Our History


August 14, 1949

This evening, a meeting was held at the home Mr. and Mrs. Harold (Hal) Klotte by the residents of the Lemont Farms of McIntosh Subdivision in Northwest Homer Township, for the purpose of forming a homeowners' improvement association. Also in attendance with their spouses were Robert Murphy, Pat Driscoll, John Donnelly, Earl Olsen, Larry Pankow, Edward Linemann, Bruno Genge, R. E. Anderson, Edwin Weeks, William Svendsen, Richard Flyte, Charles MacKenzie, Orval Ward, and Mrs. Carolyn Kennedy. This subdivision, located between 139th Street and 143rd Street on Elm and Oak Streets, was one of the first subdivisions to develop in Homer Township. The residents, this evening, met with mutual interests in developing their subdivion, by providing recreational areas, and insuring public safety. An election of officers was held and Earl Olsen was elected president, Verna Anderson the secretary, and Robert Murphy was to be the treasurer. The Lemont Farms Improvement Association had begun.

October 1949

At the October meeting of the Lemont Farms Improvement Association, several topics were discussed. A bank account was set up and dues were collected from its members. Other methods of raising money for the organization were discussed. George Bump, the Homer Township road commissioner, was asked to install road signs in the area and Barney Welter, the township supervisor, deputized Bruno Genge as a safety officer.

November 1949

At the November 20, 1949 meeting, the topic of fire protection first came up. Earl Olsen volunteered to discuss fire protection with the Lockport Volunteer Fire Department and Hal Klotte was asked to find out about fire extinguishers and any other equipment that could be used to fight fires. The group was told Lockport would provide fire protection to the area for a fee of $50.00 per year, but told the group they could not guarantee a response by their personnel.


January 1950

At a special meeting of the Lemont Farms Improvement Association, Mr. Raymond O'Brien of Hazelcrest addressed the group about fire protection. He provided information on how to form a not-for-profit volunteer fire department as well as forming a fire protection district. The ladies of the group formed various fund raising committees and held a dance in March, a spaghetti dinner in April, and a bake and rummage sale in May. This group of woman would continue to provide income for the association and would later evolve into the Northwest Homer Ladies Auxiliary that would last well into the 1980s.

June 1950

Hal Klotte was elected Lemont Farms Improvement Association Fire Marshall and would begin looking for extinguisher bombs, garden hose and fire extinguishers. The Riverside Fire Department donated 6 OCD pump extinguishers. But the homeowners new they would eventually need some sort of fire truck to provide more adequate protection, so Hal Klotte and Lynn Campbell began searching for an affordable vehicle.

August 1950

On a hot and dry summer day, a barn and two other buildings in southern Homer Township were destroyed by fire. Volunteer departments from Lockport, Lemont and Orland Park were all unable to assist since they were out fighting their own fires.

April 1951

Representatives from the Bartlett Subdivision attended a Lemont Farms meeting to discuss purchasing tables and chairs together that could be used by both groups. Everyone agreed, and they also discussed other "joint purchases" that could be made by combining all the subdivisions' money together.

November 1951

After several months of unsuccessful shopping, Lynn Campbell received information that an old fire truck owned by a local fire department might be for sale. The fire truck, a 1927 Ahrens Fox, owned by the Merrionette Park Fire Department could be purchased for $750.00. Lemont Farms had only half that amount.

January 1952

On January 7, 1952, at a special meeting called with representatives from Lemont Farms, Bartlett, Reed, Springcreek, Creekwood, and Brookwood subdivisions, the decision to purchase the fire truck was approved. Each subdivions appointed an individual to organize a door-to-door campaign to solicit donations to purchase the truck. $1438.00 was collected from a list of donors who would become known as the "Honor Roll". Because Merrionette Park needed a down payment and a fire department checkbook had not yet been opened, the Lemont Farms group "loaned" the new fire department $250.00 for the truck, plus a $100.00 donation to start a building fund. Bartlett and Reed subdivions also provided $250.00 for the purchase.

