Above is video this morning at 3757 South Ashland in Chicago, the site Tuesday night of the largest fire in the city in at least seven years. Below is video and fireground audio taken Tuesday night. From top to bottom the clips are from Larry Shapiro, Steve Redick and Radioman911TV.
Anatomy of the 4-11: 13:08 E23 looking for rubbish 2500 W. Cullerton St. / Full Still b/o Main FAO for 2444 W. 21st St. » 13:13 Still & Box Alarm b/o Batt 4 for 3 story 200×100 smoke on 2nd fl and heavy smoke from several 1st fl windows » 13:20 2-11 Alarm b/o 2-2-1 reports heavy fire throughout 3 story warehouse 200×150 » Companies go defensive » Batt 2 requests CTA Pink Line be shut down » 13:31 2-2-1 requests additional TL and reserve snorkel » Corrected size-up by 2-2-1 is at least 300×150 » 13:38 3-11 Alarm b/o 2-1-28 plus 2 additional TLs » 13:45 4-11 Alarm / EMS Plan 1 / Level 1 HazMat b/o 2-1-28 » 13:58 2-7-1/Batt 4 4 master streams on West side of building making little progress » 14:00 EMS Plan 1 secured b/o 2-1-28 » 14:04 2-1-3 in command / All officers switch to Ch 5 Command » 14:30 2-7-1/2-1-3 11 master streams working, gas company digging in Sector 1 to shut off main, 1 line to sprinkler system in Sector 4
A Southwest Side warehouse partially collapsed during a 4-11 alarm blaze this afternoon that also caused the CTA to shut down the Pink Line.
The blaze was reported in a 100-by-300 foot, 2-story warehouse at 2444 W. 21st St. about 1:12 p.m., and as of 1:20 p.m. evacuations were underway, according to Fire Media. The 3-11 alarm was called at 1:40 p.m., and the 4-11 alarm followed soon after. The 4-11 alarm was struck out at about 3:47 p.m.
At about 2:43 p.m. Fire Media reported the building was starting to collapse.
There was a lot of intrigue surrounding the crash forty-years-ago today of United Flight 553 into a neighborhood near Chicago’s Midway Airport. When the flight took off from National Airport, among the passengers on board the Boeing 737 was Dorothy Hunt, the wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt. She was carrying $10,000 in cash. In another seat was CBS reporter Michele Clark who was following the Watergate story. Both died in the crash along with 41 other people on the plane and two women on the ground.
But the story we are bringing you today isn’t about those who died. It’s about one of the 18 people on the plane who lived and the Chicago firefighter who found her and helped bring her to safety. It’s written by my friend Tom Jackman at The Washington Post.
Tom recently talked with Ashburn, Virginia resident Marguerite McCausland, now 77, who was a stewardess working the first class section of the flight. It was Firefighter John “Duke” O’Malley who discovered McCausland alive, still strapped in a jump seat and buried under debris with flames all around her. It was O’Malley who stayed with her and helped free McCausland as hoses played on the flames.
Items from the plane’s galley and bathroom crashed down on top of her, then bricks from one of the houses. She was pinned. Elsewhere in the plane, “people were trapped. I could hear them dying.” She heard a baby crying, then stop. “I couldn’t see any of this. I do remember I could feel parts of my body burning.”
After 20 minutes, “I remember the firemen coming in,” McCausland said. “One of them came in and said, ‘There’s no one alive in here.’ I probably did something to let them know I was there.”
O’Malley climbed over to her. “He said, ‘I’m going to throw a cloth over your face,’” McCausland recalled, “’because we’re going to cut you out and I don’t want you to get burned.’”
Frank Hanes, a photographer from Chicago Today, watched and wrote: ”The heat from the fire was terrific but there were these men right in the middle of the flames trying to save a stewardess. The firemen kept a steady stream of water on her while the rescuers worked for about 10 minutes in the midst of the fire before they finally got her out alive.”
Tom tells us the firefighter and the stewardess and their spouses became friends and stayed in touched for many years. Firefighter O’Malley died last year.
WGN Morning News anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten scrambled to report on helicopter footage of an apparent plane crash near 29th Street and Martin Luther King Drive around 8 a.m. Friday morning. A few minutes later, after considerable ad-libbing, they learned that the apparent wreckage had actually been staged for the NBC series “Chicago Fire.”
Look on the bright side, the producers can take the video of the real news coverage of the fake crash and incorporate it into the story. That should add some realism.
A firefighter fell through the floor while battling a blaze at a vacant building on the South Side this morning and was pulled to safety by other firefighters, officials said.
