Retired Effingham firefighter reflects on 50 years of service

  • Source: Mattoon Journal Gazette & Times-Courier
  • Published: 04/15/2019 08:14 AM

Hearing stories about the St. Anthony Hospital fire, which happened 70 years ago this month, was common when Jim Wolters was a young boy, although he was just a toddler when the fire broke out and killed 77 people. Wolters would later have a personal connection to the fire. “My mother-in-law was in the hospital fire,” said Wolters. “She jumped from a second-story window and that jump resulted in breaking her back. She was laid up for quite awhile.” Learning about Effingham's historic hospital fire was a part of what nudged Wolters into a 50-year career in the fire service industry. Now 72, the Effingham resident recently hung up his helmet and gear for the last time, when he retired as a paid-on-call firefighter. He had most recently served as the second assistant chief for the Effingham Fire Department.


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