February 1952

On February 5, 1952, John J. Loughlin filed not-for-profit papers with the Secretary of State's office forming the Northwest Homer Volunteer Fire Department. George Kiehl was elected the first president of the organization, John Loughlin as treasurer, and Lynn Campbell as secretary. Two days later, on February 7, 1952, the new department took delivery on its first piece of equipment, the 1927 Ahrens Fox Pumper.

March - May 1952

Applications were accepted for membership in the Northwest Homer Fire Department. Forty men initially signed up from all over Homer Township. None had any real firefighting experience. Being a businessman and familiar with legal charters, the group selected John J. Donelly to be the first fire chief. Along with John Loughlin, these two men would place the new organization on firm legal and financial ground. Ironically, both men would accept new jobs, resign, and move out of the area by the end of the year.

May 1952

After spending a few months at D & M Motors in Lemont for a needed tune-up, the new fire truck was taken first to Fasana's farm at 143rd and State St. and then to the garage behind Elm Grocery Store. However, as the wooded floor to the building began to give way, a garage was quickly built on the property of Larry and Jenny Pankow. This garage would serve as the first fire station for quite some time. At the May meeting of the fire department, the woman of the area made their important entry into the history of Northwest Homer when the fire department accepted their formation of the Northwest Homer Ladies Auxiliary.

June 1952

A fire station was needed. The grouped hoped to find a site in the area of the Lemont Farms Subdivision because the majority of the membership lived there. A perfect site was found that was owned by Carl H. Trapp. It was located just east of State Street on 143rd Street were the intersection of 143rd and West Street would be. You see, two more streets were to be added to Lemont Farms: east of Elm Street was to be East Street and west of Oak was to be West Street. The station would sit at this intersection and provide access from 139th Street all the way to 147th Street. East and West Streets were never completed. The price for the property was $600.00 and the new fire department was able to save this money. However, the purchase could not yet be made because it would cost another $500.00 to have the property surveyed. This is when the Ladies Auxiliary began raising money through fundraisers and quickly made up the addition $500.00, which the men reluctantly paid.

October 1952

John Donnelly resigns as fire chief. The group elects Earl Olsen to replace him.

November 1952

On November 10, 1952, Victor Hartz, building chairman, purchased the property for the station from Carl Trapp for $600.00. The site was 132 feet wide and 330 feet deep. Because winter was quickly approaching, the men had to build a chimney in the Pankow garage in order to keep the truck warm through the winter.

February 1953

Plans were received from the Joliet Blue Print and Supply Company to construct a building 36' by 43' for approximately $1900.00. It would have two overhead doors and a front service door.

April 1953

Spring rains came and the fire fighter found the entire site where their new station was to be built underwater. This problem would plague the organization for years. To correct the problem, a permit was obtained through the State of Illinois to construct a culvert under 143rd Street. This helped some, but flooding remained throughout the life of the station and, in fact, was made even worse in 1975 when 143rd Street was raised through resurfacing.

June 1953

Construction begins on the fire station. Many of the women would come to the site to haul water in old milk jugs or mix mortar while the men dug the footings and built the walls. For example, Mrs. Carrie Kennedy, after teaching her first grade class at Reed School, would ride her bicycle to the site to help carry bricks. Construction took the remainder of the year, but spirits were always high.

February 1954

The station was now weather tight and secure so on February 7, 1954, exactly two years to the day that the truck was first delivered, the proud fire fighters backed their fire truck into their own fire station. But the station was far from completed. It would not have water until 1956 a septic field until 1957, and a washroom completed until 1958. But now, with the department's name running across the front of the station, the real identity of the organization was established. At the February department meeting, the organization held its first discussion on forming a fire protection district. A trustee from the Tri-State Fire Protection District came to the meeting and held a discussion on what would have to be done to form a fire district. He suggested the group contact an attorney from Hinsdale by the name of Richard Rugen who was representing several fire districts and would be able to lend valuable assistance. Richard Rugen would remain the fire district attorney for the next fifteen years.

