Forest View Fire Chief Mark Jones (right), holds a bell the department received back from Allen Kalas (left). Les Antos Jr.  donated a strainer back that was used years ago. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Forest View Fire Chief Mark Jones (right), holds a bell the department received back from Allen Kalas (left). Les Antos Jr. donated a strainer back that was used years ago. (Photos by Carol McGowan)

Forest View Fire Department reunites with original fire truck

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By Carol McGowan 

Forest View not only has an old fire truck back in village hands, but it’s bell, and a strainer to go with it.

At their last village board meeting, two former members of the Forest View Fire Department, who each provided many years of service to the community, were on hand to give back the items that will be proudly displayed when the old fire truck is refurbished and put on display and used in parades and at village events.

Allen Kalas donated the bell, and Les Antos Jr. donated the strainer.

Forest View Fire Chief Mark Jones explained how the fire engine came back home.

“We were able to receive possession of the Village of Forest View Fire Department’s first fire engine from an antique shop in Bangor, Michigan. And had it towed back to our station.

“The importance of having our first fire engine allows not only current and past members of the fire department, but current and future residents an opportunity to see where the village and fire department started. As we progress and move forward it gives us an opportunity to see where we started.

Receiving the original bell that was on this fire engine is very special us. The fire service of today is forever changing. But it is steeped in tradition. One such tradition is the sound of a bell. In the past, when firefighters began their tour of duty, it was the bell that signaled the beginning of the day’s shift. Throughout the day and night each alarm was sounded by a bell that summoned these brave souls to fight fires and to place their lives in jeopardy. And when the fire was out and the alarm had come to an end, it was the bell that signaled to all the completion of that call. Eventually bells become common place on the front of fire apparatus used as a means of warning the public that a fire apparatus was responding to an emergency call. This is why having our original bell back on our first fire engine is special.”

Many may not know what the strainer was used for, but Jones did.

“The suction strainer is a vital tool on that fire engine that had pumped out flooding at the end of Wenonah Avenue many times, keeping the residents of Forest View safe,” he said. 

While some may look at it as an “old fire engine,” Jones and other village officials say it has a special meaning to the village it served for so many years.

“We are happy and grateful to have our 1955 Ward Lafrance Fire Engine back home,” said Jones. 

In other village business at the last board meeting, an ordinance was amended to eliminate the resident-only parking restrictions in the 4500 block of Wenonah Avenue.

A motion was also made to approve a resolution to adopt a payment schedule for the village’s 1999 Pierce Fire Truck.

Superintendent of Water and Public Works, Frank Filec, talked about the paving project bids received for the 2023 street improvement MFT project.  Bids received from Hancock Engineering and Novotny Engineering were discussed. Filec requested that the board award the contract to Novotny as it was just over $185,000 less than the bid from Hancock.  The motion was approved.

Filec also talked of the village’s roof inspections and maintenance plan for 2023-2024. He requested the board approve an agreement with Anthony Roofing (Tecta America LLC) to do the spring/fall inspections on the village’s roof. The board approved the agreement.

Police Chief Steve Stelter discussed a memo of understanding he received from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to place a prescription drug take-back box in the village hall or police station.  He requested the board to approve it, which they did.

He said there is no cost to the village, and the drop box will be available for residents or anyone, to dispose of prescription drugs.

A business license was approved for MRZ Leasing Inc., at 5240 W. 47th Street, for an office for business owner Mindaugas Zamalaitis.

Stelter said the police department has been doing seatbelt checks within the village limits.  He also purchased active shooter posters and distributed them to businesses in the village to be hung up with information as to what to do in an active shooter situation.

chief Jones with old truck

Forest View Fire Chief Mark Jones stands next to the village’s original fire truck, which will be restored and used in parades and at other special events.

 

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