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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
911 Tapes Released From Chicago Air Control Center Fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Newly-released recordings provide some insight into the first frantic moments on the ground and in the air after a fire broke out at an Aurora Federal Aviation Authority facility Friday. The fire, allegedly intentionally set by contract employee Brian Howard, triggered widespread cancellations and delays at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway international airports, and days later continues to affect air travel. The first call to Aurora's 911 center, from a person who identified himself as "Ivan," gives little indication of how serious the fire inside the FAA facility on East Indian Trail Road was or how much damage it was doing to the sensitive computers and telecommunications inside.
NBC Chicago

Authorities: Blowtorch likely cause of Elk Grove building fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A fire in an Elk Grove Village condominium building was likely sparked late Tuesday afternoon by a construction crew using a blowtorch to solder water pipes together, authorities said. The fire ignited about 5:30 p.m. on the first floor of a building in the Terrace of Elk Grove Village condo complex, 920 Ridge Square. It spread through the walls to the second and third floors, but firefighters were able to prevent it from going any further by stopping it before it reached the attic and roof, according to Fire Chief Richard Mikel. Mikel said the condo building has a mansard roof, distinguished by its layers of wood shingles, and if ablaze would be "very difficult to fight." "They need a lot of water and a lot of people," Mikel said. "We got ahead of it based on bad experiences with this type of building." Police officers were first to arrive on scene just after 5:30 p.m., and with smoke filling the hallways of all three floors, began evacuating residents. After firefighters arrived, it took about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control, Mikel said.
Illinois Daily Herald

Colchester Fire Protection District proposes new tax hike    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Emergency response crews in the Colchester Fire Protection District could arrive at your house less equipped for the job. That's why Crista Rigg with the Colchester Fire Protection District says the district is putting a new ambulance tax on the November ballot. It calls for a 40 cent tax per $100 of assessed value on real-estate. Rigg says the extra revenue would generate over $100,000 a year to help maintain the current services. "The people, they expect to receive an ambulance to come right away with EMT people and all of the equipment," Rigg said. "If we can't afford to buy that, then maybe a fire truck shows up with a person with a medical kit, rather than an ambulance that can help them." The Fire District will hold an informational meeting on the issue Wednesday at 7 p.m. at West Prairie South Elementary School in Colchester.
WGEM-TV Quincy

Former Morton Grove fire chief dies    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Morton Grove recently lost a notable citizen whose great-grandparents were among the original farm families who settled in the village in the 1840s. Fred N. “Ike” Huscher, 92, who served as the village’s fire chief from 1975 to 1980, passed away Sept. 18, leaving his 92-year-old wife, Doris, sons Fred and Steven, two daughters-in-law, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren and other relatives. Morton Grovers recalled Huscher as a man who enjoyed and shared a deep knowledge of the town’s history, partly because his own family had played a part in it. “The Huschers are a true pioneering family of Morton Grove,” said Melissa D’Lando, curator of the Morton Grove Historical Society. Fred N.’s great-grandparents emigrated from Asche, Germany in 1842, stayed briefly in New York and then came to the Chicago area, choosing to settle Morton Grove for its good farmland, D’Lando said. An 1890s photo of the Huscher and Sonne families at “Huscher’s woods” in Morton Grove showed Fred N.’s father, Fred L. Huscher, as a boy. The photo is published in “Images of America: Morton Grove,” by Mary Busch and Tim Mayse-Lillig for the Morton Grove Historical Society (Arcadia Press, 2013). Fred L. Huscher married Clara Haupt, who grew up in the Haupt-Yehl House, which now houses the Morton Grove Historical Society.
Morton Grove Champion

New K-9 for Carbondale Fire Department    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Carbondale Fire Department gained a new member Tuesday night. Kermit the dog was officially sworn in at the city council meeting this evening. He is a two-year-old lab-golden retriever mix and he'll help firefighters with arson investigations. "He helps investigators locate those accelerants faster and provide better quality samples for our agency in a shorter amount of time," says Carbondale K-9 handler Jay Crippen. "The confirmation rate climbs dramatically when you're using a dog," adds Fire Cheif John Michalesko. Kermit is the the Carbondale Fire Department's third arson dog. They started using K-9's back in 1997.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Dawson: Rural Fire Departments Experiencing Communication Crisis   view comments tweat me share on facebook
During an emergency, effective communication between first responders can mean the difference between life and death. Tonight some local fire departments say they can't rely on their radio and pager systems. Putting their lives and yours in jeopardy. Around two years ago, the Federal Communications Commission required all emergency responders to use their mobile radios on a certain frequency. "We've had situations where firefighters have called a mayday and not been heard. We've had situations where firefighters have been requesting assistance from the dispatch center and the dispatch center can't hear us making the request," said Mike Abbott, Chief of the Dawson Fire Protection District. Several local firefighters say they've had trouble communicating between dispatch, neighboring departments, and even each other ever since the switch. "At times it can be a fuzzy sound. You can hear a little bit of a crack in the radio. You can't make out the radio traffic. Other times you won't hear anything," Abbott said. A real safety issue when every second counts.
WRSP/WCCU-TV My Fox Illinois

