Friday, October 19, 2012

Orland hosts local premiere of new movie on Firefighters

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Orland hosts local premiere of new movie on Firefighters

The Orland Fire Protection District was a proud co-sponsor of the recent premier showing of a new documentary on the challenges of firefighters in Detroit called “Burn: One Year on the Frontlines of the Battle to Save Detroit.”

The premier was held at the Orland Park Marcus Theaters 400-seat UltraScreen theater with two showings on Thursday October 18 that featured the documentary producers and stars.

Producer/director Brenna Sanchez was at the theater to introduce the film to a packed audience of firefighters and supporters including a large representation from the Orland Fire Protection District.

Above, pictured from left: Ted Copley, Chief Ken Brucki,
Brendan “Doogie” Milewski and David Parnell

Above, pictured from left: Ted Copley, Chief Ken Brucki,
Brendan “Doogie” Milewski, David Parnell and Engineer David Nagle and Lt. William Leddin.

“We were told there was no interest in a film about fire fighters,” Sanchez said before the premiere. “We have waited two years to see this film and I want to thank all of you for your support. This film can make an impact. It has a potential to change minds. We need your help to spread the word.”

Burn follows the crew of Engine Company 50 – one of the busiest firehouses in America. Located on Detroit’s blighted East Side, E50 stands at “ground zero” of the city’s problems, the film’s website explains. The starting salary of a Detroit fire fighter is only $30,000 a year and they haven’t seen a raise in 10 years, the documentary points out.

Sanchez thanked MSA, the leading manufacturer of high-quality safety products for police, fire and emergency service personnel, saying that “They got involved with us very early on and we couldn’t do it without their help.”

Representatives of MSA premier channel partners, Air One Equipment, Inc from South Elgin, Illinois attended the opening. Owners Dave and Sandy Frey and a staff of over 10 volunteers donated their time and worked the premieres at the theaters in Orland Park and Rosemont to help with the set up and the sales of merchandise which all went directly to “BURN.” MSA President William Lambert was featured in the film.

The film focused on the lives of a handful of firefighters in Detroit, which is described as having more fires each year than any other majority city in the country. Detroit has more than 80,000 abandoned structures, which accounts for the high fire and arson rate, the movie details.

“I was very impressed by how the film captured the challenges that the firefighters in Detroit have to face,” said OFPD Chief Ken Brucki.

At the start of the film showing, the district’s Color Guard posted the American Flag.

Several of the Detroit firefighters who are featured in the in the film including Ted Copley of Detroit’s Ladder 12, retired fire fighter Brendan “Doogie” Milewski, and retired Fire fighter David Parnell came to Chicago for the premiere which also included sold-out showings at theaters in Rosemont.

Parnell served as a Field Engineer Operator for Engine 50 until his recent retirement. Milewski was paralyzed from the chest down when the bricks of a burning building collapsed and him and other firefighters on Friday August 13, 2010.

Milewski became a fire fighter at age 20 serving 11 years before his tragic accident.

“I remember that day very well. Friday the 13th. I had a bad feeling when I saw the building as soon as I saw the fire,” Milewski said during a question and answer session that followed the documentary showing.

Sanchez said that they hope the film will receive national distribution, but currently is being slated in select theaters across the country. It returns for a second Chicagoland engagement Dec. 7 through the 13th. The documentary is not yet fully funded for national release, Sanchez said.

The film’s web site is and the Facebook page is

It is backed by Hollywood start Denis Leary who established a foundation to help fire fighters who have been injured fighting fires and the families of firefighters who have been killed. Parts of the profits from the documentary will go to the Leary Firefighters Foundation (

Photos courtesy of Ray Hanania and OFPD Battalion Chief Dan Smith


Chinese exchange students and government officials tour OFPD facilities

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Chinese exchange students and government officials tour OFPD facilities

A delegation of students and government officials toured the Orland Fire Protection District on Thursday, Oct. 11, viewing firsthand how firefighters train and battle fires.

The delegates, which included Chinese officials working in public works, police and fire, and government from the Guangzhou Province in China, are touring American government and public agencies through The 21st Century Institute, a not-for-profit agency based on Oak Park.

OFPD Chief Ken Brucki said the Fire District worked with the Village of Orland Park in coordination of the tour, noting Fire District officials allowed the guests to view firsthand district responses to simulated emergencies, on-going training and reviewing EMS equipment and procedures.

“We had our experts like Training Battalion Chief David Piper and EMS Coordinator Mark Duke closely supervised the tour,” Brucki said.

“They were very interested in how we work with local government asking questions about taxation, cooperation and also with how we respond to specific emergency situations.”

Brucki said that the guests visited the Training Center, the Administration Building, several Fire Houses and also the Dispatch Center. They were able to watch several ongoing training exercises and were particularly interested in the rigorous training the District requires for firefighters.

“We were in the process of conducting a hazardous decontamination exercise which they were allowed to witness,” Brucki said.

