WBEZ | fire http://www.wbez.org/tags/fire Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pipeline fire sends flames hundreds of feet into sky; no injuries http://www.wbez.org/news/pipeline-fire-sends-flames-hundreds-feet-sky-no-injuries-108391 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fire_1.png" alt="" /><p><p>A fuel pipeline exploded beneath a western Illinois cornfield, sending flames hundreds of feet into the sky and leaving a 15-foot-deep crater before pipeline crews were able to stem the flow of fuel and bring the fire under control, authorities said.</p><p>Nobody was injured in the explosion, which was reported around 11:15 p.m. Monday near the town of Erie, about 27 miles northeast of Davenport, Iowa. Dozens of residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution and the flames could be seen for dozens of miles, fire officials said. Most residents were allowed to return by early Tuesday morning.</p><p>Residents reported hearing a loud blast, said Erie Fire Chief Doug Rutledge, who said the hole created by the blast was about 20 feet wide and 40 feet long.</p><p>&quot;It had a roar like a jet engine,&quot; with flames as high as 250 feet, Rutledge told the Daily Gazette in Sterling, Ill. &quot;It was something else.&quot;</p><p>The pipeline was carrying a mixture of ethane and propane from Iowa City, Iowa, to a petrochemical plant in Morris, Ill., about 62 miles southwest of Chicago, said Rick Rainey, spokesman for the pipeline&#39;s owner, Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners.</p><p>Enterprise Products workers were able to remotely turn off a valve to limit the gas flow to the site, fire officials said.</p><p>Rainey said the fuel did not spill, but either vaporized or burned off. He said it is too soon to say what caused the explosion, and that the company and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous materials Safety Administration would investigate.</p><p>Phone and email messages left Tuesday with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency were not immediately returned.</p></p> Tue, 13 Aug 2013 11:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pipeline-fire-sends-flames-hundreds-feet-sky-no-injuries-108391 Chicago fire started by hot plate kills 2 children http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-fire-started-hot-plate-kills-2-children-104545 <p><p>Authorities say a fire started by a hot plate being used for heat killed two young children at a home on Chicago&#39;s South Side.</p><p>The Chicago Tribune reported the children had been left home alone.</p><p>A 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy sleeping in a back bedroom were killed. Two other children were rescued by an aunt who ran to the Englewood home when she saw the fire.</p><p>Fire officials say a hot plate sparked the blaze, which tore through the basement and first-floor of the brick and stone two-flat before dawn Saturday.</p><p>Firefighters had to cut through bars on basement windows to get inside.</p><p>The surviving children were taken into protective custody.</p><p>Police say the children&#39;s mother and aunt were being questioned.</p></p> Sat, 22 Dec 2012 09:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-fire-started-hot-plate-kills-2-children-104545 Fire destroys century-old Galesburg building http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/fire-destroys-century-old-galesburg-building-100055 <p><p>A century-old Galesburg building has been reduced to a pile of debris by a massive fire.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/KTsnva">WGIL Radio</a> reports that Galesburg firefighters took about two hours to get the fire under control at the former Hawkinson Manufacturing facility Tuesday.</p><p>Fire Chief Tom Simkins says it was obvious within a few minutes that the three-level building would be a total loss. He says a contractor may have to come in to remove all of the building&#39;s rubble.</p><p>Simkins says one firefighter was hurt when he fell off a ladder. He was taken to Galesburg Cottage Hospital after suffering a broken collar bone and possibly a concussion.</p><p>Hawkinson Manufacturing made doors, frames and other items until its closure.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 09:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/fire-destroys-century-old-galesburg-building-100055 Activists say fatal fire could have been averted http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-26/P1000957.JPG_.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last Monday, I visited 2414 N. Marmora with people concerned about vacant buildings. The yard was piled with garbage and it reeked of urine.</p><p>Vanessa Valentin of the Northwest Side Housing Center discovered squatters had pried the boards off the door.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-26/garbage on Marmora smaller.jpg" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: right; width: 280px; height: 499px;" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)">"It’s easy," Valentin said. "They take it off and they have access to come in and out."<br> Valentin says she called the city’s 311 hotline that day – her third call since last summer complaining that the house was unsafe.</p><div><p>Four days later, it went up in flames.</p><div><p>"You know, my first reaction was I cried because two people lost their lives, two firemen got hurt," Valentin said. "It's very frustrating. This could have been prevented if they would have gone out on Monday when reported and secured it."