I was a member of the North Palos Fire Department back in the early 70's. fresh out of the Navy, serving a tour in Vietnam Nam, I was looking to get involved in community service. I was there when the new house was built and all kinds of new equipment was delivered. That was when we had a new mini pumper that went on all the calls with the ambulance. I would have loved to have gone full time but I couldn't afford to take the pay cut at the time. Chief Roe was the leader. Lots of memories. The first female was a major adjustment at the time. Need to stop by for a visit on the next open house. I remember the mayor donating a new ambulance to the department because he was impressed with our paramedic open house. Lots of memories that will last forever. P.S. that's when we rode on the rear of the fire trucks, putting your bunker on while going down the road.
Signed on July 31, 2016 at 10:05 PM
dept of defense schools
In 1972 North Palos FD came to my family home where my father suffered a fatal heart attack. CHARLIE FERGUSON A FAMILY FRIEND , And the McLean family were all our friends since we lived in Palos since 1950,s. MY MOTHER WHO PASSED AWAY IN NEVADA IN 2014 ALWAYS TOLD PEOPLE ABOUT THE GREAT North Palos FD. From the days of the old firehouse by Boreamas grocery store and all the volunteers who made Palis Hills a safer place NPFD has a very long history of excellence. I work in Okinawa Japan but my brother Bill is in Palos fixing up the house. IF YOU NEED A VOLUNTEER HE IS GREAT WITH COMPUTERS
please invite him to visit ..and have a coffee at the firehouse. firstname.lastname@example.org sincerely Linda Wilhelm, kubasaki H,S. DODDS, OKINAWA
Signed on April 22, 2016 at 1:01 AM
Judy Carlson Southerland
A bit more history from the Tribune:
For Firefighter, Serving In District A Family Tradition
June 10, 1992|By Jim Sulski.
The two most influential people in Russ Carlson`s life were his father and his grandfather.
Carlson`s late father, Harold, was chief of the North Palos Fire Protection District. His late maternal grandfather, Robert Hoff, was a longtime Palos-area mechanic.
Carlson, 50, is a captain in the fire district and also the district`s mechanic.
``Both jobs are truly in my blood,`` says Carlson, sitting in the station at 10629 Roberts Rd. in Palos Hills.
As the mechanic, he is responsible for cleaning, repairing and maintaining the equipment, including the large trucks and the portable water pumping packs the firefighters haul around.
His firefighting duties are responding to calls, clearing accident scenes, and teaching public safety.
``It often happens that I`m under a truck covered in grease and the alarm rings,`` he says. ``Still, I have to go.``
Carlson has another family link to the district: His mother, Kay, and sister, Judy, were volunteer radio operators for the district several decades ago.
``His family literally ran the Fire Department back in the old days,``
says Chief John Roe, who replaced Carlson`s father when he retired in 1969.
``The calls to the Fire Department were run into his home before we had a manned fire station in town.``
Carlson`s son, Russell ``Rocky,`` represents the third generation in the department. Rocky Carlson has been a full-time paid firefighter since 1984 and was a volunteer for two years before that.
``I`m very proud of my son, because when he was young, he told me that he would never be a fireman,`` Carlson says. ``He didn`t like the idea that I was always running out of the house in the middle of the night. But I guess the idea of being a firefighter in a small community grew on him.``
``I don`t believe there are too many families with our sort of history,`` the younger Carlson says. ``I guess we have a lot of ties to the district.``
Rocky Carlson says he volunteered at his father`s urging and found that he loved the job of firefighting.
Russell Carlson`s work for the district goes back to 1954, when he was 12.
``We had the phone in our house with which our family answered the local fire calls for my dad,`` he recalls. ``And I used to man the district`s two-way radio when my father and the firefighters went out on a call. I would call them at the scene of the fire and see if they needed any additional equipment or help. I would also record the calls.``
At the same time, Carlson was spending his weekends working on his grandfather`s dump truck. ``I loved to tinker with that old truck,`` he says. ``I really found mechanics enjoyable.``
His volunteer radio work continued until he was 18, when he became a volunteer firefighter. He also took a job as a mechanic at a local car dealer and later at a school bus company.
In 1977, he was made a full-time paid firefighter and district mechanic.
(The district was a mostly volunteer department until 1974.)
Some of Carlson`s experiences over the years have been unforgettable. His most vivid memory is of the killer tornado that slammed into the southwest suburbs on a warm, late afternoon in April 1967.
