Photos by Eric Haak of the 3-Alarm fire in Bellwood, IL – December 8, 2019
Commercial fire at 6411 28th Avenue in Kenosha, WI Friday morning (8/14/15).
November 12, 2013 at 04:00 hours, Adams County Pennsylvania Box alarm 9-2 was alerted for the commercial building fire at the Latimore Township Maintenance Building for a building fire, with multiple calls reporting fire through the roof.
York Springs Fire Department arrived to find a one-story, 60 x 100 metal building with heavy smoke and fire showing from the Charlie side of the building, a working fire dispatch was requested. Companies began opening up and found heavy fire on the Charlie said of the building on the inside, mostly up high on the wall. Several township vehicles used for maintenance, especially snow removal were stored in this building. Several of them sustained damage. The fire was placed under control within about 30 minutes, extensive overhaul was needed. The fire marshal’s office is investigating, early indications are leading to a kerosene heater as the origin of the fire, the investigation continues. Volunteer companies from three counties, (Adams, York and Cumberland) battled the early morning blaze.
Images from Eric Haak of another huge fire in Chicago that occurred September 24, 2007.
At about 1630hrs on September 24th, 2007, companies in the 23rd Battalion on Chicago’s southeast side responded to 91st and South Commercial Avenue for the report of a structure fire. First companies reported smoke from the roof of a 125 x 100 truss roof commercial clothing store. The store was open at the time, but all patrons were able to self evacuate without any issues.
The fire was started by roofers. The building was an oddly built structure as it was one story in sector 1 but dropped below ground level in sector 3 for a height of about 3 stories. I remember that this fire spread quickly and that Battalion 23 ordered a frantic emergency evacuation from the roof just before I got on scene. This fire featured one of my favorite rig shots I’ve ever captured as Engine 81 was parked right on the corner and had their deck gun working a heavily involved storefront.
Eventually the roof did collapse and part of the wall in sector 1 fell into the street. The second photo shows then Commissioner Raymond Orozco at the command post. He is also seen descending Tower Ladder 37 after getting an aerial vantage point of the incident’s progress.
Tower Ladder 37, Engine 72 and Squad 5a were set up in sector 2. Engine 81 and Tower Ladder 34 were set up in the intersection at the sector 1/2 corner. Truck 49 worked a line from their area further north on Commercial in Sector 1, and Engine 46 worked their deck gun slightly north of that position in sector 1. Engine 47 worked their deck gun from the alley off the sector 3/4 corner.
Chicago area fire photographer Erick Haak submitted the following account of his beginning as a fire photographer.
In honor of the opening of this great endeavor, I thought I would share some of my first pictures and a short tale about how I became interested in fire photography.
In the winter of 2006, I had become bored with my usual routine and decided that I wanted to do something different. As a middle school teacher, I occasionally found myself with a lot of time on my hands. So that December, I decided I would take my interest in photography and begin doing a photo study about all of the fire stations in the city of Chicago. I had no clue what I was doing. I knew nothing about the fire department and had to look up each house on a map and do a few a day. I was the kind of person who would have easily called an engine a “fire truck”. I didn’t own a scanner and didn’t know much about the north side of the city.
On the day after Christmas, I headed out to add a few houses to the ones I had already shot earlier that month. I had six stations that I was going to make it to that day, and Engine 14 was the last on my list. I arrived at their quarters just after noon and as I began to snap off a few photos, the doors opened up and the lights of Engine 14 and Truck 19 went on. At the time I didn’t know that companies routinely went on ambulance assists and box checks and the rest of the daily grind. I thought immediately that they must be going to a fire!
I ran to my car and began heading down Chicago Avenue. I could see the lights up ahead in the distance but they had gained a lot on me and I was hoping I wouldn’t lose them. I had no idea where they were going. As I sat through a few red lights I realized that they had stopped a few blocks ahead. At first, I wasn’t sure if there was a fire as the smoke conditions in the front of the building weren’t much. The second photo of Truck 19 raising their aerial is what I saw as I approached and you can see there was a little smoke showing from the front door of a pizza place.
I ran around the back to the alley and found that the seat of the fire was in the kitchen. There was a wood frame addition in the rear of the 2-story ordinary which housed supplies and the fire was quickly spreading to this addition. The cook of the restaurant hesitated calling the fire department when he had tried to contain a flash over on his own.
The fire would eventually be boxed and the rest of the story you can see in the pictures. The fire consumed the back portion and pushed through the roof. Eventually companies took position next door to get a better vantage point. The 12th battalion chief can be seen in the last photo checking on conditions as these companies hit the fire from above. I think I went out and bought a scanner the next day. I had no idea how hard it would be to get in this position again! Being on scene as the first due companies are stretching can be a tough task and I have been pursuing that scenario ever since.