March 1954

The first homes were completed in a new subdivision called Brunning Foray Subdivision (Lockport Heights). This subdivision would ultimately supply more manpower to the fire department than any other subdivions within the district.

June 1954

The department has ordered a new fire truck to be built by Lubic's Welding and Fabrication in Lockport. It was a 1954 Ford F600 chassis and would have a front mounted pump purchased directly from Darley Pump Company. The total price of the pumper was $3,425.00. A committee was formed to locate three individuals from the area to serve as fire district trustees. It is hoped that one person from the west, central, and east ends of the service area could be found.

July 1954

The residents living in northwest homer township vote to form a fire protection district. The vote is 106 yes, and 18 no. On advice from the volunteer fire department, Will County Judge S. Cowing appoints Lewis Worst, Louis "Bud" Henson and Charles Snyder as the first trustees. Lewis Worst was 53 years old at the time and a drafting teacher at Tilden High School. He was appointed president and served a two-year term. He lived in Brunning Subdivision. Bud Henson, 45 years old and a supervisor for Manilow Construction Company, was appointed secretary-treasurer for a three-year term. Bud Henson was one of the original Lemont Farms members and was also functioning as an active member on the fire department. Charles Snyder was from Springcreek. He was 43 years old and the vice president and plant manager of Chicago Block Company. He was appointed vice president of the fire district for an initial on-year term. The boundaries for the fire district have changed many times over the years. But in order to secure a taxing status, original boundaries had to be established. It included Sections 3,4,5,6 and the northern half of Sections 7,8,9 all in Homer Township; Section 1 of Lockport Township (Smith Road to High Road, 143rd St. to 135th St, including Big Run Golf Course); the south half of Sections 33,34,35 and a portion of the south half of Section 36 all in Lemont Township (south side along 131st St from Archer Avenue to Parker Road). Residents from Section 1 of Lockport Township immediately filed an objection because they were already receiving fire protection from the Lockport Fire Protection District and Judge Cowing honored the objection so Section 1 remained in Lockport. With attorney Rugen's help, the trustees set their first tax levies. They would receive $ 1500.00 for 1954 and levied a tax of $3,000.00 for 1955.

October 1954

Took delivery on the new 1954 Ford Pumper.

March 1955

In order to add some needed cash to the fire department's budget, the 1927 Ahrens Fox Pumper was scrapped and sold with only a few components being saved. Earl Olsen resigns as Fire Chief. Larry Pankow is elected the new Fire Chief.

August 1955

On August 4, 1955, residents from the north half of Section 10 in Homer Township voted to annex into the Fire District. On August 31, 1955, residents living along 131st Street between Walnut St. and Parker Rd, voted to annex out of Northwest Homer and into the Lemont Fire Protection District.

June 1957

After several unsuccessful attempts at getting a siren at the station that was strong enough to alert the entire district, a Federal Siren donated from the Lemont Fire Department that required a three-phase wiring, was finally installed. The siren was activated at the station and was used, along with a telephone calling system, to alert the firemen.

May 1959

Through the remaining years of the 1950s', the fire department was being called more often to assist with medical emergencies. It was the policy at the time to send one of the fire trucks to the scene, and have Lockport send their ambulance. More emergency medical services were needed. In May of 1959, the E J & E Railroad donate an inhalator to the department, the first move toward EMS had arrived.

December 1959

Monthly call stats for the department showed a steep incline in December: the department ran 16 fire calls and 1 inhalator call to close the 1950s.


January 1960

Took delivery of a new front line pumper (#2). It was a Ford C950 purchased through the Martin Sassen Fire Equipment Company from Alexis Fire Equipment. It's cost, $19,333.95. The District bought the vehicle on a "payment plan". This gave the department 2 front line pumpers.

