What are GREAT day it turned out to be. 2019 Operation North Pole was a success. THANK YOU to everyone in McHenry County who came out to make this day special. From Daisy Girl Scout singing, to local police and fire departments handing out lunch boxes and gift bags on the train, to the residents who came out to support this wonderful organization. It couldn't be done without you. #operationnorthpolechicago#ONP#metra#IAFF... See MoreSee Less
Last night member from the Crystal Lake Fire Department joined together to prepare +350 food boxes, and +150 toy bags for a great cause. Items were donated by local departments, and businesses throughout the Chicagoland area. Thank You to everyone who came out and donated items. See everyone on this Saturday (12-14) at the Pingree Rd train station at 1130. #operationnorthpole#OPN#operationnorthpolechicago... See MoreSee Less
Please consider donating to our e-kettle and visit us on 12/21/19 at the Crystal Lake Jewel from 9 am to 8 pm. Of course donating to any kettle does the most good! Thank you for supporting the Salvation Army.
Crystal Lake Firefighters have been ringing the bell since 2005. We Ring the Bell to serve people in our community and support the Salvation Army as they “do the most good” for people in need. ... See MoreSee Less
Today, you will see plenty of photos and stories online about this particular fire, but please take the time to read the story of the Firefighter from the Chicago Fire Department Firefighters Union - Local 2 pictured be below. #AFFIatWork
How Fireman Feels Carrying Out Victims By Norman Glubo (Chicago American Newspaper)
What does a fireman think about as he goes about the grim task of recovering bodies from a burning school. If he is a father himself his thoughts are probably the same as those of Richard Scheidt, who says: “I thought of my own four children at home and all the times I could have been nicer to them. “I thought about what I hope they will become some day. “And I tried to put myself in the place of the parents of the children I was carrying out. I knew many of them were down in the street below the second floor classroom I was working in. “I wondered how anyone could tell them that their children didn't escape.”
Pictured in Rescue Scheidt, who was pictured carrying an unconscious boy from the Our Lady of the Angels School fire on page 1 of yesterday's CHICAGO AMERICAN, is typical of the 250 firemen who fought the blaze that claimed 90 lives Monday. Scheidt is a 30-year-old veteran of seven years in the fire department. He lives with his wife Nancy and their three sons and a daughter in a six-room cottage at 1345 W. 97th st. His $5,400-a-year salary, a little less than $104 a week, doesn't begin to compensate for the tremendous risks he takes. He drives a 1953 Chevrolet and never has been able to afford a vacation. But there are other compensations besides money. Says the slim, balding six-footer. “It's a good position in life, even if you are just a fireman. “When I'm in my uniform I have the respect of the people. It's a nice feeling to know you're doing something people are grateful to you for. “I've never heard an angry word about a fireman.” Scheidt is a member of Rescue Squad 1, stationed at 209 N. Dearborn st.
On 'Dizzy Wagon' Life on a rescue squad, nicknamed the “dizzy wagon” because its members are kept so busy, is the most hectic in the fire department. There are only 13 squads to cover the entire city and each is manned by half a dozen young, vigorous volunteers. Where an engine or a truck company may respond to an average of only one alarm each 24 hours, rescue squads are called out as often as 10 or 15 or even 20 times. Monday started out as a typical day in the Scheidt household. Up to 6 a.m., Scheidt had coffee and toast with his pretty brown-haired wife. At 7 a.m. he and Nancy got the kids out of bed to kiss them goodby. Richard, 8, is a third-grade pupil and Nancy, 6, is in first grade at St. Margaret of Scotland Parochial School. The others are Thomas, 4, and Timothy, who will be 2 years old the day after Christmas. Scheidt drove to the Loop, parked his car across the street from the firehouse and reported in for 8 a.m. roll call.
