I was so glad that the other three got there. I would have had to drag her across the floor.”
Two of Bost’s colleagues, Spencer Sagaskie and Donna Allison, arrived just in time to help Bost carry the woman outside. Another colleague, former Marine Don Burk, assisted in carrying her to the sidewalk -- just in time to hear sirens approaching.
“It was an excellent team effort,” said Sagaskie, a Carbondale resident. “Everybody sort of buckled down.”
Sagaskie said the whole office helped out, gathering blankets for the two residents and making sure everyone was OK.
Two workers injured in flash fire in South Roxana
Two workers were injured in a flash fire atop a tank at Midwest Biodiesel Products LLC in South Roxana Thursday. The South Roxana Fire Department received a call for a tank on fire at approximately 11:40 a.m., according to South Roxana Fire Chief Todd Werner. South Roxana, Roxana and Hartford fire departments responded to the biodiesel company, located 7350 Illinois Route 111 in South Roxana.
The workers were doing some welding repairs on top of one of the roughly 50-foot-high tanks when some ethanol inside the tank caught fire, Werner said.
“They had some workers up on top of the tank doing some repairs to the top and to the insulation on the top of the tank,” Werner said. “The tank is primarily filled with water, with just a little bit of ethanol residual on the very top. It caught fire fire, flashed on them.”
Steve Ory, who owns Interstate Petroleum next door to Midwest Biodiesel, said he heard and felt the boom from inside his warehouse.
“All of a sudden inside our warehouse we heard a loud explosion. It actually shook the warehouse,” Ory said. “I was pulling by right as it happened, and (there were) flames coming out of the top of the tank.”
Ory said one of his employees called 911 and he watched as some of the workers tried to fight the fire atop the tank.
“They went back up there, believe it or not, with a little bitty fire extinguisher,” Ory said. “It looked like most of the fire must have been on the outside of the tank, I’m not sure. But something blew, because you could feel it inside the warehouse.”
A ladder truck from the Wood River Fire Department was called to the scene to provide an aerial view of the tank to ensure the fire was out.