August 1960

Joined the Des Plains Valley Firemen's' Association. Now, mutual aid agreements with other departments could be entered into as well as sharing training resources and materials.

October 1960

After several unsuccessful rescue attempts, the department felt it was time to purchase an ambulance. After meeting with the district trustees, a 1953 Cadillac Ambulance was bought for $550.00. The cost was split between the district, the volunteer department, and the ladies auxiliary.

December 1960

A foundation for a two-bay addition is poured on the west side of the station. This is made possible when Public Service (electric company) donated an acre of easement next to the track where they were constructing high-tension wires.

January 1961

Moved the "fire phone" from Earl Olsen's home to Norm's Texaco Station in Lockport who would initiate the "phone tree" when an emergency call came in.

August 1961

A second emergency phone is added at Al Costen's home.

June 1962

The first movement of District Trustees takes place: Charles Snyder became president, Bud Hensen became vice president and Lewis Worst became the secretary-treasurer.

July 1962

A referendum to raise taxes by 0.25% of cash value is defeated, 141 to 67. The additional 2 bays on the station are completed. Next, work begins on removing the front service door and replacing it with another overhead door, making the station 5 bays wide. The door is relocated on the east side.

August 1962

Third emergency phone is placed in Chief Pankow's home.

September 1962

On September 15th, voters from Section 12 in Homer Township vote to not annex into the Homer Fire Protection District. The voters wish to be included in an annexation vote with Sections 1 and 2 of Homer Township that is scheduled next spring.

November 1962

Purchased a 1950 Available Tank Truck for $1200.00.

December 1962

Purchase a 1951 Willys Jeep for $250.00.

April 1963

Trustee Charles Snyder resigns due to health reasons. Lewis Worst, whose term expires on May 1st, also resigns. George Kiehl is appointed by Judge Cowing to replace Charles Snyder. After Hugh Finnan declines a trustee appointment, Mario Carli is appointed to a 3-year term replacing Lewis Worst.

May 1963

Sections 1, 2, and 12 of Homer Township vote to annex into Northwest Homer Fire Protection District. The vote was 16 "yes" and 8 "no".

December 1963

Motorola Mobile radios are purchased for all 5 vehicles for $3,777.00.

June 1964

Purchased second tanker; a 1964 Chevrolet Tank truck for $3,415.00.

April 1963

Trustee Charles Snyder resigns due to health reasons. Lewis Worst, whose term expires on May 1st, also resigns. George Kiehl is appointed by Judge Cowing to replace Charles Snyder. After Hugh Finnan declines a trustee appointment, Mario Carli is appointed to a 3-year term replacing Lewis Worst.

May 1963

Sections 1, 2, and 12 of Homer Township vote to annex into Northwest Homer Fire Protection District. The vote was 16 "yes" and 8 "no".

December 1963

Motorola Mobile radios are purchased for all 5 vehicles for $3,777.00.

June 1964

Purchased second tanker; a 1964 Chevrolet Tank truck for $3,415.00.

April 1966

Replaced Cadillac Ambulance with a new 1966 International Harvester Ambulance. Several department members enroll in various first aid and inhalator classes. Trustee George Kiehl resigns due to a health condition. Herbert Maln is given the appointment to continue his term.

May 1967

Louis Henson declines a reappointment as trustee. Against the advice of Attorney Richard Rugen, the department attains the appointment of Chief Larry Pankow as a district trustee for a 3-year term.

June 1967

The department and district are considering additions to the station. However, rumors were being received from Springfield that either an airport or a "super-highway" might be built in the immediate area of 143rd and State St. Therefore, the department began looking for a site for a second station, either east on 143rd Street, or, since so many department members now resided in Lockport Heights Subdivision, a site at 147th Place and Rickerman Road was considered. No decision was made.

March 1969

March 1, 1969 an election was held to raise taxes from 1 to 2 mill; the vote was 227 "yes" and 68 "no". Desiring to have an attorney that lived more closely to the area, the district fires Richard Rugen after 15 years and hires B. Weirtle as counsel.

