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Friday, February 27, 2015
Bloomington Fire Department: 1 dead, 1 injured in house fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A Bloomington fire official says one person was killed and another was injured in an early Friday morning house fire on the city's west side. Capt. Doug Stretch said one resident of the white-frame house at 710 1/2 W. Monroe St. was found on the second floor. A second resident, Stretch said, may have jumped from the second story at the back of the house that was destroyed in the blaze. That person was taken to the hospital. The identities of the residents have not yet been released. Fire crews are expected to be at the scene most of the day as they work to determine the cause of the fire that was reported about 5:30 a.m. Firefighters battled the fire in sub-zero weather for about three hours before bringing it under control. The bitterly cold weather did not appear to hamper their efforts. A large cloud of thick gray smoke that could be seen for half a mile at 7:30 a.m. had dissipated by 8:30 a.m., though some smoke continued to pour from the residence.
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Some progress, but Will County 911 problems persist    view comments tweat me share on facebook
While Will County's troubles with its 911 system upgrade have lessened, public safety officials said there's still a long way to go. Dan Gewargis, area sales manager for Motorola Solutions, on Thursday told members of the county's Emergency Telephone System Board that the company has addressed almost all of the problems with the new PremiereOne software and are continuing to monitor the system. But Mike Shay, a member of the ETSB and chairman of its technology committee, refuted Gewargis' report during the board's meeting. The ETSB gave Motorola a Feb. 19 deadline to address 10 of the more significant issues, such as the system crashing, freezing and locking out users. The company has until March 19 to address remaining problems. The board is withholding $900,000 of its $2 million contract with Motorola Solutions until it's satisfied that the system is operating as it should.
Chicago Tribune

Fire quickly squelched in upper floors of Hancock Tower in Chicago    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters quickly squelched a blaze late Thursday inside a condo on the 87th floor of the Hancock Center, a Chicago Fire Department official said. There were no reported injuries in the fire that broke out just after 10 p.m. in a residential area of the 100-story tower, at 175 E. Delaware Place, according to fire officials. The fire was raised to a still-and-box alarm, and officials called for an EMS Plan 1 response. Some residents evacuated to the building's lobby after being prompted by a building loudspeaker, but fire officials at the scene said it was not necessary to evacuate the entire building. The fire was officially struck out about 10:50 p.m. The cause of the fire hadn’t been determined as of about midnight, officials said. Investigators remained on the scene.
Chicago Tribune

Rockton Fire Kills One, Injures Another    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Smoke billows out of what remains of a Rockton home as firefighters worked for most of the day to contain it. The home caught fire early Thursday morning, leaving 58-year-old Anita Specht dead The woman is believed to have placed the 911 call around 7am, and the initial report was that both her and her husband were safe outside of the home---but unfortunately that wasn't the case when firefighters arrived on the scene "When the first engine arrived, one of the homeowners came out and said that a female occupant was still in the garage and unfortunately she did not make it out," said Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson. "She became trapped in one of the vehicles and perished inside one of the vehicles," Winnebago County Public Information Officer Ken DeCoster told 'Eyewitness News.' They believe the woman may have been attempting to back the vehicles out of the garage. Chief Wilson says that the best option is to always remain outside. "We in the fire service tell people when they have a situation of this origin that we ask them to get out and stay out. We can't preach that enough." The house located at 5255 Yale Bridge Road suffered an estimated $700,000 in damage. Firefighters had to request the assistance of a dozen departments in order to contain the flames "We went to a fourth alarm due to the fact of the weather conditions and the cold and also we're in a rural area, so we had to have water brought in by tankers," Wilson said. As for what caused the fire---that remains unknown for now.

Fire damages Livingston County business    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Fire has damaged a rural Livingston County business that produces pallets, skids and other wood products used in manufacturing. Firefighters from as many as 15 departments remain at Haab Forest Products, 5337 N. 2700 East Road in Forrest, where they were called about 4:16 a.m. No information was immediately available about whether there were any injuries. Because of the building's location near Illinois 47 and its proximity to Prairie Central Junior High School, state transportation trucks salted roads and state troopers diverted traffic. The departments used the school parking lot as a staging area. Superintendent John Capasso said classes were not disrupted. Calls to the company went unanswered Friday morning. Its website said it has been in business since 1988, producing pallets, skids, crates and boxes for all kinds of area manufacturing.
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Firefighter says death of Medora fire chief ’was my responsibility’   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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. The incident 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   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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.
Chicago Tribune

St. Charles Fire Chief Earns International Accreditation   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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.
Chicago Tribune

Freeport Fire Department rescues dog using new equipment   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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   view comments tweat me share on facebook
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.
WGEM-TV Quincy

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