A mayday was called when the firefighter fell through the first floor of the vacant two-story building near Calumet Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive. Other firefighters pulled him out through a basement window, officials said.
UPDATE: At the bottom of the post are two additional videos taken later in the operation showing master streams being used to knock down the fire. Also, prior to the master streams, at about the :08 mark in the first video a line going to the building bursts and firefighters have to wrestle with it. And the last video on the page is from a different vantage point in the high rise across the street and starts just before the arrival of the first ladder truck.
EARLIER: Above is video from Hayley Monte via WMAQ-TV at a fire this morning where a man and woman were rescued from the top floor of an apartment building in Chicago’s Buena Park neighborhood. Immediately below is some of the radio traffic from the fire via Radioman911.com. Below that is more video of the rescues and the fireground via ThePointandShootist.
The two were brought down a ladder at 736 W. Buena Avenue, according to the Fire Department. The woman was taken in fair to serious condition to Weiss Memorial Hospital. The man refused treatment at the scene.
A firefighter was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center to be checked as a precaution, officials said.
For the second time in little more than a week, Chicago firefighters made a sad procession to the morgue today to honor a fallen colleague.
Walter Patmon Jr., 61, an 18-year veteran, died late Sunday night after going into cardiac arrest within hours of responding to a small kitchen fire in the 1500 block of West 99th Street, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Will Knight said. The firefighters discovered meat burning on a stove, officials said.
After returning to his firehouse, Patmon experienced shortness of breath while cleaning equipment, Knight said. He was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 11:21 p.m.
Firefighter Walter Patmon Jr., 61, was an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department. He worked out of Engine Company No. 121 at 1700 West 95th Street.
Patmon returned to his firehouse last night after responding to a small kitchen fire in a home on West 99th Street. He said he felt short of breath and was rushed to Little Company of Mary Hospital. On the way he went into cardiac arrest and later died.
Patmon is survived by his wife and three daughters.
“Walter was a super dude. I mean, every day when we see him, he always got a smile,” said the Chicago Fire Department’s Michael Griffin.
Patmon, who was known by his childhood nickname “Bubble,” was just a few years away from retirement.
“I used to say, ‘Walter, you’re kind of in a busy fire house. Isn’t it time to kind of slow down?’ He said, ‘No, I’m not going anywhere. I love this fire house. I love this department, and I’m staying where I’m at,’” retired senior firefighter Irving Brown said.
Patmon’s death comes three days after the funeral of Cpt. Herbie Johnson, also of the Chicago Fire Department.
This is video just uploaded yesterday that a neighbor shot of Friday’s house fire that took the life of Chicago Fire Department Capt. Herbie Johnson. The fire occurred at 2315 W. 50th Place and also injured Firefighter Ryan Woods. Click here for our previous coverage of the fire.
“He was the best, he was the best guy,’’ said Chicago Fire Dept. Lt. Steve O’Malley who was relieved by the 54-year-old Johnson this morning about 6 a.m. from Engine 123, Tower Ladder 39, on 51st Street after O’Malley had worked the 48 hour shift.
“He was his usual crazy self, laughing,’’ said O’Malley of the Johnson. “He always had a smile on his face,’’ said O’Malley, whose voice was quaking with emotion during a telephone interview after hearing the news from another firefighter that he passed.
Johnson died at the U. of C. emergency room. Paramedics had to perform CPR on him at the scene, said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
Johnson was assigned to Engine Co. 123 in Back of the Yards for the night, but normally worked from firehouses all around the city.
As Ahlheim spoke near the hospital tonight, Chicago Fire Department Truck No. 16 sat at the corner of 58th Street and Drexel Avenue with its ladder extended to mid-air and the roar of its engine sounding, a ritual saluting fallen brethren. A firefighter hoisted the American flag atop the ladder.
Below are tweets about the fire from CFD spokesman Larry Langford (@CFDMedia)
Above is one of the rescues from the fire yesterday morning at 714 E. 82nd Street in Chicago. This was the fire where Engine 82′s officer provided a size-up on the radio saying “holy shit” as he scanned the building noting heavy fire conditions with people trapped and one who already jumped.
Some people have written saying they had had difficulty with the player for the audio from Radioman911.com that we posted. Below is the isolated transmission from Engine 82 for those who missed it. Click here for the more complete audio recording.
Radioman911.com sends along the audio from this morning’s 3-11 / EMS Plan 1 at 714 E. 82nd St. The fire was reported at 5:21 AM. TRUST ME and make sure you listen at 4:55 into the audio as Engine 82 arrives on the scene with a jumper and rescues. This size-up will become a classic.