“We took them to our EMS Simulator and demonstrated a cardiac arrest response using our computerized mannequin. They were able to witness firsthand how we address several emergency scenarios and how we also monitor responses on our computer systems.”

The 21st Century Institute was founded in the early 1990s and is a non-profit organization based in Oak Brook, Illinois with branch offices in New York and Los Angeles, and in Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming in China.

The goal of the institute is to maximize human potential by integrating intellectual, cultural, economic, scientific, and technological resources from different geographical regions of the world. The Institute strives to be a strong and vital link in bridging the diversity of nations. The current focus of the Institute is networking between the United States and Asia-Pacific region.

Information below/website for the 21st Century non-for profit organization

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Orland Fire Protection District trustees accept budget recommendations

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The Orland Fire Protection Diistrict trustees accept budget recommendations

The Orland Fire Protection District held a special meeting Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012 to accept budget recommendations from the district's department heads. The recommendations were presented to the board by Budget Director Kerry Sullivan and Fire Chief Ken Brucki.

Sullivan explained that the projections were merely recommendations that still must be approved by the board, once a budget document is finalized.

The board voted to direct the district to display the tentative budget to the public beginning on Oct. 26, Friday, 30-days before the board is expected to vote to approve the budget on Tuesday Nov. 27. Sullivan said that members of the public will then be allowed to review the spending proposals and submit their own comments when the budget is voted on during the board hearing Nov. 27.

Brucki and Sullivan explained the proposed tentative budget, which is still subject to revisions of trustees, is for $29 million, with $29.9 million in projected revenues. There is no change from last year’s budget and includes expenditures for the 11 firefighters hired recently, and projects funds for union wage negotiations (two contracts expire Dec. 31, 2012).

Sullivan said the budget will be “a break even budget.”

“This is the 2nd time that our budget would be under $30 million in the past six years now. Previously, our budget was over $30 million and was on its way to hitting $40 million based on prior spending habits. That was unacceptable. But we believe the budget reflects our continued concern for the needs of taxpayers who want great fire service at a better managed cost,” said OFPD Board President Jim Hickey. Hickey noted that last year was the first time the budget was under $30 million in the prior five years.

Chief Brucki said that department heads presented their budget needs and he and the budget department reviewed and made recommendations that are included for the board. Brucki said the proposed budget will be made public next week at the regularly scheduled Tuesday October 23 board meeting, and then voted on at the November 27 board meeting following a public budget hearing.

“There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the budget, About 86.5 percent of the budget represents fixed costs for personnel,” Brucki said. “This year the process was streamlined and we made everyone justify every cost request. My goal was to tighten the process.”

Trustee Chris Evoy said, “This budget proposal keeps everything within the boundaries we have wanted. It is very considerate of the needs of the taxpayers who have demanded more accountability and a tighter control on spending. I think this budget achieves those needs.”

The budget process was opened to the public for the first time in 2011 when the new board held a special budget meeting to allow department heads to explain their recommendations. That was the first time the public was allowed to witness the detailed budget process, Hickey explained.

This year's budget recommendations so closely paralleled last year's recommendations that the requests were submitted by Sullivan and Brucki to the trustees who got their first look at projected numbers on Oct. 16.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New documentary "Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit" premieres in Orland Park

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New documentary "Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit" premieres in Orland Park

The Orland Fire Protection District is supporting the release of a new movie called “Burn: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit,” an independent documentary film that features the Detroit, Michigan Fire Department but represents fire departments across the U.S.

There is a preview showing of the documentary “Burn” at the Marcus Theaters on Thursday October 18, 2012 at 7 pm and at 9:30 pm.

There are a limited number of showings around the country in order to raise awareness and to help encourage public financial support for a full nationwide release of the film.

Here is a link to the film for more information:

BURN: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Orland Fire Protection District Open House draws crowd

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Orland Fire Protection District Open House draws crowd

This year's annual Orland Fire Protection District Open House drew a large crowd of residents who came to show support for the firefighters and observe staged scenarios in which firefighters battle garage, home and building fires.

The firefighters also showed visitors to the Orland Fire Protection District's Training Center at 10728 W. 163rd Place on Saturday October 6 how home sprinkler systems can protect a homeowners property.

Two separate "rooms" were set up to simulate a home front room. In one room, there was no sprinkler and in another, there was a ceiling sprinkler set off by heat (not smoke) from the fire.

The first room and all of its furnishings burned up almost completely in less than 2 minutes. The second room fire was put out in 30 seconds.

"Sprinklers save lives and property. You can see how fast a fire can spread through a home. The smoke detector will alert you to a fire but the sprinkler will help put the fire out almost immediately after it starts preserving most of your heirlooms and your personal property," OFPD Chief Ken Brucki said.

The fire in the above simulation home front room burned up in less than 2 minutes.