<br> <br> Chicago Department of Buildings spokeswoman Caroline Weisser says the city twice boarded up the building, most recently last May, and was working on getting it demolished.</p><p>"The Department of Buildings works aggressively to use the tools at its disposal to ensure vacant properties are maintained and secured," Weisser said in a statement.</p><p>LaSalle Bank, now Bank of America, filed foreclosure in 2007, but Bank of America says JP Morgan Chase is the one in charge.</p><p>(UPDATE on 3/29/12): A Chase spokeswoman provided documents from the foreclosure auction in 2008 showing that Joseph Varan purchased the house for $180,000. But the web site of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no record of Varan holding the deed to the property, nor of an auction having been completed.</p><p>“The City is undertaking an investigation into the ownership because the title on file with the Recorder of Deeds has been drawn into question," Weisser of the Department of Buildings said in a statement.</p><p>Varan couldn't be reached for comment on why the property had not been maintained and why he hadn't filed the deed with the county.</p></div></div></p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 What you probably didn't know about the Great Chicago Fire http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-07/what-you-probably-didnt-know-about-great-chicago-fire-92890 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-06/greatfire1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>The 140th Anniversary of the Chicago Fire is this Saturday. Not-so-coincidentally, Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of </em>The Great Fire<em> is running at the same time. WBEZ asked a member of the crew, and amateur history buff, <a href="http://ariclouse.tumblr.com/">Ari Clouse</a> to tell us a bit about the production and what we might not know about the fire that shaped Chicago history.</em></p><p>My favorite moments working run crew for Lookingglass Theatre's&nbsp;<a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/the_great_fire"><em>The Great Fire</em></a>&nbsp;are when&nbsp;I'm up in the catwalk. Hiding in the dark, dressed in all black, I drop "cinders" -- little red pieces of felt-- on the stage, cued by the stage manager, Kathleen, on headset. I get a great view of the entire theater&nbsp;up there, so once I've grown weary of seeing the same scene performance after performance, I watch a&nbsp;different one -- the audience's reaction. The play is based on real people and events that occurred&nbsp;during Chicago's greatest disaster. Throughout previews and opening, there's been one character who is&nbsp;a clear crowd favorite: James Hildreth (excuse me, Alderman James Hildreth), played with relish by&nbsp;Cheryl Lynn Bruce.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-06/greatfire1.jpg" title="Lookingglass' 'The Great Fire' (Photo by Sean Williams)" width="500" height="333"></p><p>Hildreth's story is compelling because he's a total badass. He single-handedly devised a mission&nbsp;to create a fire line to keep the flames from reaching and destroying the southern part of the city. It's a&nbsp;noble cause, to be sure, but it's the execution that really astounds. Hildreth's plan: blow up entire&nbsp;streets' worth of buildings to beat the fire at its own game. The ashen rubble from the intentional&nbsp;explosions would deprive the fire of fuel and stop it in its tracks without anything to burn. Basically his&nbsp;plan was to destroy the city before the fire could, no big deal. Let me point out that in 1871, the only&nbsp;thing available to blow stuff up with was gunpowder. This is part of why Hildreth's character is so&nbsp;popular--it takes a certain kind of person to run around with a hundred kegs of gunpowder when the&nbsp;sky is raining fire in every direction. I wanted to see what the real Hildreth had to say about his&nbsp;experiences fighting The Great Fire with, well, more fire. Thanks to director/playwright John Musial's&nbsp;extensive research (the script has four pages of Works Cited endnotes to look through), I knew I had to&nbsp;find the city's official Inquiry into the Cause of the Chicago Fire. Anyone can find the transcript of the&nbsp;Inquiry at the Chicago History Museum's Research Center. On Wednesdays, it's open until 4:30pm,&nbsp;which is fortuitous because my call at the theater is at 5 o'clock.</p><p>It was a while after the fire started in the O'Leary's barn on DeKoven street late on Sunday,&nbsp;October 8, 1871 (true story, although we'll never know if it was the fault of the cow for sure) that&nbsp;Hildreth suspected that the conflagration was getting worse and out of the firefighters' control.&nbsp;According to his official testimony, he found the fire marshal and told him of his demolition idea,&nbsp;but "the marshal felt as though the blowing up of the buildings was a matter that he did not&nbsp;understand," probably because it was a totally counter-intuitive firefighting method, proposed by a total&nbsp;stranger. Our man Hildreth could not be discouraged, however, and he eventually got permission--and&nbsp;the gunpowder--for his stunt from the mayor, Roswell B. Mason. The fire had crossed the river at that&nbsp;point, and was spreading faster with every passing minute. Mayor Mason desperately told&nbsp;Hildreth, "Go on and do something!"