At least four people have been taken to hospitals after an apartment building on the city’s South Side caught fire early Tuesday.
Emergency crews responded around 5:30 a.m. after a four-story apartment building at 717 East 82nd Street caught fire near Evans. the fire was under control by 6:40 a.m. At that time, crews also announced there were no more ambulance transfers to hospitals necessary.
An EMS Plan 1 — which automatically sends five ambulances to the scene — was called. A 2-11 response was called by about 5:35 a.m. and quickly elevated to a 3-11 alarm, Fire Media Affairs said. An extra-alarm calls for at least 8 engines, four trucks, two tower ladders, an ambulance and the Command Van to the scene.
Hoff, a third-generation hero firefighter, was appointed by then-Mayor Richard Daley to lead the department in June 2010. Hoff was popular with the rank and file.
Hoff, a fire veteran of more than 30 years, twice was awarded the department's top honor for bravery. In 1992, he rescued elderly residents from burning buildings following a gas explosion. In 1997, he saved 4-year-old twin boys from an Englewood building fire. Hoff also spent 21 days in a burn unit after suffering injuries fighting a fire in 1984.
STATEMENT REGARDING RETIREMENT OF COMMISSIONER HOFF
"On behalf of the Chicago Fire Fighters' Union,we wish Commissioner Hoff well in his retirement. He was a public servant of unquestionable integrity with a passionate and unwavering commitment to fire safety for the public-at-large as well as for rank-and-file firefighters and paramedics. He always stood-up for what he believed in and was never afraid to speak his mind. He was the unique leader who was able to cut budgets while never sacrificing vital resources or staffing,and as a result Chicago firefighters and paramedics have the fastest response time of any city in the nation. That is a legacy to be proud of. Chicago is truly a better and safer city because of his leadership and public service."
Tom Ryan President Chicago Fire Fighters' Union,Local 2
There is a very interesting column on Huff Post Chicago by Alden Loury the publisher of The Chicago Reporter. It is about the latest dust up between Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Robert Hoff and Inspector General Joe Ferguson. You may recall the pair previously battled over how discipline would be handled after the IG's investigation found members of the Fire Prevention Bureau had falsified mileage reimbursements. Hoff also told Ferguson to basically butt out when the IG urged a cutback on the minimum staffing of fire apparatus.
The latest disagreement is over ride-alongs. Here's how Loury describes the issue:
Investigators with Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson's office discovered that a battalion chief took an adult son along on fire emergencies and allowed him to stay overnight at a Chicago firehouse for a period of nearly two years. Ferguson recommended a 20-day suspension for the battalion chief, who "recklessly exposed the City to liability," according to the OIG's office.
But Commissioner Hoff ignored that recommendation and gave the battalion chief — whom city and fire officials wouldn't identify — a "verbal reprimand" with no time off, in the process creating more friction with Ferguson's office. (This is at least the third time in the past few months that the commissioner and Ferguson have squared off.)
CFD spokesman Larry Langford says Commissioner Hoff cited progressive discipline as his justification for the verbal reprimand, pointing to an otherwise good record for the BC.
Langford also had to tell Loury that Commissioner Hoff's childhood did not weigh heavily in the decision making on this one. Loury was talking about Commissioner Hoff, his brother and father being inspirations for the 1991 movie Backdraft. Alden Loury begins his column by describing the opening of the film where the younger brother rides along on a fire that ends up taking his father's life.
While that is a fictionalized account of the 1962 death of Commissioner Hoff's father, Loury continues with the ride-along theme by citing a quote from the Commissioner's interview with the Chicago Sun-Times last year after the death of his firefighter older brother Raymond, whom he lived with as a teenager. "I was 14. Every weekend he took me to work with him. He showed me everything."
As for the rules on CFD ride-alongs, here's more from Loury:
Langford said requests for ride alongs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but approval is typically reserved for individuals with a legitimate interest in firefighting activity or research — such as journalists or academics. Anyone approved for a ride along must complete a waiver of liability (which apparently was not filled out in the case of the battalion chief.) Langford said the department also has a program allowing medical students to ride along in ambulances as a part of their educational process.
Make sure you take some time to sit down and watch this video from the Chicago Fire Department and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. It is a good way to start the new year.
It was produced and directed by the extremely talented Rob Maloney and managed for NFFF by JoEllen Kelly (I would call her the executive producer).
A special, special thank you from Rob, JoEllen, the leadership at NFFF and me to our regular STATter911.com contributor Steve Redick. Steve, graciously opened up his video library to Rob and NFFF for this project.