Nearly one-third of American residents are unprepared to escape a fire if one were to occur in their homes, a study commissioned by the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) concludes. Most Americans, according to the study, believe that 6 minutes is more than enough time for them to gather their family and flee a fire if it were to occur in their homes.

But that time period is higher than what officials believe is the safe time zone and would put many families in jeopardy in a life threatening fire, Brucki said.

To help raise awareness, the Orland Fire Protection District teamed up with NFPA to showcase the problem during National Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012. The OFPD and NFPA urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” which is the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week.

In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

“One structure fire in a home was reported every 85 seconds in 2010,” says Chief Ken Brucki of the Orland Fire District.

Fire fighters also demonstrated how they confront a garage fire in a vehicle, and also displayed fire equipment and trucks. The open house ran from 10 am until 1 pm. 

During the event, Brucki, Fire and Life Safety Educator Nancy Mulvihill and Fire Officials also recognized young students who participated in the district's annual coloring contest, presenting trophies to each winner. They included: Emma Kanagy, Kylie Egan, Megan Shirley (Preschool); Matthew St. John, Ilana St. Clair, and Sophia Bonaminio (Kindergarten); Yeledez G. Montes, Jeremiah Somerville, Elise Durkin (1st Grade); Laici Zakrajsek, Kristina Paskis, and Brian Harms (2nd Grade); Theo Bueno, Naya Vlahos, Michael Kryston (3rd Grade); Joshua Hamill, Jocelyn Graczyk, Arian Hazemi (4th Grade); Amy Muhs (5th Grade); Deirde Flanagan, Victoria Marshall, Delaine Mikesell (6th Grade), Grace Wanucha, Hannah Spirakis, Kristen Bonner (7th Grade); and, Alex Fegan, Nicole Yaylayan, Zack Marshall (8th Grade).

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and the Orland Fire Protection District, contact Mulvihill at 708-873-2742. To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit NFPA’s Web site at

(Photos courtesy Ray Hanania and Urban Strategies Group)


Newcastle townhome fire 10-07-12

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Newcastle townhome fire 10-07-12

The Orland Fire District responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a fire in a home on Greencastle Ln. shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday morning 10/07/2012. Initial companies arrived, reported heavy smoke in the area, and located the source to be a townhome on Greencastle Ln. 

Fire crews found fire in the walls on the first and second floors as well as in the attic. The fire was brought under control in about 25 minutes. All occupants of the townhome including the adjoining units were safely out of the building including their dog. Fire was contained in the walls and attic areas with smoke damage on all three floors. 

Orland Fire companies were able to handle the incident with a working fire response and called area departments to cover stations during the incident. Fire investigators were on scene for several hours and the cause remains under investigation. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Orland Fire District battles fire on Royal Fox Hunt Road

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The Orland Fire District responded to the report of a house fire on Royal Fox Hunt Rd. in early morning hours of Wednesday October 3rd

A 9-1-1 call was received at 04:46 reporting his neighbor’s home was on fire. An initial response of two engines, two trucks, one ambulance, and a chief were dispatched with the first companies arriving within 5 minutes. A working fire response was started by Battalion 1 while responding bringing an additional engine, ambulance, and chief officers. 

The neighbors had also alerted the homeowners of the fire and were able to exit on their own before arrival of the fire dept. Truck 1 arrived and reported fire showing from the side of the house involving the gas meter and from the roof. Firefighters extinguished the fire in the attic and searched the home to assure all occupants were out. Salvage operations done by initial crews protected the homes furnishings while the fire was extinguished and overhauled to find hidden fire. The natural gas fire at the meter continued to burn about an hour with extension controlled by firefighters with a hose line until the arrival of NICORP to stop the flow of gas.  

The fire was handled by Orland Fire companies with 24 firefighters and under control in about twenty five minutes. The homes occupants escaped without injury with fire damage limited to the attic. The origin of fire was outside while the cause is not suspicious or weather related it is still being investigated.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fire District supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Fire District supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Orland Fire Protection District will have firefighters wear special Breast Cancer Awareness shirts and pink EMS gloves during the month of October to support National Breast Cancer Awareness month, Chief Ken Brucki said.

The effort is to help raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies.

Brucki said that the district firefighters wanted to show support for the important cause of breast cancer awareness.

“It has touched so many lives in our community and we wanted to show our support in raising public awareness” Brucki said.

Brucki said the Breast Cancer Awareness shirts will include the Fire District logo and the recognizable ribbon of the Breast Cancer Awareness community.

October is traditionally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month nationally, but Brucki said the effort to fight breast cancer is an all year round, 24/7 objective.

Pictured from left: Lt. Scot Gorecki, Lt. Brian Martin, Eng. Ray Marquardt, Chief Ken Brucki, Eng. Dave Dutkiewicz, FF/Paramedic David Popp, FF/Paramedic Adrian Puente. Photo courtesy Orland Fire Protection District

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