April 1969

The Northwest Homer Volunteer Fire Department sells the station to the Northwest Homer Fire Protection District for $1.00.

May 1969

Chief Larry Pankow, who also serves as Fire Chief at Stateville Penitentiary, suffers a heart attach during a fire at the prison and passes away. Chief Pankow, in addition to dating back to one of the original leaders in the Lemont Farms Improvement Association, served a total of 14 years as fire chief, the longest of any volunteer chief. John Heurung receives the duel appointment as Fire Chief and as a district trustee to complete Larry Pankow's appointment.


January 1970

Plans are made to add two additional bays to the rear of the station. The 32' X 60'addition will cost between $10,000.00 and $12,000.00. This was much more than the district could afford. Therefore, a decision is made to erect an addition of 20' X 30' with both the fire department and fire district supplying equal amounts of money to the project.

May 1970

John Heurung completes the three-year term as trustee formerly held by Larry Pankow and is replaced as trustee by Ralph Carter.

June 1970

Work begins on the station addition.

July 1970

John Heurung resigns as Fire Chief. The department elects Morris Gardner as his replacement.

May 1971

Experiencing major engine repairs to both tankers, the district purchases a 1965 Ford chassis and fitted it with the 2000 gallon tank from the old Available Tank truck.

October 1971

On October 10, 1971, a flag memorial service held dedicated to fallen chief Larry Pankow. Thos in attendance shared memories and stories of Chief Pankow who devoted so much to the founding and growth of the organization. The memorial was latter moved and sits in front of the new Station 1.

November 1971

Paid Bessie Sassen from Martin Sassen Fire Fighting Equipment the final payment on the 1959 Ford Pumper.

March 1972

The district took aerial photographs of the district at a cost of $18.00 per photo. The district trustees began to take a look at the potential areas of growth as well as locations to build future stations. The trustees concluded that the eastern area of the district would probably see the greatest growth so they set forth a plan to attract new members from this area as building began.

April 1972

The district buys Chief Gardner the first portable radio. Chief Gardner appoints John Heurung and Don Alyea to re-organize the entire training program.

May 1972

The department joins the Greater Chicago Safety Council who would help furnish new training films.

June 1972

Chief Morris Gardner implements a Box Card system that organizes the response of both Northwest Homer equipment and mutual aid equipment.

August 1972

Took bids for a new fire engine from US Firemen's Equipment, Able Fire and Safety, WS Darley, and Alexis Fire Equipment.

September 1972

The District Trustees decide to send 10 men to trauma school at Joliet Junior College at a cost of $660.00. The trustees feel a need to shift the priority to emergency medical services since saving lives comes first, while saving property comes second.

November 1972

The Northwest Homer Ladies Auxiliary is disbanded after giving 20 years of service. They donate the remaining $900.00 to the volunteers.

February 1973

Sold old tanker to TyWalk Liquid for $800.00.

March 1973

Lockport heights Homeowners Association donates $1,300.00 to purchase 2 portable radios for the two assistant chiefs.

April 1973

District order a new Ford 900 Pumper from Alexis Fire Equipment.

June 1973

A telephone is installed in the station (838-3465).

May 1974

Morris Gardner resigns as fire chief. Assistant Chief Jim Kane is elected as the department's sixth fire chief.

February 1975

The District purchases a new Dodge walk through ambulance built on a Dodge camper chassis. Because the new ambulance with its light bar could not fit through any of the overhead doors, the rear door on the new addition is enlarged. In addition, a gravel driveway must be put in since the ambulance will need to exit the station out the rear.

September 1975

For the first time, the district sends five department members to St. Joseph's Hospital to train as Paramedics.

November 1975

Trustee Herbert Maln resigns as trustee. The remaining two trustees, Ralph Carter and Mario Carter, search the far eastern end of the district for a possible replacement. Walter Thompson and Fred Butalla are both interviewed and it is Fred Butalla that receives the appointment.

