1. #1
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    Default Fire injures two firefighters, destroys church- Sycamore

    This went to a fourth level MABAS. Only problem: right after Sycamore boxed it, the ENTIRE DeKalb County fire dispatch system went down; no coms for over an hour.

    Not making a comeback, just thought folks might be interested in this.

    How's everybody been?
    ------------------------------
    From the DeKalb Chronicle:

    Updated Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    Fire destroys church
    Explosion hurts two Sycamore firefighters
    By Paul L. Mikolajczyk - Staff Writer


    SYCAMORE - A fire ravaged a church and left two firefighters injured Monday evening, a day after another fire at the building forced the cancellation of a church service.

    The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John, 327 S. Main St., was "totally destroyed" by the blaze, said Lt. Duane Prather of the Sycamore Fire Department. Damage to the structure is expected to exceed $2 million.

    Two full-time Sycamore firefighters were injured when their fire crew attempted to open a southwest entrance to the church, Sycamore Fire Chief William Riddle said. The result was an explosion blowing several firefighters across an alley and sending flames and debris high into the air.

    "This was a backdraft situation that resulted in an explosion," Riddle said, adding that the fire might have gone unnoticed for some time.

    "This is a huge fire," he said. "It's unusual to see one on that scale very often."

    Brad Belanger, a three-year veteran with the department, suffered first- and second-degree burns on his hands and was treated and released from Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb.

    Firefighter Bill Reynolds, a two-year veteran with the department, suffered a broken leg when debris from the church's stained-glass window frame and roof crashed down on him.

    His injuries were severe enough to require him being airlifted to St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford for surgery that lasted until this morning. A hospital official declined to release information about Reynolds' status.

    Another firefighter in the alley at the time of the explosion was launched into a nearby garage but walked away uninjured, Riddle said.

    Fire trucks from 11 communities filled Ottawa, High and Main streets attempting to extinguish the flames. Sycamore firefighters first responded to calls about smoke coming from the building around 4:45 p.m., Riddle said.

    By 5:30 p.m., more than 100 people lined the sidewalks and saw a recent addition to the church collapse. It took about six hours to extinguish the blaze, which left the building gutted, Riddle said.

    The Monday evening fire followed a Sunday morning fire in the 65-year-old church's basement during a service.

    The Rev. Don Phelps, who also is the chaplain and a paid-on-call firefighter for the Sycamore Fire Department, evacuated the church and worked with a firefighter in the congregation, Lt. Tal Hickey, to control the fire until the fire department arrived and extinguished the blaze.

    No one was injured, and property damage was estimated at $1,000. The cause of the fire was later determined to be a malfunction of the church's pipe organ.

    Riddle said the cause of the Monday evening fire is under investigation and it is unclear whether there is a direct relationship between the two fires.

    "We don't know if it's related or unrelated yet," he said.

    A state fire marshal will join Sycamore fire investigators to determine the origin of the blaze.

    Firefighters are expected to be at the site today to knock down some of the structure and extinguish any still-smoldering rubble.
    ------------------------------
    Firefighters spray water on a neighboring house to prevent the spread of a fire that gutted the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John, 327 S. Main St., in Sycamore on Monday. Chronicle photo HOLLY LUNDH
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  2. #2
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    Default

    Jaybird, is that really you??????????? Say it isn't so?!?!?!?

    Welcome back, brother!!

  3. #3
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    Default Comeback kid.

    I figured you guys were there. And like it or not, a post means a "comeback"..
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Default OMG ...........