Chicago FAA fire suspect in court; Flight delays, cancellations persist   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Naperville man accused of causing nationwide airport chaos apologized in court Monday. And we now know that fallout from last Friday's fire at the air traffic control center in Aurora may be felt for weeks. Howard's attorney insists this was a suicide-attempt with the side effect of travel trouble. The actions, the lawyer says, of a troubled man who just happened to have access to a nerve center of the nation's air traffic control system. A suburban family leaves court after an emotional exchange. Brian Howard, wearing hospital scrubs and a large bandage covering a self-inflicted stab wound on his next told relatives, "I'm sorry."
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Moline hires one firefighter, looks for second; Has led to fire engine to be placed "out of service"   view comments tweat me share on facebook
One firefighter vacancy is filled and Moline is working to fill a second slot in order to reduce overtime that has led to a fire engine to be placed "out of service" about 90 percent of the time since Sept. 7. Since then, the engine at the downtown Central Fire Station was "out of service" for 15 full days and three partial days, according to Steve Regenwether, president of Moline Firefighters Association Local 581. In addition, the engine at Station 3, 4700 38th Ave., was "out of service" one full day and three partial days, Mr. Regenwether said. Moline has four fire stations and three fire trucks are in service and fully manned at all times. Mr. Regenwether said he knows of no instance on the days he was on-shift where having an engine out of service affected the department's response to an incident. City administrator Lew Steinbrecher said there has been an engine out of service about 90 percent of the time in the past 23 days. "Obviously I am concerned and that is why we are moving as quickly as we can to hire a second firefighter. Once that has occurred, my intent is to review my decision and try to modify or rescind it, and get that engine in service much more frequently," he said.
Quad-Cities Online: Dispatch-Argus

New Lenox Fire District Brings Former Cadets Onboard Part-time   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A local fire cadet program designed to foster a love for the service from teen years has developed some part-time firefighters for the district. The New Lenox Fire Protection District (NLFPD) cadet program was created for those interested in becoming part of the fire service for 4 years. It is open to anyone ages 16-21. Recently, the NLFPD has been able to hire some of the cadets who have earned all of their firefighting and paramedic credentials to their team as part-time firefighters. Former cadet Brandon Toth was hired by NLFPD as a firefighter/paramedic in July and currently works out of Station 2 on Cedar Road. He started with the cadet program in December of 2011. “I started gaining an interest in firefighting when I was in high school. I liked the fact that it was a team based job and that every day is different from the last. I also really liked the idea of doing something that makes a positive impact on the community,” said Toth. “Luckily, during my senior year of high school an introduction to the fire service class was offered through a vocation center. I enjoyed every minute of the class and right after high school I applied and got into the cadet program at NLFPD.”
New Lenox

Tri-Township firefighters train for potential grain bin accidents   view comments tweat me share on facebook
With harvest season upon many farmers here in the Tri-States, safety is just as important as quality of product. Knowing an accident can occur at any moment, the Tri-Township Fire Department wants to be prepared. "Tonight were doing some grain bin rescue training, we've got a grain bin here that a farmer was good enough to let us use for training," Assistant Fire Chief Darren Smith said. During Monday evening’s training session, the department focused on victim recovery. "Basically what we're doing is we’re gonna go into this grain bin, some grain has been taken out, so we have a cone, we call it a cone down, and we're gonna simulate a victim has been sucked down through the corn," Smith said. Firefighters worked in teams simulating two scenarios of victims, one conscious victim and one unconscious victim. Members of the department say the training they are receiving is invaluable. "All the pre planning that we can do helps out when there is an actual situation,” Adam Huckey said. Huckey has been with the Tri-Township Fire Department for over four years. While he hasn't had any real experiences with grain bin accidents, he says it’s good to be ready.
KHQA-TV Connect Tri States

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