Reports for Roll Call Thirty-five minutes later the squad reported to a fire at 229 Hill st., got back to the station at 9:05 and was out again at 9:10 on an inhalator call at 55 W. Van Buren st. Back in the station by 9:27 a.m. Scheidt and his buddies went through their regular Monday morning drill, testing their gas masks and cutting torches. After lunch the day was quiet until 2:42 p.m. when the first alarm from the school came in. Seated in an easy chair in his living room last night, his red-haired son Timothy in his lap, Scheidt recalled. “We had no idea it was a school on fire. It was out of our territory and we didn't think much about it until the radio operator called all available ambulances and police wagons to the scene. “Then we knew someone was trapped or injured. We thought it must be a factory. We get them all the time. It never occurred to us that a school could go like that.”
Call to Iowa Street At exactly 3:09 p.m. the loudspeaker in the firehouse called for Squad 1 to proceed to 3800 Iowa st. Continued Scheidt. “One of our guys who lives on the West Side told us it must be the Our Lady of the Angels School. But we tried to put it out of our minds And we still thought it must be a factory across the street, or something.” As the red doors to the station swung open, Scheidt leaped to his post at the rear of the truck. By the time the driver turned north into Dearborn street Scheidt had slipped on his rubber fire coat. As the truck rumbled across the bridge over the Chicago River, Scheidt yanked off his shoes, and pulled on his boots. Squad 1 took Dearborn street to Chicago avenue, then headed west to Hamlin avenue. Recalls. Scheidt. “It was a very clear day. It wasn't at all uncomfortable.”
Smoke from Window As Scheidt's squad pulled up a block from the fire scene at about 3:18 p.m. the men saw smoke pouring from the school building. Says Scheidt: “I grabbed my ax and pike pole and ran after our captain, Harry Whedon, to the school. “As we got close I saw flames still shooting out of the northwest windows on the second floor and I knew we were in for some rescue work.” Scheidt recalls that it didn't look like much of a fire from the outside. He said: “If it hadn't been for the children inside it probably wouldn't have been more than a box alarm with maybe half a dozen pieces of equipment.” Scheidt's squad reported to Chief Fire Marshal Raymond Daley who ordered them to the second floor to get into the school rooms. As Scheidt and his buddies climbed a stairway on the opposite side of the building from the flames, they found the corridor already crowded with firemen operating hose lines.
Trip After Trip Entering the first classroom, Scheidt was greeted by a scene that turned an ordinary day into one he will never forget. Said Scheidt. “There wasn't much sign of fire in the room at all. But the water was shin deep. “Then up at the far end of the room I saw about a dozen children all huddled together. And the nun was lying over the children as if she was trying to protect them. Nobody was burned. “They had all suffocated.” Scheidt made trip after trip downstairs to carry the lifeless forms to waiting ambulances. When everyone was removed from the first room, he said, his squad broke through the wall to the next room where they found about 20 bodies huddled near the windows. The youngsters had been asphyxiated before they could leap to safety. When the second room was cleared, Scheidt's men moved on to a third room where they removed 20 more bodies. Said Scheidt: “You know, after a while on the fire department you think you have seen the worst. “I worked on the Reliance Hotel fire when five firemen were killed. I was at the Barton Hotel fire on Skid Row when 29 men were killed. “I was out at the “L” wreck at Wilson avenue a couple of years ago and I thought nothing could be worse. “But I've never seen anything like that school fire. All those children up there and all those parents outside hoping and praying that their kids weren't in there. “It wasn't like the usual crowd. There was no screaming or shouting. Everyone seemed to be in a state of shock. They couldn't even move. “How did I feel? It's hard to put it into words. I was just numbed.”
Back to Station When the last body was removed from the charred building, Scheidt's squad was sent back to its station where it logged in at 6:32 p.m. At 7:50 p.m., the station record book shows, the squad was called to sweep water from a broken main in a store at 17 N. State st. But nobody remembers much about that. An ex-Marine who followed three brothers on the fire department, Scheidt said he would be happy to see his three sons follow in his footsteps. Said Scheidt: “It's a wonderful job. To me it is the greatest public service there is.” “Echoes Nancy, her brown eyes gleaming. “It's a good life. We'd be proud of them.”