    HE'S ALIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Default

    Jay, good to see you back with the important stuff.
    Must have been a mess with communications down. I'm really interested - how did the MABAS deal work? got a meeting Wednesday evening trying to get the rest of our county depts. in MABAS. This could be a good one to share withthem if it worked like it was supposed to. PM or email me if you want to.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Default Thanks Jay

    Thanks for coming back to post about this fire. Sounds like a communications nightmare, but maybe everyone will learn how important it is to have a back up plan. Even if they tell us we don't need one.
    I hope the firefighters that were injured are doing fine and they have our prayers. If they find out what happened with the radio system let us know, may be kind of interesting. THANKS JAY
    Proudly serving as Vice-President of the Illinois Delegation of the IACOJ

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    Hinckley Jay:
    As soon as I read about this fire in the newspaper, I immediately thought about you and sorta figured that your crew got in on it.
    In fact, I was going to email you last night to get the skinny, but since I haven't heard from you since I sent you that huge cigar, I thought that you might have smoked it and .....I thought the worst.
    It would be nice if you were here to stay, but I know you dance to the beat of a different drummer; mainly because you have no rhythm.
    Besides; I think about the good times when I look at the pictures Joshie took last year and I can't help but think about you when I sign in here.
    Thanks for the info.
    Email me. I'll send you another stogie.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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    Default

    Our Arson guy and his canine partner are assisting ATF at this fire. Jay keep us informed on the condition of the firefighter who was seriously injured. He will need our thoughts and prayers.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Default YO JAYBIRD

    If you are cruising these forums how about a heads up on the condition of the guy that got hurt?
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  10. #10
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    Default RspctFrmCalgary says:

    yeah yeah I seem to be technologically challenged and can't figure out how to change from Jenn's name to mine. My internet is being hooked up tomorrow. Yipppppppppeeeeeeeee!

    Nice to see you, Jay. Sorry to hear you've been ill.

    but I know you dance to the beat of a different drummer; mainly because you have no rhythm.
    CR are you talking from personal experience? You and Jay have danced together?

    Sher

  11. #11
    GFDSlappyRob
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    Hey Jay!!! Yeah heard about it the night it happened. I heard it over IFERN.

  12. #12
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    Default Update on FF/PM Bill Reynolds

    Bill has been moved out of ICU at St. Anthony's. It is still not for certain that they can save his leg, although they had him up and walking around with the help of a walker. This is obviously a good sign.

    I will post more as I get it.

    Incidentally, a little background:

    Bill grew up in Shabbona, IL. His father owned and ran Terry's Ristorante, a regionally famous stop for Italian food, particularly pizza. Terry's caught fire in the early morning hours of March 18, 1992. The Reynolds family lived above the restaurant, with a second apartment rented out. Bill spotted the fire and helped get his family got out, but the other apartment's tenant, Joe Frankino did not make it. Bill made an effort to get in and get Joe, but the heat and smoke drove him out. Bill couldn't have been more than 15 years old at the time. This was Shabbona's first fatal fire in at least 25 years. Bill joined the Shabbona Fire Department as soon as his age allowed, and quickly became active in many regional associations. He was frequently seen at the DeKalb County Firemen's Assoc. meetings, and soon became an officer in the Blackhawk Firefighters Assoc., serving as Secretary and VP. He was hired two years ago by the Sycamore FD. He is a very good guy and is too young to have a promising career cut short by a freak fire. I am trying to find out if there is an address to send cards and well-wishes.

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    Default Thanks Jay

    I want to send my best wishes to the injured Brother.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Pardener...........thanks for update .........my best wishes to the injured FF who protect my real life cousins in Sycamore. Bro.........coem on back here ........we miss ya. Will check in with you soon !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Default

    Illinois Church Backdraft Named Largest Ever Documented


    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News

    The backdraft that blew apart a Sycamore, Illinois church earlier this month has been named the largest backdraft ever documented in the U.S. and will become a national case study, local fire and ATF officials said.

    The backdraft blew the roof off the St. Johnís Lutheran Church on February 9th and knocked flat the eight firefighters on scene, who thought they were responding to a simple rekindle from a fire the day before.

    Two firefighters were injured, including one who nearly lost his leg due to a severed artery. That firefighter was released from the hospital this Friday and is expected to make a full recovery after a long rehabilitation process. "We gave him a little party and left him to his wife who missed him terribly," said Lt. Duane Prather.

    Sycamore Fire Chief Bill Riddle said the backdraft took everyone on scene by surprise.

    "I had never seen a building blow up like that, and it's something that's not real common in our business," he said.