February 1976

Four paramedic students pass the Illinois State Paramedic test. They now would have to participate in on-the-job qualifying emergency calls. Because these students are forced to go to other certified fire departments to obtain these runs, only one member, Captain Leon Casey, can become fully certified. Due to a lack of manpower, the department is unable to initiate an advance life support program at this time.

April 1976

A tax increase is approved by voters raising the tax rate from 2 to 3 mill. A change in law has the trustees now be appointed by the County Board instead of a Circuit Judge.

June 1976

A committee is formed to plan a 25-year anniversary celebration for the department's upcoming year. A new radio/paging system is purchased to alert the fire fighters of emergency calls. It consists of a base transmitter, six base transmitters, and 25 pagers. One of the transmitters is installed at the station. The other five are placed in the homes of five dispatchers who are hired by the district to receive emergency calls and dispatch the men. The original five dispatchers are, Lorry Richards, Ruth Fox, Becky Malak, Pat Casey, and Ann Kunz. The cost of the system is $22,413.65.

November 1976

Purchase new tanker, a 1976 Chevrolet Tanker for $34,700.00.

July 1977

The 25-year jubilee is held at the fire station commemorating the first 25 years of the fire department. A small carnival is set up behind the station, and there are clowns, horse rides, food and plenty of fun for all. A packed crowd is in attendance as the community comes out to show their support for the fire department.

December 1977

On December 3, 1977 the voters passed a building bond referendum for $755,000.00 by a vote of 306 "yes" and 70 "no". Two parcels of land are purchased from Barney Welter, one on 143rd St. near Archer Avenue and the other on 143rd St. near Bell Road. These will be the sites of two new fire stations to be built the following year.

February 1978

The District begins the bid process for a general contractor to build the two new stations.

June 1978

The District hires George Plant to do all Maintenance on department vehicles. The District hires Betty (Olisar) Carli as District Secretary for a 3-month trial. The department receives the plans for Gooding's Grove School, which is to be built next to the new Station 2.

July 1978

The District switches all insurance coverage to Volunteer Firemen's Insurance Services. Gordon Veerman, Fire Chief for Argonne National Laboratory, is hired as a fire service instructor. He begins teaching basic fire fighting skills and theory of fire suppression. Tri-Gen Builders is awarded the general contract for the new fire stations. The buildings, designed by James Clarege, will be built at each end of the district thus providing a rapid response and full coverage. As the District Trustees and Chief Jim Kane "break the ground", construction quickly follows.

August 1978

Northwest Homer hosts its own EMT-A class. The class, taught by Michael Gruberman and John Sullivan from the Park Forest South Fire Department, certifies 15 members as EMT-As.

February 1979

After considerable discussion between the Fire Protection District and the Volunteer Fire Department, it is agreed that it is the responsibility of the District Trustees to hire, or appoint, the fire chief. So for the first time, the Trustees officially appoint Jim Kane as Fire Chief. Chief Kane in turn appoints his officers; Ray Richards and Bob Kolmodin, Assistant Chiefs; Tom Bruecks and Jack Counter, Captains; Rick Diemer, Don Kendall and Rick Guzan as Lieutenants.

March 1979

Father Thomas Schutter, Pastor at Saint Bernard's Parish, joins the organization as its first chaplain. The Northwest Homer Ladies Auxiliary reforms and begins holding fundraiser to purchase furniture and supplies for the stations.

May 1979

As the new stations begin to enter their final completion, the district begins discussing upgrading the communications system and possibly contracting a third party to handle the emergency phones and dispatching of personnel.

June 1979

When the stations open, the trustees would like to hire someone from the department to reside at Station 1 and possible work as a custodian or maintenance man. They hire Dwayne Eriksen to serve as "Charge-of-Quarters".

August 1979

The department completes its move into the new stations. The last picnic is held at the old station before it is sold to William Carli for $75,000.00. Chief Jim Kane appoints two additional officers; John Cwikla, Lieutenant and Jim Ferry, Lieutenant and Medical Officer.