``I had just gotten home from my job as a mechanic when it hit,`` he recalls. ``The tornado just missed our home in Palos Hills. Right after that, the sirens went off, and I had to get to the (station).``
He couldn`t believe the destruction he saw while riding on the firetruck. ``The worst place the tornado hit was near 103rd Street and 81st Avenue. That area was obliterated.``
Carlson says he spent that day on rescue operations. ``There were no fires, but we helped so many people`` who had minor injuries, he says. ``We drove around just making sure that other people were all right.``
He also spent the next several days working on the firetruck, running a generator to provide power to public buildings and hospitals in blacked-out Oak Lawn, which was hardest hit.
The worst fire, he remembers, was a blaze that burned for three days in the late 1970s at an oil refinery in Lemont.
``That one was a little scary because of its intensity,`` Carlson says.
``I remember when we arrived out there, we saw this large, metal circular object lying in the middle of the road. At first, we couldn`t figure out what it was. But we later discovered that it was the top of an oil storage tank that had been blown off and flew 300 to 400 feet out of the plant.``
Firefighters from the district routinely are called out of the area, Roe says. In addition to covering Palos Hills and a section of Hickory Hills, the district assists firefighters in Worth, Bridgeview and parts of Justice and Hickory Hills. If needed, it will assist firefighters in communities as far away as Romeoville and Lemont.
The district has 20 full-time firefighters, 11 of whom also are paramedics, and 38 volunteers, 20 of whom are emergency medical technicians. The volunteers are paid a small fee when they are called to a fire or accident.
A new three-bay station is under construction at 9000 W. 95th St. and is expected to open this summer, Roe says, The station is in response to the influx of new homes in the area.
The district receives 150 to 180 calls a week, Roe says, which is average for a district its size. The district covers nine square miles.
The most common calls are emergency medical calls, he says. ``We have two full paramedic units on duty that handle everything from street accidents to heart attacks to suicide attempts.``
Kitchen-stove fires are the most common fire call, he adds, and car fires also are common. ``We`ve been lucky in recent years. The last fire-related death we had in the district was about eight or nine years ago when two people died in an apartment fire.``
The department also conducts a number of safety programs, including classes on cardiopulmonary resuscitation, baby-sitting safety and first aid. A Child Safety City, held May through August at the Roberts Road station for children 5 through 8, covers topics such as fire, traffic, water and animal safety in addition to drug-abuse prevention.
Roe praises Carlson`s dedication. ``Not only does he take excellent care of our equipment, but he is one of the most dedicated firefighters I have ever known. I truly believe that`s because firefighting is in his blood. He cares about the people who live in this district.``
``I probably would have been interested in volunteering with the fire district even if my dad was not involved,`` Carlson says. ``This was a very small community (when he first volunteered), and people needed each other`s help.``
Carlson works 40 hours during the week and is on call during weekends.
``If something big goes down, I`m there. And I`m also around in case there`s a problem with the equipment. I want to be there to help out if I can.`
Signed on April 21, 2016 at 12:42 AM
Judy Carlson Southerland
It is an honor to sign this guest book. My mom and dad, Kay Carlson and Chief Hal Carlson moved to Palos Hills, (then North Palos) in the early 1940's. My dad was one of the first fire fighters for North Palos. At that time the Fire House was across the street from Station 1's location. It was next to Boerema's Grocery Store owned by George Boerema. His brother Bud Boerema lived above the fire house. They used the lower portion of the two story building for the fire house. I was born in 1946 and from what I remember being told that was the year the department was started, however thru the years I was told it started in 1947 and the first fire truck that was purchased was a 1946. During the early years before the fire station and formation of the fire department there were tire rims hung on poles along with a tire iron, now you are wondering why..... back then when there was a fire or an emergency people would run to the pole and clang on the tire rim to bring attention to the emergency. We've come a long way since then. They used that system until they formed the department and got their first truck. As they department started to grow they used a siren to notify firemen there was an emergency. At that time it was an all volunteer fire department. My dad was not the first fire Chief, I believe he was the third. There was Chief Morgan, Chief Lang and then my dad Chief Carlson. We became a Fire Department family. My brother and I grew up in the fire house. My brother was Russ Carlson later to become the Mechanic of the Fire Trucks. My dad worked as a mechanic for Bowman Dairy and when he wasn't at his paying job he was at the fire house along with my mom, my brother and myself. I remember my dad taking me there almost daily and checking the equipment, cleaning the trucks and showing me how everything worked. Along