    Riddle said the reason the massive backdraft will make such an excellent case study is because it was unusually well documented. Local citzens came forward to help investigators with photos and video from several angles, showing almost the entire incident as it unfolded.

    Riddle said church employees worked at the building all day on the day of the backdraft, and the last person left at 4:15 p.m. When firefighters pulled up a little after 5 p.m. to investigate a report of light smoke, they saw no signs of trouble.

    The firefighters determined it was too hot and smokey to enter the church basement, so they opened the ground level windows and put in a third alarm, Riddle said.

    The door to the basement felt cold but suddenly blew out when the backdraft occurred. A firefighter who had felt the door suffered burns to his hand because he had taken his glove off. Another firefighter was blown out of the cab of the engine, and another was blown across an alley.

    The firefighter who suffered the severed artery was injured when he fell from a ladder and was struck by debris. He was flown to to the hospital for immediate surgery, and was within 10 to 12 minutes of losing his leg, Riddle said. "We had a tragedy but it could have been a catastrophe," he said.

    Riddle had been in his command vehicle when the backdraft occurred. "I heard the noise and I looked up... this piece of roof was just being removed - it went up about 10 feet and then came back down," he said.

    There was no warning except that immediately before he blast, "The guys on the scene said they heard a sucking sound," Riddle said.

    He said it was a miracle the roof debris didn't strike any of the bystanders on the lawn.

    The two injured firefighters were removed from the scene and the fire crews went into defensive attack. "By that time the church was gone," Riddle said. They went to a fourth alarm and had 63 firefighters from 11 departments on scene. In the end, the church's walls were left standing but the structure will be unsalvageable.

    Riddle said the ATF coordinated the follow up investigation and determined its status as a case study.

    The large church, built in 1937, measures 150 feet by 160 feet and is made of stone, plaster, terra cotta tile, heavy timber, and stained glass windows with Lexan. "There was nowhere for the heat to go," Riddle said.

    The sanctuary where the backdraft occurred was located below the main church area and measured 80 by 150 feet. The church also had voids where heat built up, including a crawl space and cold air returns.

    "Every town in America has a couple of these. I think it's another fire waiting to happen," Riddle said.

    The chief said there are certainly lessons to be learned from this incident. One, he said, is to beware of tunnel vision when going back to a call for a rekindle. "Firefighters tend to be even more aggressive and take chances they wouldn't normally," Riddle said.

    He said the incident was also a reminder of how vastly different commercial and industrial fires are from home fires, and how fast things can go bad. "This looked like a manageable job when they rolled up," he said.

    The combination fire department has 19 career firefigters and 18 paid on call firefighters. They serve about 12,000 people in an area of seven square miles, and cover 60 square miles of the surrounding rural area. They run about 1400 calls per year.

    Well, hopefully they'll be able to learn a lot from this. Glad to hear our brothers are doing better.....

  16. #16
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Unhappy Speaking of Tunnel Vision....

    I missed this thread when it came up, we were busy here and I didn't get on as much as I would like to. I'm happy to hear that all of the injured are doing better, AND, glad to hear from Jaybird again, missed ya there Bro. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Smile

    Harve,
    get outa PA and check out the joint ! they got great stuff here !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  18. #18
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    Default Good news from Bill

    The word is Bill Reynolds has been released from the hospital and kicked into rehab. They expect him to be off the job for another 6 to 18 months. Knowing Bill, it will be much closer to 6.

    Incidentally, copies of the video will be available from Sycamore FD. Email me for the number. I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know how good or bad it is.

    Also, for those of you who are close by, there will be a benefit breakfast for Bill at the DeKalb Masonic Lodge, March 14. Although the medical bills are obviously covered under worker's comp, family transporation costs to and from Rockford, modifying their home so he can get around and meals while out of the house aren't covered. Again, email me for info.

    Taking Instructor II in Braidwood, so I'm a little busy with homework and etc., so if I don't get back to you right away, please be patient.

  19. #19
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    Are you sayin you may and try and come here and rejoin the discussions ? I know I would like that !GOOD LUCK on Instructor II !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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