The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago

The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago was estiblished to help preserve the history and tradition of the
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Just a reminder our presentation on the Iroquois starts in 30 minutes. Please log on and learn about this horrible trage...
12/10/2023

Just a reminder our presentation on the Iroquois starts in 30 minutes. Please log on and learn about this horrible tragedy.

Tomorrow afternoon the The Fire Museum of Greater Chicagowill be putting on a ZOOM presentation on the Iroquois Theater ...
12/09/2023

Tomorrow afternoon the The Fire Museum of Greater Chicagowill be putting on a ZOOM presentation on the Iroquois Theater fire. Tune in after the Bears game. The Presentation is being presented by one of our Board members, Jeff Stern. All log in info is in either your newsletter or in the photo below. Thank you and have a good safe weekend.

11/24/2023

Tomorrow Saturday November 25th we will be having last open house for the year. Family in town looking for something to do bring them down. Looking forward to seeing you there! Doors open at 10am.

11/06/2023

This was written by the late Ken Little and appeared in the fire museum newsletter in 2012..My dad describes this fire in the new book I'm working on. I wanted to share this because I bet many of you haven't seen Ken's story before...what a great read
The Fire Alarm Office
By Ken Little
Most days in the Fire Alarm Office are routine: Yes, we handle emergencies but we know who to send and we send them quickly, and it becomes routine. Then along comes a day without precedent, when you are operating by sheer instinct, by the seat of your pants, days that try your very soul. I experienced one of these days carly in my career, and it was a day I will always remember.
The date was June 16, 1962; it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, temperature was 89 degrees, wind SW at 16 mph, and the city was quiet. I was a Junior Fire Alarm Operator working the Day Watch, 9 AM to 5 PM at Main in City Hall. That summer I was vacation relief, working that day with Senior Operator Earle Shapiro and his regular Junior Operator Dick Hyland.
At 4:23 PM all HELL broke loose: all ten incoming FI-7-1313 phone lines on the key cabinets lit up simultaneously.
We all knew something had blown up, but where? What?
The callers could not pin-point the explosion site but it was out west somewhere. From here on in everything that happened is a blur, but I think I can keep the time line straight and in order. I heard addresses
on Rockwell, California, Superior, Grand Ave, so I opened Engine #105 and Truck #36's amplifier to get them going but neither company acknowledged the run; their amplifiers were dead, no power.
Box 616, Chicago and Rockwell, started to chime in on the bells, Shapiro said strike it" and Dick Hyland started transmitting the alarm to all fire companies via the striking keys. I dispatched a fifth engine and third truck to the box by amplifier; this response was due to an order from Commissioner Quinn designed to hold down the number of extra alarm fires. (It didn't.) Jim Evans, the radio operator, had just announced the Still and Box when Engine #105 radioed, "Give us a Box." Evans replied, "You have a Box." Lt. Wh**ey Dzur on #105 came right back with, *Give me a 2-11." Truck #36 then radioed for a 2-11, Evans replied "Engine #105 has already pulled a 2-11." Lt. Jim Nagle on Truck #36 then said, "Give me a 3-11." "OK Truck #36, you've got a 3-11." At this time the fire was only three minutes old and it already was a 3-11 alarm.
Shapiro told Hyland to sign these alarms with 2-4-8 on the tape, the telegraphic signature for Battalion #18, as the order then was to sign all extra alarm fires with chief's signatures only. Battalion #18 arrived on the scene and pulled a 4-11, the fire was now five minutes old.
The Second Deputy on duty that day was Edward Newell, 2-1-10
(signature for Director of Fire Prevention), and he was working his
last day on the job. Needless to say he went out with a bang. He was quartered at Engine #4 at Larrabee and Division Streets. With FF. Bob Markowski driving him, he made a fast run to the fire.
On his arrival he pulled a 5-11 alarm; the fire was now eight minutes old.
At the Fire Alarm Office
Shapiro was pulling the large electric map and writing up the extra alarm tab. I was writing up the change of quarters sheet and filling out the response card. The response card for Box 616 dated from 1931 and had out of service engines #7, #10, #32, #86, and #90,
changing quarters and subsequently responding to the fire. I had to substitute for them. With the 5-11 in, I made up a Special for five engines just in time as Chief Newell ordered it; the fire was now fifteen minutes old. The second Special was ordered two minutes later by Newell himself via the radio, and he wanted
"some" companies to come in from the West. I looked at the map and said to Shapiro, *How about sending Engines #68, #76, and #96" He said "OK." I added two more engines and handed the second special sheet to Hyland to transmit via the striking keys.
Chief Newell, via FF. Bob Markowski, came back for a third and fourth Special, for five engines each, and then as an afterthought, ordered two more Trucks and a fourth Snorkel. We had already on our own dispatched a fifth truck (39) and a third High Pressure Wagon (😎, to the fire on the 3-11. The fire now was 26 minutes old and I really believe no other 5-11 with four Specials was ever ordered and transmitted so quickly, in the history of the Department. In 26 minutes Main dispatched 42 engines, of which 23 were designated by the Office, seven Trucks, three Squads, three High Pressure Wagons, four Snorkels, four Battalion Chiefs, one Ambulance, six Chief Officers,five Auxiliary pieces of equipment and Civil Defense Units. Operator Hyland transmitted all the alarms manually and did not leave the striking keys for a half an hour.
At the fire scene the situation was this: On the South Side of Grand Avenue, opposite Washtenaw Avenue, was a yard in which 875 barrels loaded with nitro cellulose, lacquer, varnish, paints, enamels, oils, and solvents were stored. They began burning and exploding in such proportions that a fire storm seemed eminent.
The fire attacked a five story paint factory south of the yard, and exploding drums landed on the roof and burned a group of one to five story buildings occupied by the paint and varnish company's boiler room, laboratory and warehouse. Access to the paint factory fire was limited due to Railroad tracks to the south and a large rail yard to the west. Exploding drums sailed across Grand Avenue and set fire to five houses and an auto repair shop.
The tremendous heat, explosions, and flying drums made the fire scene extremely hazardous. But it was reported that Snorkel #2, manned by Red Windle and Warren Redick drove past and under the exploding drums to set up west of the fire buildings. The cause of the fire was undetermined, but a number of power lines were down, and it's possible a fallen power line fell on the drum stocks and started the fire. It was these fallen power lines that knocked out Engine #105 and Truck #36's amplifiers.
At Main, the five o'clock shift was straggling in but both shifts remained on duty because an extra alarm fire was in progress. We spent some time relocating engine companies, even moving some Englewood engines up north. Shapiro, Evans, and I were still on duty at 6:28 PM when we received a call for a fire at Hubbard and Sangamon Streets in Nate Cash's indoor lumber yard. The Still Alarm response was Engines #2 and #101, Truck #14, (all change companies), augmented by Squad #1 and Battalion #2 from quarters. Five minutes later Engine #2 pulled a Box and two minutes later Battalion #2, Chief Nels Thorsen, pulled a 2-11. 1 thought, "Here we go again."
Commissioner Quinn then struck out the 5-11, maybe because he heard the 2-11 come in, and released some companies right away. Main hiked Truck #2, Squad #2, and Snorkels #1 and #5 down Grand Avenue from one fire to the other, although we had Squads #1 and #10 and Snorkel #7 assigned to Hubbard St. Twenty minutes later Chief Thielmann, 2-1-6 First Deputy Fire Marshal, struck out the 2-11 and Senior Operator Phil McMahon released Shapiro, Evans, and me.
It had been a long day, a hectic day, but a rewarding day, because I was now confident that no matter what they threw at me, I could handle it. I never had another day just like that, but if another one came along, I was ready for it.
The two fires that day were the third and fourth extra alarm fires of the month of June and numbers 80 and 81 for the year. There were three extra alarm fires the next day, June 17, and during 1962, 159 extra alarm fires occurred. Ah, the good old days.