side of him I washed, polished and tried out the air packs, the fire gear (very heavy by the way) oxygen masks so many things to do. As the department grew, which was all volunteer, the firemen were given plectron's to notify them of the calls and they would respond to the firehouse, get their gear and fight the fires. My mom also did her part, she would go to the station with us in tow and handle the radio dispatch and communicate with the firemen on the trucks during the call. My mom Kay Carlson also worked at Boerema's grocery store. She and other wives would also bring food and hot coffee to the scene. Now the scene in the middle of the night was often funny. The alarm rings, the fire men (at that time it was all men who volunteered to fight fires) would get in their cars and race to the firehouse, many in their pajama's and night caps, yes some were red. lol Some even brought a snack, while they were getting dressed their wives would make them a snack and some came in eating their bolongy sandwich with pickles. They were a great group of people. Each one of them help mold the department into what it is today. As the years went by the department and the city kept growing. Phones were installed into our house, Ernie Brinkman's and Robert Stanton's house. We had a large loud bell outside our house that rang each time an emergency call came in, my parents would run to the phone, take the call and write down the address then set off a buzzer to ring the plectron and or the siren bringing all the firefighters who were available to the fire station. Things kept progressing and calls were being handled by Oak Lawn full time alerting our department of emergencies. We would all still respond. My mom on the radio, sometimes I would handle the radio and take calls. Also a women by the name of Ann Johnson would also come in and handle the radios. There were also a women's auxiliary. These women were wives of firemen and would also came out in emergencies to serve coffee and were a big part in raising funds for equipment for the firemen and the department. I married my high school sweetheart Mike Southerland and he became a firefighter, diver, paramedic, fire inspector all the way to the rank of Captain. Mike and I made the Smokey, Sparky and Bumble Bee costumes for the department. I was made an honorary member of the department. With the costumes Mike would go to the schools and educate kids on fire prevention. Many thought that because my dad was the fire chief we had privileges, nope that was not true. My dad always said when you live in a glass house you always have to run a tight ship. In other words we got no privileges and had to always behave. We always had to watch what we said and what we did to set a good example. My dad took such pride in North Palos, when he stepped down from Fire Chief he became a trustee always looking out for the firemen, their families and making sure they had good insurance and benefits. He held North Palos to the highest of integrity and made it the best in the first district. On his own time he would go to U of I in Champagne/Urbana, IL and take classes and attend seminars on fire services. My brother Russ went from volunteer firefighter to paid firefighter/mechanic on the department and went on to retire as Captain. When his son became of age to join he went from volunteer to paid and just last year he retired at the rank of Deputy Chief. Russ's son is "Rocky" as every one knows him by. So many memories and so many great people that helped form the North Palos Fire Department to what it is today. It would be great to read others experiences about North Palos. I just remembered we used to have only dirt roads, two to three houses on every block and very deep ditches. We also had a lot of prairie fires where firemen would use indian pumps and things like mud flaps to stomp out the prairie fires. We still live in Palos Hills and are protected by the great men and women of the North Palos Fire Department.
Signed on October 06, 2015 at 10:14 AM
The published senior pancake breakfast price for 10/4/15 was $3.00 but $4.00 at the door.
Get it right next time.
Signed on September 24, 2015 at 5:27 PM
thanks for all your help and everything you do.
Signed on July 05, 2015 at 3:28 PM
James Frame, M.D.
I belonged to the NPFPD from 1972 to 1980. It is amazing and credit to the Trustee's and leadership as to how much you have progressed through the decades. I started with Chief John Roe and Ass't Chief Ernie Brinkmann. Then, Captain Jack Shimko remains the main architect of the main station "the house that Jack built." Memories are many. Hope there are others out there that remember those days. Jimmy Frame
Signed on May 23, 2014 at 7:45 PM
george h. kenny
Just thoughts of the past as I found your web site. My Dad was one of the first trustees and volunteer fireman in 1947. He helped set up the Department and signed off on the purchase of the first truck a 1947 Chevy 500 gallon pumper. Being just a kid I was sort of the gopher around the Department, who used to light the furnace at the old North Palos one room school house for Sunday business meetings. Also had the job of blowing the siren every night at 9 pm. It was later when I was older after a stint in the Navy that I returned to study driving the old Chevy and the new FWD. What fond memories I still have of your Department. Now 81 years old I don't think I'd qualify to hold the end of a hose , but the spirit is still here to do so. God Bless you all who keep it going.