Michael Road Fire: PFFD Activity Report for July 2-8, 2017

Michael Road Fire, PFFD, Park Forest Fire
Park Forest Fire confronted a July 7 fire on Michael Road. (Photo: PFFD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Michael Road fire kept the Park Forest Fire Department occupied on July 7 — that, and twelve other calls that same day.

Last week, there were 80 total responses by the PFFD. Of these, 17 were fire/service calls, and 63 were EMS calls.

The department’s weekly report follows:

Response Activity

The 4th of July was a busy day with all the holiday related activity; however, the fire department also responded to University Park to assist with a structure fire in a 5-story apartment building in the short period between our parade and fireworks. This fire involved automatic aid and box alarm companies and, thankfully, was extinguished quickly. Park Forest units were back in service before the fireworks activity in Central Park was set to begin.

On July 7, investigators from Park Forest responded to 19th Place in Chicago Heights to assist with a cause and origin investigation for a large fire that occurred in the afternoon. Chicago Heights and box alarm companies had been on the scene for some time before the investigation was able to be conducted.

Michael Road Fire

Around 9 p.m. on July 7, Park Forest and automatic aid units responded to Michael Road for a reported structure fire. This thirteenth call for the day had units arriving to find heavy fire on the first floor of a duplex unit spreading to the second floor. Six occupants had escaped the unit and the neighbors from the adjoining unit were also outside. Complicating this response were two ongoing responses: an EMS call and a carbon monoxide response essentially tying up the entire duty shift at the time of the alarm.

The Paid On Call (POC) division was in station on training when the alarm was sounded, making the POC engine the first engine on scene.

Firefighters made a quick attack assisted by automatic aid companies and were able to limit the fire to the primary duplex; however, the contents of the unit were almost a total loss. Firefighters vented smoke from the adjoining unit and the occupants elected to spend the night elsewhere to allow the unit to further ventilate.

The cause of the Michael Road fire appears to have been a book placed on top of a halogen torch lamp as part of children playing. The children involved did not immediately report the fire to the adults present, allowing the fire to gain a foothold in the living room. Further complicating the situation was a large fan moving air on the first floor, further stoking the fire.

Thankfully, there were no injuries associated with this incident.

Training Activities

On Monday, July 3, shift members completed a pre-plan site visit. This included a review of unique building construction and fire suppression equipment.

Wednesday, July 5 thru Friday, July 7, representatives from Pace Bus reviewed CNG bus emergencies with shift members. In the afternoon on these dates, members also completed a classroom review session on the proper operation of All-Terrain Vehicles utilized by the department and the MABAS Division. This classroom training session, held for both the career and POC division members during this week’s training, is the first aspect of a two part program assuring members are fully trained in the operation, safety and use of such ATV vehicles.

Department and MABAS policy dictates only trained operators shall operate ATV’s in emergency and non-emergency activities.

Other Activities

Fire Chief Bruce Ziegle, Fourth of July
Fire Chief Bruce Ziegle sips some water while working at the Fourth of July Parade. (Photo: PFFD)

The 4th of July provided its usual flurry of activities for the Village and the fire department. In addition to normal duties, seven units participated in the 4th of July parade, which circled Central Park after departing Downtown.

The parade was followed with fireworks shot off from the wetlands area in Central Park.

Preparation for this activity began in the morning with the designation and marking of the exclusion zone for citizen safety related to the fireworks. 1,000 feet of barricade tape was set up throughout Central Park to help keep citizens at a safe distance from the launch site. Multiple fire department units were then placed along this safe zone perimeter to monitor the fireworks and assure the safety of all those in attendance. Thankfully, the fireworks went off without a hitch and everyone was able to enjoy the spectacular show.

On July 5, the Deputy Chief attended the monthly SouthCom operating committee meeting while the Chief attended the Village staff meeting. SouthCom is the Village’s 9-1-1 center and the police and fire representatives meet monthly to review and oversee the operations.

On Friday, July 7, department mechanics traveled to Alexis Fire Equipment (near Galesburg) to pick up Engine 50 after some repairs. The engine was taken to Alexis about three weeks prior to have warranty work performed on the exterior paint and water tank. While it was at the manufacturer, it was also scheduled to have some minor repairs made to the fire pump. While being transported to Alexis, the unit had a radiator and fan failure, which was also repaired while it was at the manufacturer.

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