10/27/2023

This Saturday, October 28th, the museum will be open. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house with the kids. Doors open at 10:00am. Hope to see you there!

09/08/2023
09/08/2023

Members of our apparatus crew brought 2 of our pieces from our warehouse, along with our 2 displays pieces for an impressive photo shoot.
1928 Aherns-Fox ex-Engine 10
1930 White ex-Squad 10
1918 Mack Bulldog ex-High Pressure 6
1982 Ford E-One ex-Engine 32

09/08/2023
The museum will be there with our 1928 Ahrens-Fox aka Engine 10. Come check us out if in the Garfield Ridge area and sup...
09/04/2023

The museum will be there with our 1928 Ahrens-Fox aka Engine 10. Come check us out if in the Garfield Ridge area and support a great event.

NEW WEBSITE!!!After several years without a website, FMGC volunteers have created a brand-new one for us. It is at www.f...
08/25/2023

NEW WEBSITE!!!
After several years without a website, FMGC volunteers have created a brand-new one for us. It is at www.firemuseumofgreaterchicago.com Our new website features pages About Us, Our Exhibits, Support Us, a photo Gallery, and several videos. New volunteers are also encouraged to participate.

While working on our social media, they were also able to improve our all-important TripAdvisor listing, our search ending visibility, and other improvements.
PLEASE NOTE: Positive comments on TripAdvisor are easy and are vital for our placement! Be sure to check our new website often for updates.

Saturday August 26th the museum will open for its monthly open house. Come on down beat some of this heat and see us. Do...
08/24/2023

Saturday August 26th the museum will open for its monthly open house. Come on down beat some of this heat and see us. Doors open at 10am. Hope to see you there!

07/22/2023

Tomorrow we will be open for our monthly open house. Doors open at 10am. Hope to see you there!!!

05/26/2023

After a 5 year hiatus, I have decided to relaunch the CFD Memorial Day Parade and Mass. It will be Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2023 at the Church of The Holy Family, 1080 W Roosevelt Road. The parade of uniformed members will begin at 9:45 am followed by the Mass at 10am. We will be honoring all the LODD, active, retired, as well as Gold Badge Society members who have died since May 1, 2018.

Thanks,
Fr. Tom

05/26/2023

Tomorrow Saturday May 27th we will be open for our monthly open house. Doors open at 10am. Come on down.

05/01/2023
04/21/2023

Tomorrow April 22nd we will be open for our monthly open house. Doors open at 10. Admission is free. Hope to see you there!

04/05/2023

The museum board would like to send their deepest condolences to the family and friends of LT. Tchoryk who paid the ultimate sacrifice this morning. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Chicago Fire Department and the members of TL 10. 3-3-5

04/04/2023

The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago and it’s board would like to send our deepest condolences to the Pelt family, it’s a sad day in Chicago. 3-3-5

03/24/2023

Saturday we will be having our monthly open house. Doors open at 10. Hope to see you there!

02/24/2023

Tomorrow, Saturday February 25th, we will be open for our monthly open house. Doors open at 10am. Hope to see you there.

04/20/2022

The Museum will be open this Saturday April 23rd from 10-2. Hope to see you there!

03/23/2022

On Saturday, March 26th we will be open for our monthly open house. Come on down and bring the family for a nice day of fire history. Doors open at 10am.

Address

5218 S. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL
60609

Opening Hours

10am - 2pm

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