Park Ridge firefighter responds to fire in his own building
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.
Bringing diversity to Peoria’s police and fire departments
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 positions....as 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
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.
Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District improves ISO rating
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
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.