</p><p>So Hildreth took action, in the most kickass way imaginable. He gathered up anyone who&nbsp;seemed willing to help him collect the kegs and distribute them--a difficult task because "the&nbsp;word 'powder' was a terror" to most people he came across. To protect the gunpowder from the&nbsp;continuous shower of cinders and coals, Hildreth used his coat to cover the kegs "if we had time," and&nbsp;went about his business of destruction. He smashed the kegs in with his own foot to effectively spread&nbsp;the powder around. When he couldn't find anyone to give him fuses, he rolled his own out of pieces of&nbsp;paper, sprinkled gunpowder on them, lit them up, and ran away. Hildreth blew up about thirty to forty&nbsp;buildings in this manner during the Great Chicago Fire. He couldn't pin down an exact number and&nbsp;admitted that he "drank more than the firemen did" the entire evening. Hildreth was apparently such a&nbsp;pyrotechnics expert that he offered his (unsolicited) advice on how he would blow up the very building&nbsp;his hearing was conducted in--always put the powder on the first floor, never the basement. As to the&nbsp;effectiveness of his methods, Hildreth said his work spoke for himself: "If you went through and&nbsp;noticed...the buildings were thrown flat to the ground, and the flames and everything were smothered&nbsp;together in the debris." Whether or not Hildreth actually did much to stop the fire is unclear. While&nbsp;much of the South Division of the city was spared, it's more likely to be due to the weather--the wind&nbsp;simply wasn't blowing the fire in that direction. Although Hildreth's story is undeniably awesome, this&nbsp;may be the reason it's not often a part of the general historical Great Fire narrative.</p><p>In our production of <em>The Great Fire</em>, the actors carry around small barrel kegs&nbsp;with "GUNPOWDER" spray-painted on them. They are apparently so realistic that a terror threat was&nbsp;called into the FBI after they were spotted in the back seat of the assistant prop designer's car parked&nbsp;near the John Hancock Building, where Lookingglass's administrative offices are located. While it&nbsp;resulted in a bit of a tense situation, the misunderstanding was cleared up quickly--they are entirely&nbsp;fake props, and while gunpowder worked for Hildreth in 1871, it isn't usually anyone's first choice for&nbsp;effective destruction in our time. I won't reveal how we dramatize Hildreth's explosions in the play,&nbsp;partially because I don't want to spoil the trick, but I also couldn't tell you what it looks like because I&nbsp;never see it. My fellow run crew member Todd and I "set off" the trick, and then, like Hildreth himself&nbsp;did 140 years ago, run to get the hell out of the way.</p><p><em>For more reading, check out:</em></p><p>City of Chicago. "James Hildreth Testimony." Inquiry into Cause of Chicago Fire and Actions of Fire&nbsp;Department Therein, December&nbsp;1871. Vol. 3, pp. 123-. Transcribed by Richard F. Bales in 2002.</p><p>Musial, John. <em>The Great Fire</em>. 2011. Adapted/revised from original 1999 script and production.</p><p><em>Ari Clouse received her B.A. in History from the University of Chicago in 2010. She has been a non-Equity stage manager in Chicago for the past five years. Her days are spent in libraries and her nights are spent in theaters.&nbsp;</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-07/what-you-probably-didnt-know-about-great-chicago-fire-92890 Building collapses in extra-alarm fire in Lincoln Park http://www.wbez.org/content/building-collapses-extra-alarm-fire-lincoln-park <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left; "><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-16/ycrkr.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 402px; " title="(Photo courtesy of Rosalee Inendino)"></a><em>Updated at 6:21 p.m.</em></p><p>Chicago firefighters have controlled an extra alarm fire on the city's North Side. Large plumes of black smoke could be seen from downtown Friday afternoon as Chicago firefighters battled the blaze at 525 W. Armitage, a residential building in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The three-story building was consumed by the flames, causing it to collapse.</p><p>Fire officials said the call came in just before 1:00 on Friday, and&nbsp;firefighters were able to knock it down a little over an hour later. As of late Friday afternoon, firefighters were still on scene.</p><p>A spokesman for the fire department said the building was vacant, and that nobody was injured in the blaze.</p><p>Earlier, sources had said there were two structures involved in the fire, but a spokesman later confirmed the flames were confined to just a single structure. He said approximately 100 firemen were on scene to battle the blaze and they used around 40 pieces of equiptment.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/building-collapses-extra-alarm-fire-lincoln-park Smoke hangs over northern Illinois from Minnesota fire http://www.wbez.org/story/smoke-hangs-over-northern-illinois-minnesota-fire-91943 <p><p>Smoke from a large wildfire in northeast Minnesota is moving through Illinois this afternoon. The fire started when lightning struck about 15 miles east of Ely, Minn. in mid-August.</p><p>Meteorologist Kevin Kraujalis of the National Weather Service in Duluth, Minn., said the a cold front that moved through Illinois early this morning, coupled with the size of the fire are to blame for the hazy conditions.<br> <br> "Well, it's a pretty big fire, it's an excess of 60,000 acres so until the steering winds in the atmosphere come more westerly, you can expect to see some smoke and haze and conditions like that," Kraujalis said.<br> <br> Kraujalis said the smoke is thickest in the northern part of Illinois, especially in the western suburbs of Chicago. He said the smoke could stay through the overnight hours, but expects the winds to die down tomorrow.