Of course, these stories could not be told without the cooperation and compassion of Commissioner Robert Hoff, IAFF Local 2, the men and women of the department and the survivors of fallen firefighters from CFD.
Read police perspective on this story from the blog Second City Cop on 11/3 (with more than 400 comments), 11/11 & 11/15
The scene was a rescue call on November 1 for two men who had fallen into the river near Goose Island. The men were pulled from the water but not before an apparent scuffle between a Chicago Fire Department captain and a Chicago police officer who is assigned to the marine unit.
CFD spokesman Larry Langford told the Chicago Tribune that an active investigation is in progress. The paper points out this probe is underway at the same time fire department brass is moving into new office space at police headquarters.
Sources say the police officer had responded by boat to the call. The officer identified himself as a marine unit officer, and the fire captain allegedly grabbed him by the front of his uniform and threw him to the ground, shouting obscenities and saying the rescue was a Fire Department operation, according to one source.
The police officer reported back to his commander, and the fire captain was taken away from the scene by other fire officials, sources said. The officer has since complained of numbness in his hands.
One source said the fire captain was upset the police officer was not wearing a life preserver and told him to "get out of here."
The video above was taken as the first lines were stretched for a fire at 525 W. Armitage Avenue in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood on Friday afternoon. Watch the pretty violent flash at :21 into the video (still frame below).
The building was built in 1888 and at one time it housed a funeral home. It was under renovation when the fire occurred.
This eventually became a 2-11 alarm and much of the building collpased. See the WLS-TV video below for the collapse. In addition there are two other clips from YouTube.
Chicago firefighters responded yesterday to a fire at 525 W. Armitage, less than a block from the quarters of Engine 22. Upon arrival, they found heavy fire on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a three-flat that was undergoing renovation. The alarm was escalated to a 2-11 for additional companies. During the course of the fire, the building suffered a catastrophic collapse.
A still-and-box alarm was initially called for the fire at 12:50 p.m, but it was later upgraded to a 2-11 alarm, according to the Fire Department. Firefighters used four master hose lines and four hand lines to fight the blaze.
Around 12:30 on Sunday morning a 2-11 Alarm and EMS Plan 1 were called for a fire in the 4200 block of West Hadden Avenue in Humboldt Park on Chicago's West Side. A mayday was called during the fire. Also, neighbors caught a teenaged girl who jumped from the one-and-a-half story single family home. A grandmother and grandson were found on the lawn in the rear of the house.
The 74-year-old grandmother suffered second degree burns to her face and her five-year-old grandson suffered from smoke inhalation, police said. The good Samaritan, Daniel Cole, said "The woman had a burnt forehead and legs and the baby had smoke coming out of his mouth."
A mayday was called when a firefighter was briefly trapped in a stairwell when it collapsed, (Fire Media Affairs spokesman Chief Joe) Roccasalva said. The firefighter suffered minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital, he said.
A story that is more than just a drunk guy behind the steering wheel of an out-of-service fire engine: The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says the driver of the fire engine was a volunteer firefighter with the Hamilton VFD who forced a deputy to head for a ditch early Saturday morning to avoid the speeding rig. But it is the passengers that make this story even more interesting. They are all volunteers in Loudoun County (or were, since the driver and two of them have since resigned). They include a 19-year-old woman, an off-duty Leesburg cop and two men who are in positions of authority in the county fire service. According to news reports all had been drinking. Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. and Fire-Rescue Commission Chair Douglas G. Rambo briefed reporters on the unpleasant details yesterday afternoon. Here is our coverage from Sunday.
Born from RIT: I asked a new STATter911.com advertiser to write a guest column on his interesting product. Greg Turnell, a lieutenant in DC, invented TURK, a cart that has a number of applications, but was built to help firefighters transport all the required RIT gear to the fireground without killing yourself. Clck here to learn more.
Antique of the Week, rig hit in Massachusetts, Ohio rollover & a lot of news: Glenn Usdin goes back almost 75 years for the rig featured in the video for the latest Antique of the Week. Click here. Of course there is lots more apparatus news from FireTruckBlog.com.
Three Cleveland firefighters struck, man arrested: It happened Sunday morning on I-480 and two of the firefighters remain hospitalized. According to WKYC-TV, ”one firefighter suffered a lacerated kidney and rib injuries. The other fireman has significant lower body injuries and underwent surgery Sunday afternoon.” Here’s more.