September 1979

September 15, 1979 was dedication day. Flag raising ceremonies were held at both stations with an open house to the public. Hundreds of Homer Township residents participated in the daylong event.

December 1979

District moves all dispatching to the Desplains Valley Communication Center in New Lenox. In previous years, the volunteer fire fighters would have a Christmas party for its members. But this year, the money in the treasury was nowhere to be found. As an appreciation for all the work the members did in completing the move into the new stations, the District Trustees provided the funds to have the party. The following year, this party was renamed the Annual Awards Banquet.


January 1980

Chief Jim Kane appoints Tom Bruecks as Deputy Chief and Jim Ferry as Assistant Chief. Chief Bruecks will function as the officer in charge of the fire department and Chief Ferry will be in charge of the emergency medical services. Chief Bruecks first concentrates on upgrading the fire fighting equipment, including the purchasing of 2 new pumpers, and Chief Ferry begins work on establishing an advance life support program.

The district purchases a 1978 Ford Van for $1,000.00 that has had a severe engine compartment fire. A committee is formed, led by Chief Bruecks, to restore the vehicle to a combination rescue vehicle and light plant. Several members actively participate in completing the project.

March 1980

A new Horton ambulance is purchased constructed to be used as an advance life support ambulance.

May 1980

Assistant Chief Ferry meets with the President of the Fire District, Ralph Carter, and discusses the financial impact of supporting a paramedic ambulance service. Both men agree that in order to purchase the necessary equipment and train enough men to the paramedic level, an ambulance district would have to be formed.

Deputy Chief Bruecks, and a committee of fire fighters and trustees, place an order for two new 1881 Pierce Arrow Engines. To finance this purchase, the district borrows $190,000.00 for a three-year term from the Orland State Bank.

June 1980

The district trustees first discuss a need for a garage to store lawn equipment and other supplies, with a possible second floor to be used for training.

September 1980

The district passes an Ambulance District referendum by a vote of 186 to 24.

October 1980

The district purchases the telemetry radio and defibrillator/monitor needed to function as an advance life support unit. The total cost of these items along with the rest of the needed equipment was $26,500.00.

The district holds its first discussion on developing a timetable for the hiring of full time personnel. Ken Vrba, whom is also a paramedic student, is hired for building maintenance.

January 1981

Lemont fire fighter Rich Stech replaces George Plant as vehicle mechanic.

February 1981

Took delivery on two Pierce Arrow Engines. One was assigned to each station.

June 1981

In June of 1981, the district had three certified paramedics; Chief Ferry, Dwayne Eriksen, and Vicky Fron with Ken Vrba in training. Due to regular work schedules, this group could not provide 24-hour coverage to run an advance life support unit. It appeared the paramedic program would fail for the second time. Assistant Chief Ferry negotiated with the Illinois Department of Public Health on two issues to get the program started. First, he felt the members of the department whom completed paramedic training in 1976 should have been given an extension on their provisional status in order to obtain the proper on-the-job training. Only Tom Bruecks remained from that original group of paramedic students. The State agency accepted the appeal and Chief Bruecks became certified giving the department four certified paramedics. Next, Chief Ferry convinced the IDPH that a conditional, non-twenty four-hour service should be allowed at Northwest Homer if the citizens of the district agreed. A newsletter was sent out to all homeowners explaining the plan and there was overwhelming acceptance. For a one-year period, the part-time paramedic service was to run from 12:00 AM to 6:00AM and whenever a paramedic was available. Within 6 months, the program was expanded to 24 hours a day, every day; the paramedic program had arrived to the department.

The trustees first review and outline presented to the board creating a point system that would provide some small reimbursement for car and clothing to the volunteer members.

August 1981

Assistant Chief Ferry develops a line-item budget format to be used for future financial record keeping. In it is included a “Chief’s Budget” which allocates money into an operations fund, thereby eliminating the need for the chief to get day-to-day approval of operating expenditures.

