By Bob Balgemann


Three Belvidere firefighters have been recognized for saving the life of a resident the afternoon of Aug. 28.

Lt. Dave Burdick and firefighters Ron Herman and Matt Loudenbeck were honored during the Oct. 24 committee of the whole meeting at city hall. Only Herman was able to attend.

Fire Chief Al Hyser recalled what happened that day.

Ladder 150, carrying the lieutenant and the two firefighters, was dispatched to a medical call in town. When they arrived, they found a woman who was not breathing and unresponsive.

They performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and soon were working side-by-side with personnel from Lifeline ambulance. The patient was taken to Swedish-American Hospital.

Chief Hyser said for the next month, no one at the fire department knew the outcome of those efforts. On Sept. 30, the same engine carrying the same firefighters was dispatched to another medical call at the same location they visited on Aug. 28.

The individual now is in hospice care, but the chief said there was a sense of closure in knowing the positive outcome of the first call. It also comforted the family to know they had the opportunity to spend more time with her.

“This is pretty important stuff that we do,” he said. “A lot don’t know what they go through.”

Fire Prevention month

Also Oct. 24, as Fire Prevention Month neared an end, Lt. Shawn Schadle told aldermen and Mayor Mike Chamberlain   what the Belvidere Fire Department did during that time.

There was an open house at Station No. I on State Street on Sunday, Oct. 9, which drew 1,200 to 1,400 visitors, he said. More than 1,200 ice cream cones were given out, with Dean Foods providing the ice cream with McDonald’s donating the cones.

One focus of the event was on replacing smoke detectors every 10 years and having one in every bedroom of a home. Lt. Schadle recalled a house fire in town in September when a man, asleep in the basement, was awakened by his smoke alarm and escaped the residence without harm.

Redemption Church supplied about 300 nine-volt batteries, which were handed out that day.

In addition, firefighters visited each of the elementary schools in Belvidere District 100 for the No Second Grader Left Behind program to teach second graders about fire safety.

Buying new pumper

Last on the fire department’s agenda for Oct. 24 was a report on the plan to purchase a new fire rescue pumper. Chief Hyser said he hoped to reappear before the committee in November with the recommendations of a recently appointed engine committee.

The department currently has two pumpers that are 15-years-old and 21-years-old. The 15-year-old equipment has needed more than $70,000 in repairs over the last five years, almost twice as much as the older engine. He added that it’s difficult to find parts for both pumpers.

“We’re doing the best we can to keep them running, but they’re getting to their end,” he said.



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