</p><p>The National Weather Service in Chicago is reporting that smoke is prevalent enough that people could have difficulty breathing or suffer from irritated eyes. They encouraged people who suffer from respiratory problems to take caution.</p><p>The fire at the Pagami Creek started on August 18th and has been burning since then. Kraujalis said the fire was controlled at first, but due to dry weather and some unseasonably high temperatures, the fire grew over the last week. Several lakes to the east and south of the fire have been closed, and campers and hikers are being moved from the surrounding areas. According to an incident report, some hikers have been transported by Forest Service float planes.</p><p dir="ltr">Today, airplanes and helicopters are hovering over the fire, dropping water in attempts to slow the spread of the blaze.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 21:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/smoke-hangs-over-northern-illinois-minnesota-fire-91943 Chicago’s other Great Fire http://www.wbez.org/content/chicago%E2%80%99s-other-great-fire <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/418px-Chicago_Union_Stock_Yards_fire_aftermath_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-29/418px-Chicago_Union_Stock_Yards_fire_aftermath_2.jpg" style="width: 418px; height: 600px; margin: 5px;" title="The aftermath. (Courtesy of Wiki Commons)"></p><p>With record rainfall this month and severe flooding across the region, it’s hard to imagine a summer day dry enough to set the city ablaze.</p><p>But that’s just what happened in May of 1934, when Chicago had seen less than 4 inches of rain since the beginning of the year, one-third of what was normal. On a day when temperatures reached 92 degrees and the humidity was only 25 percent, the Union Stock Yards caught fire.</p><p>The massive South Side slaughterhouse helped Chicago develop its reputation as “hog butcher to the world.” And the fire that wreaked havoc on the stockyards that day was the most destructive fire the city had seen since the Great Fire of 1871.</p><p>The damage was estimated at $10 million and included six square blocks of surrounding property, two banks, a radio station, and a partially melted “L” platform.&nbsp; According to <a href="http://www.firehistory.org/">Fire History</a>, this blaze left 1,200 people homeless, 25 hospitalized, 3 missing and 1 dead.</p><p>Jeff Stern is a fire-fighting enthusiast who claims to have visited all 141 of the city’s firehouses then in service before he turned 13. Today he’s on the board of the Fire Museum of Greater Chicago. In 2009, 75 years after the conflagration, Stern detailed how it started, spread and became a 4-alarm fire in less than 10 minutes.</p><p>You can hear this nail-biter of a story in the audio above.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Jeff Stern spoke at an event presented by <a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/">Culinary Historians of Chicago</a> in December of 2009. Click <a href="../../episode-segments/chicagos-second-greatest-fire-union-stock-yards-fire-1934">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 16:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/chicago%E2%80%99s-other-great-fire Potential payday for firefighters highlights city's long-term pension problem http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-09/potential-payday-firefighters-highlights-citys-long-term-pension-problem <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Chicago fire Getty Scott Olson.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It looks like today might be a big payday for Chicago firefighters. Earlier this week the Finance Committee recommended ponying up nearly four years of back pay&mdash;some $94 million in total. Meanwhile as the city scrambles to find money for that bill, it faces an even greater financial IOU &mdash; municipal employee pension obligations.<br /><br />And the city is operating under a tight deadline. If funding of pension obligations doesn&rsquo;t increase by 2015, the city will have to raise property taxes, according to a new law signed by Governor Quinn.<br /><br />DePaul University Economics professor <a target="_blank" href="http://samson.comtech.depaul.edu/faculty/member/Thomas/Mondschean/S/">Thomas Mondschean</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to break down the math.</p><p><em>Music Button: Capsula, &quot;Mindfulness Intention&quot;, from the CD Sense of a Drop, (Waveform) </em></p></p> Wed, 09 Feb 2011 15:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-09/potential-payday-firefighters-highlights-citys-long-term-pension-problem Plane catches fire at Springfield airport http://www.wbez.org/story/airplane/plane-catches-fire-springfield-airport <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/airborne plane.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Investigators are trying to figure out what caused a non-commercial plane to catch fire at the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield.</p><p>WUIS Radio says no major injuries were reported after the incident Thursday morning. The plane caught fire after a hard landing.</p><p>Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson says six people were on the plane, and two passengers suffered neck and back injuries.</p><p>The Air National Guard and officials with the Springfield Airport Authority are looking into the accident.</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 20:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/airplane/plane-catches-fire-springfield-airport