Firefighter says death of Medora fire chief ’was my responsibility’
Firefighters bear witness to tragedy. It is part of the job. Solace is often found in the idea that others might learn from our very worst moment and prevent a future tragedy from happening. The recent death of Medora (Ill.) Volunteer Fire Chief Kenneth Lehr was such a tragedy, and it seized headlines across public safety media. A seemingly inexplicable and senseless incident, it provoked emotion and strong reactions from many.
As often happens with such incidents, the immediate reaction by some was to find someone to blame. In the case of Chief Lehr’s death, that person was Firefighter/Engineer Patrick Cullum, who drove the truck that killed his chief.
"If just one death can be prevented then something good will have come from this incident," Cullum told FireRescue1 in an exclusive interview about the incident, the aftermath and how he’s coping with the tragedy.
On the afternoon of Feb. 5, a landing zone (LZ) was set-up to a fly a patient with a significant injury to a trauma center. This LZ was deemed unsuitable and a second location was selected approximately one mile away. Cullum drove the fire engine from the first LZ to the second.
Chief Kenneth Lehr is believed to have ridden the engine's tailboard, unknown to Cullum, between the two landing zones.
As Cullum, 47, pulled the fire engine off the highway in the area being established as the second LZ, he visually located nearby personnel and took note that they were 10 to 15 yards away.
Orland Fire District hires nine firefighters
The Orland Fire Protection District board has approved hiring nine firefighter/paramedics to fill vacancies created by retirements. The district's board of fire commissioners, a separate board, will review and select candidates from the existing eligibility list, according to the district.
Trustees at Tuesday's meeting voted 3-0 to approve the new hires. Once they are selected, the firefighters will receive training through the district's fire academy and will be subject to a one-year probationary period. Last year, the fire district board approved hiring 10 firefighters to replace those who were retiring, and those 10 are scheduled to end their probationary period May 10. Once the nine new hires finish their probation, the district will have 111 firefighter/paramedics, a district spokesman said.
In the summer of 2012, the board approved hiring 11 firefighters to help bring down overtime costs that the district was incurring.
St. Charles Fire Chief Earns International Accreditation
Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet has been designated a Chief Fire Officer (CFO) by the Commission on Professional Credentialing. The designation is awarded for meeting professional, educational, technical, and community service achievements and fulfilling prescribed standards of performance, ethics, and conduct. An official presentation will be made at the March 2 City Council Meeting. Schelstreet is one of only 1017 designated CFOs worldwide. To maintain the designation, CFOs must show future achievement in four areas: Professional Development, Professional Contributions, Active Association Membership and Community Involvement.
"Achieving this credentialing status is a significant accomplishment for Chief Schelstreet," said City Administrator Mark Koenen. "He has provided exemplary service to the department and the community for many years, and this designation clearly illustrates his commitment to provide the highest quality of service to the citizens of St. Charles."
The Commission on Professional Credentialing, an entity of the Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc., (CPSE) administers the CFO Designation Program. The CPC consists of individuals from academia, federal and local government, and the fire and emergency medical services professions.
Freeport Fire Department rescues dog using new equipment
Firefighters in Freeport make a lifesaving rescue from a house fire. But the life they saved probably isn't the life you'd expect.
It was a family's dog. And firefighters equipment is part of the reason he's here today.
Kimberly Williamson had just finished giving her granddaughter a bath when the smoke detector in her house went off. She gathered her family and left the house but was unable to get to her dog, G-Man.
"I thought he died so I just went to crying. My heart just dropped and I just went to crying," said Williamson.
And G-Man would have died, if it hadn't been for the Freeport Fire Department. Firefighters pulled him out of the burning home. Today, G-Man is OK, fighting a cough after he suffered serious burns and damage to his lungs. But the damage could have been much worse if the Freeport Fire Department had not used a piece of equipment tailored just for animals.
The freeport fire department received five kits containing pet oxygen masks as a donation last year from the company, Invisible Fence. The fire department has three oxygen masks in each kit it carries. One for large dogs, one for small dogs and one for cats.
"It's essentially very similar for what we would use for people as well. So it's just hooking oxygen tubing up to an oxygen cylinder, adjusting the flow regulator and then applying the mask to the dog's face," said Scott Miller, Freeport Fire Chief.
G-Man was the first Freeport animal to use the mask since the department received them.
WREX-TV NBC 13 Rockford
New team member joins Mount Sterling Fire Department
A fireman's dream … a ladder truck.
That dream has finally come true for Brown County and the city of Mount Sterling.
Ladder One, is the newest addition to the Brown County Fire Protection District and Mount Sterling Fire Department.
"There’s been a concern that we have needed some type of aerial device in the event of fire in an elevated location," Brian Gallagher, the Fire Chief for the Mount Sterling Fire Department, said.
Like the November 2014 fire.
Crews were on hand for hours trying to contain the fire. A crew from Rushville was even called in to assist because they have a ladder truck. A truck they’ve had for the last year or so.
But here's the thing, Mount Sterling's was on the way.
It just took 12 years to get here.
"The total cost was $600, 000. Between the firefighters and Dot Foods, $160, 000 of that is being covered. The Brown County Protection District is $200,000 and the remaining $240,000, the city of Mount Sterling was covering," Fire Chief Gallagher said.
The new addition will allow the fleet to be updated.
Some of the trucks have been a part of the team for 20, 40 and 60 years.
KHQA-TV Connect Tri States
Fire damages mobile home near Quincy; Underage suspects admit to involvement
Adams County Sheriff's Office officials say two unnamed juveniles have admitted to their involvement in setting an abandoned structure fire Wednesday night. The suspects were released into their parent's custody late Wednesday night and the case will go the state's attorney for review.
Meanwhile, sheriff's officials say they still have several witnesses to interview and the investigation is ongoing for the fire that destroyed a vacant mobile home in the 5600 block of Bangert Drive just south of Quincy.
The Tri-Township Fire Department arrived shortly after 7 p.m. at the mobile home park located just off of Highway 57. Fire officials say the home is a total loss and no one was inside at the time.
Neighbors said the mobile home had been vacant for two years, but they noticed suspicious activity near the home.
"I walked around the front and you could see tracks leading from the basement to across the creek. So, whether it was someone that lived over there, or somebody that came that way, somebody set it on fire because there hasn't been any power or gas to that in two years," Monika Smith said.