A bad bill or just bad reporting?: I don’t know the answer for sure, but my hunch is a politician’s exaggeration of the problem and the failure to read the bill by reporters has people believing they are going to ban all photography within 500 feet of a crash scene in Illinois. I could be totally wrong, but my read from far away shows it is nothing of the sort. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Firefighter spots burglary in progress: A firefighter watched as a man broke into a store across the street from a firehouse in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The firefighter’s call to police brought a quick arrest of a burglar. Here’s the story.
Chicago firefighter in classic photo retires: It is a photo of more than 30-years-ago that many of you will recognize. It shows Firefighter John Steinmetz, just two years on the job in Chicago, holding the body of a girl in the fourth floor window of a burning apartment building trying to get help. Yesterday Captain John Steinmetz was honored as he arrived for his final shift before retiring. Read the story.
At least eight people, including one firefighter, were hospitalized Saturday after fire ripped through a motel on Chicago’s South Side.
Firefighters were called to the Seville Motel on the 9100-block of South Stony Island where the blaze was burning on the second floor of the two-story structure.
ABC7 is told the fire started at approximately 4:15 a.m. Dozens of firefighters responded and were having a hard time extinguishing the fire. Flames could be seen shooting from the motel’s roof as late as 8 a.m.
“As you can see right now are, the fire is still up in the roof area, and we have it under control now. It’s not going to get any worse. We got all the people out,” said Chief Michael Fox. “The fire is running the whole length of the building.”
A special call was made for the Mobile Ventilation Unit (9-2-3) from Engine 106′s quarters and it was put to work in Sector 1 to push the fire to the rear and through the roof to allow companies to get at it since much of the roof had remained intact.
The 52-year-old firefighter was attacked about at 5:25 p.m. in the 7200 block of South Lafayette. The firefighter claimed the man’s vehicle was blocking the road, police said.
The man fled after the incident.
To give you another view of what the firefighters are up against, someone put together the story above of a Chicago Fire Department engine and crew getting stuck in the Albany Park neighborhood. But the videographer didn’t wait around for the rescue.
The clip above, from a different neighbor with a camera, has the snowplow coming in to save the stuck CFD crew on the streets of Albany Park.
Obviously it isn’t just Chicago. Neighbors with shovels rush in to help Milwaukee Fire Department’s Engine 23 dig out.
The alarm was struck out at 11:25 p.m., Fire Department spokesman Kevin MacGregor said, but personnel remained on the scene for cleanup and investigation.
While fire officials believe the blaze was concentrated in the rear of the unused factory building, fire crews were cautious battling the fire because of the lightweight construction of the building, MacGregor said.
Firefighters had trained their hoses on the rear of the building and battled the fire defensively, MacGregor said, and kept the flames from spreading to other buildings.
The building apparently housed a couple or businesses, MacGregor said. A sign outside the building said “Eurosonic Blinds and Shutters.”
Click the image to see more of Steve Redick’s photos from the fire.
Dave’s phone problems were no accident: If you missed it, on New Year’s Day we ran a special report about a secret video sent my way that blows the lid off the plot to shut down STATter911.com. My own employees and a certain fire blogger are implicated in this sinister plan. This all comes as a terrible, terrible shock to me. I had no idea. I thought everyone liked me. You will see, along with the video, my attempt to go undercover and infiltrate the group headed by the evil Mr. Big (at least that’s what I am guessing he makes everyone call him). Click here, if you dare.
The FDNY versus MTA video really took off: I believe the video of FDNY Engine Engine 276 and the MTA Bus 5004 on Brooklyn’s Kings Highway has been shared by more people on Facebook than any other STATter911.com story. It was put up on Friday morning. Click here if you somehow missed this must see clip.
Pictures from New Year’s Day Chicago 2-11 that left three firefighters injured: Tim Olk has lots of pictures after his early arrival to the fire Saturday at 4315 W. 25th Place. Six people, including three firefighters were hurt. Firefighters rescued a mother and child from the home. ChicagoAreaFire.com has Tim’s pictures and details.
The Rube says farewell to the troops: The administration of Mayor Vincent Gray officially began yesterday. As we reported a while back, Gray’s choice for chief is Kenneth Ellerbe. Chief Dennis Rubin said his goodbye over the radio system last Wednesday and we posted the audio on Friday. Click here to listen.
Battle of Waterloo is appealed: In Waterloo Iowa the former fire chief has asked the Civil Service Commission to look at his case after being demoted a month ago to captain. The demotion paves the way for the mayor’s plan to have the police chief run both departments as director of safety services. Check it out.
Retired firefighter hits the jackpot: More than $8 million for a retired firefighter from Leandro, California who hit it big on a caisno’s progressive slot machine. Here’s the story.