Deputy Chief Tom Bruecks, Assistant Chief Jim Ferry, and fire fighter Jim Diemer successfully challenge the State of Illinois Fire Fighter II exam becoming the first Certified Fire Fighters.

August 29,1981 paramedic Jim Ferry and EMTs Paul Kromray and Dave Langheld make the first advance life support ambulance run to a cardiac patient in Springcreek Subdivision.

September 1981

Jim Kane resigns as Fire Chief. The Board of Trustees appoints Tomas Bruecks as the seventh Northwest Homer Fire Chief.

December 1981

The State Fire Marshall’s Office awards Northwest Homer unconditional facility approval that allows Northwest Homer to participate in the various State’s certified training programs. Chief Tom Bruecks appoints Deputy Chief Jim Ferry as Training Officer for all levels of fire fighting and EMS training and Captain Rick Guzan as Assistant Chief.

May 1982

Ordered second set of advanced life support equipment to place two units in service.

September 1982

Deputy Chief Jim Ferry passes the Illinois Certified Fire Fighter III exam. Since he is also a Certified Fire Instructor II, Northwest Homer now meets the instructor qualifying standards and is able to conduct a certified fire fighter training program at all State levels. During the next several years, 95% of all members complete the Certified Fire Fighter II program and 75% complete the Advanced Fire Fighter III training.

December 1982

Began plans for addition to fire station 1. The addition will be a two-story addition with a storage space on the lower level and a training room on the upper floor.

February 1983

Initial plans are begun for an addition to station 2, which would include a kitchen, lounge, dormitories and training room.

March 1983

Sold 1959 Ford Pumper to M & C Auto for $2500.00.

May 1983

The trustees form a committee to begin looking into hiring full-time personnel. The committee, made up of trustees, officers, and fire fighters, agree that the first position to hire would be that of a full-time fire chief. Second, to assure a paramedic is available during the daytime, a full-time fire fighter/paramedic would be hired next.

Purchased a 1983 station wagon.

May – July 1983

Contractor Pasch & Sons completes the addition to station 1. The first floor is used to house garden equipment and other supplies while the second floor is converted into the District Trustees Office.

June 1983

On June 15, 1983 the District hires Thomas Bruecks as the first full-time paid Fire Chief.

July 1983

On July 15, 1983 the District hired Kenneth Vrba as the first full-time paid fire fighter/paramedic.

Took delivery on a second Horton ALS Ambulance costing $47,053.00.

September 1983

The district purchased the first computers for the department; two Kapro Ten portable units.

November 1983

Captain John Cwikla led a committee to purchase and install a breathing air compressor and cascade unit in the new addition at station one. The department could now fill all their own breathing air bottles.

January 1984

January 1, 1984 the District Trustees implement a point system to reimburse car and clothing expenses to the fire fighters. The system is base on levels of training and participation.

March 1984

The district purchases dual-tone pagers to alert fire fighters and officers separately.

May 1984

The District passes a budget of $327,100.00.

June 1984

The department begins utilizing a computerized accounting, purchase order, and inventory system.

October 1984

Northwest Homer Fire Protection District is awarded an ISO rating of 7 lowering the insurance rate from a rural classification.

December 1984

The department takes delivery on a 1985 Ford Pickup truck with snowplow.

January 1985

Took delivery on 1984 Pierce Dash Tanker for $115,917.00.

March 1986

The district receives a $275,000.00 loan from the Orland State Bank to begin work on the first addition to Station 2.

May 1986

Construction begins on first addition to Station 2.

May 1987

The district hires Thomas Botka as a second full-time paid fire fighter/paramedic.

June 1987

Addition to Station 2 completed.

October 1987

The District Trustees are first contacted by the Illinois Department of Transportation over Highway 451 (Interstate 355). IDOT informs the trustees that the highway will past just to the east of Station 1. The District informs IDOT they will oppose this location.

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