Illinois News

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

New Chicago paramedics graduate early to assist in COVID-19 pandemic

Chicago’s beleaguered first responders will soon be getting some help, as nearly 36 new paramedics will be hitting the streets in the next couple of days after their training was accelerated. That, as Mayor Lightfoot announces the city will be taking over a downtown hotel to provide a home away from home for first responders. A no-frills swearing-in ceremony, with social distancing, of course, occurred for 34 new city of Chicago paramedics who were rushed through the Fire Academy to help battle coronavirus. “Your city needs you more than ever,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “And as proof of that, you need look no further than the fact you’re graduating ahead of schedule.” The state-certified paramedics crammed 10 weeks of training into four weeks and will be reporting to firehouses across the city within the next four days.
WFLD-TV Fox 32 Chicago

Related: Hotel Essex In Chicago Providing 274 Rooms For First Responders Fighting Coronavirus Outbreak

As police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs continue to work on the front lines of the city’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a downtown hotel is making its 274 rooms available to first responders worried about possibly taking the virus home to their families. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is paying for the rooms at the Hotel Essex, at 800 S. Michigan Av., to give first responders a safe place to stay during the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s often said that our first responders run towards danger, and that reality has never been more true in these unprecedented times. We need to continue to rally as a city to support all of our first responders, because we need them now more than ever,” Lightfoot said.
WBBM-TV CBS 2 Chicago

Little York man who honored first responders with American flags dies

A man who honored first responders by placing American flags on funeral routes has died. Larry Eckhardt, also known as 'the Flagman' died Tuesday at the age of 63, according to a post on his caretaker's Facebook page. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 before suffering from vocal cord paralysis. In 2006, Eckhardt, of Little York, Illinois, started placing flags along funeral routes to honor first responders. He received the same honor when he traveled back to Little York after spending a month in Iowa City for hospice care.

Fire damages one unit of a Champaign duplex

A fire early Wednesday morning has displaced the residents of a home in northwest Champaign. Fire Department spokesman Randy Smith says crews were called to a single-story duplex at 1618 West Union Street just before 1 a.m. Wednesday. Smith says firefighters saw smoke coming from one unit of the duplex when they arrived on scene. He says they quickly put out the flames that had only started to extend beyond a bedroom. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A dollar damage estimate was not available. The occupants of the duplex were not home at the time of the blaze.
Champaign News-Gazette

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Firefighters: More vulnerable to coronavirus, but adapting fast

If you get into a wreck – and, really, you shouldn’t be out and about – don’t be surprised if the firefighter helping you is wearing a mask. Not an oxygen mask, but a surgical mask. Spring Valley fire chief Todd Bogatitus huddled recently with his fellow fire chiefs and returned with some new orders for his company. From now on, everybody wears not only fire gear but latex gloves, surgical masks and goggles. One first-responder is to go in ahead of everybody else to assess the risk of coronavirus. More changes are on the way. “When we go into a scene we proceed with the assumption that coronavirus is there,” Bogatitus said. “Coronavirus is new to everybody, and every other day it’s changing.”
News Tribune (North Central Illinois)

McHenry Township Fire Protection District mourns death of Mark Justen

Officials from the McHenry Township Fire Protection District said Monday they were grieving the death of longtime board member and former district first responder firefighter/EMT Mark Justen. "I am at a loss to find the words to describe the great void left both in our hearts and in our building with the passing of Mark Justen," Fire Chief Tony Huemann said. "Mark has been a part of the MTFPD family for 49 years -- serving first as a firefighter/EMT for 29 years and for the past 20 years as a member of the board of trustees. Mark's complete dedication to the mission of our firefighters and paramedics is unmatched and it is hard to imagine our firehouse without Mark in it." Justen, 66, was the fourth generation of his family to run Justen Funeral Homes. For the past 43 years, he has been with the business operations of the three facilities -- Justen Funeral Home and Crematory in McHenry, Justen's Wonder Lake Funeral Home and Justen's Round Lake Funeral Home.
Illinois Daily Herald

Follow Up: Driver who nearly crashed into Decatur fire truck located

The driver of a pickup truck who nearly hit a fire truck was located by the Decatur Police Department. The Decatur Fire Department shared the news on Facebook hours after the original story aired on WAND-TV Thursday. The department said they have visually checked locations on the road in front of Fire Station 5 to make sure the fire truck can be seen by people traveling south on Greenridge. They say it s clearly visible. DFD said, Engine 5 was coming out of the new fire station located just north of Mound Road. The driver, with sirens and lights on, spotted a pick-up truck just in time to come to a complete stop. The pick-up truck driving at a high rate of speed slammed on its brakes and swerved to get around the fire apparatus.
WAND-TV NBC Channel 17

Chicago Fire Department responds to silo fire on Far South Side

Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a soybean silo Tuesday morning on the Far South Side. Crews responded shortly before 8 a.m. to 11700 S. Torrence Ave. in an industrial corridor along the Calumet River, according to Chicago Fire Dept. Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder. The fire was put out quickly, but crews remained on scene to ensure hotspots don’t rekindle, Schroeder said. No one was injured or evacuated, he said. The damage from the fire was limited to inside the silo, which was 70% full of soybeans, he said. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Schroder said.
WFLD-TV MyFox 32 Chicago

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