Elk Grove Township Fire Department

​MISSION STATEMENT​

"Dedicated to Excellence in Service"

We will provide the residents, businesses, and visitors of Elk Grove Rural Fire Protection District with the highest level of protection against the loss of life and property.

We recognize we are an integral part of the community and are sensitive and responsive to neighborhood needs and priorities. We are "dedicated to service"; as highly trained professionals in all aspects of rescue, emergency medical services, fire prevention and suppression, and the control of all hazardous situations.

We uphold this commitment through quality emergency services and a proactive emphasis on public education, code enforcement, hazard investigation, innovative life and fire safety awareness and community service.


VISION STATEMENT
The Elk Grove Township Fire Department provides a highly motivated, professional, certified staff of firefighters, firefighter/paramedics, fire officers and support staff trained and experienced to competently handle fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, emergency medical service, hazardous materials and technical rescue including confined space, trench, tunnel, high angle, structural collapse and extrication emergencies.

The Elk Grove Township Fire Department provides current buildings, vehicles, ​tools and equipment to safely and competently handle, fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, emergency medical service, hazardous materials and technical rescue including confined space, trench, tunnel, high angle, structural collapse and extrication.

​The Elk Grove Township Fire Department provides quality programs, policies and procedures to effectively and safely provide, fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, emergency medical service, hazardous materials and technical rescue including confined space, trench, tunnel, high angle, structural collapse and extrication.


DISTRICT
The Township Fire District covers large portions of unincorporated Elk Grove, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, and Des Plaines.  The total area amounts to approximately 2.5 square miles.  Rough boundaries of the district are Dempster to the north, Elmhurst Road to the east, Busse to the west, and Touhy to the South.  The district is a mix of commercial, residential, and
industrial properties. 

A total of 12,500 residents call district 11 home.  The primary contributors to this population are the Township's four manufactured home communities.  With a total of 1,625 total homes, this portion of the district is one of the state's largest mobile home communities.  In addition, the district has two separate multiple family complexes:  Birch Manor is an eight building, 3 story condominium complex, and Lynn Court is a 2 story apartment complex on the districts northwest side.

 District 11 is also home to several large industrial and commercial areas.  United Airlines world headquarters is located across the street from station 11, at 1200 E. Algonquin.  These buildings not only house the corporate offices of the world's 2nd largest airline, but also serve as a national
air-traffic control hub.  In 1999, a fire broke out on the second floor of the UAL north building.  Elk Grove Township Fire Department firefighters, combined with crews from 15 other departments were able to contain this fire to second floor.  On that day, due to the hard work of these firefighters, not a single UAL flight was delayed, saving the company millions of dollars.

Elk Grove Township Fire Department also protects a significant portion of interstate I-90.  Coverage extends from mile markers 5.3 to 8.0 westbound, and mile markers 8.0 to 10.5 eastbound.  Access to these areas comes from several entrances, making district familiarization very important. ​


HISTORY
The Elk Grove Rural Fire Protection District was founded on July 21, 1952.  Its purpose was to provide protection to the rapidly expanding, unincorporated portions of Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, and Mount Prospect.  Initial fire and EMS responsibilities were contracted outside to the Mount Prospect and Des Plaines Fire Departments.

In 1978, the Elk Grove Rural Fire Protection District was notified by the Village of Mount Prospect that effective January 1st, they would no longer provide fire and ambulance service to the district.  The district decided that the community would require its own, full time, fire department.  The Elk Grove Township Fire Department was founded, and contracted to American Emergency Services.  The Elk Grove Township Fire Department went into service on January 1, 1979.  Gary S. Jensen took over responsibilities as Fire Chief, a position he would hold for 27 years.

The new Elk Grove Township Fire Department operated out of a small, make-shift station on James Drive.  Fire apparatus, ambulances, and personnel were all provided privately by American Emergency Services.  The departments first apparatus were a 1956 Ward LaFrance 750/500 pumper, a 1963 AmericanLaFrance 750/1100 truck/pumper, a 4000 gallon White tanker, and a 1972 Chevrolet Type II ambulance.  The department was comprised of full time firefighter / paramedics supplemented with POC firefighters.  Dispatch was handled in house.  POCs carried Motorola Pagecom pagers, and were notified of calls through the tone generator at the station.  Initially, the
department ran approximately 500 calls per year.

On May 25, 1979, the newly founded department received a call in the vicinity of Elmhurst and Busse Roads, for the possible factory explosion.   American Airlines Flight 191 had experienced engine trouble shortly after takeoff.  The McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 aircraft crashed at around 15:04 CDT after taking off from O'Hare with 271 passengers and crew onboard.  The crash occurred right in the center of Elk Grove Township Fire Department's district.  All aboard the flight died, along with two individuals on the ground.  In terms of all individuals killed, Flight 191 was the deadliest airplane crash incident on U.S. soil until the four deliberate crashes of the September 11, 2001 attacks. As of 2008, in terms of total number of aircraft occupants killed it is still the deadliest crash incident on U.S. soil.

On April 5th 1992, the department experienced its saddest day. While operating at a manufactured home fire at the Touhy Mobile Home Park, FF Richard "Dickie" Heller collapsed from unknown causes.  Heller received ALS care on the scene, and was transported to Alexian Brother's Medical Center.  He never regained consciousness.  Heller was a veteran of the Elk Grove Village FD, and Chicago FD's Civil Defense unit, died of a massive heart attack.  Engine 319 is dedicated to his memory.

Chief Gary Jensen, after serving Elk Grove Township Fire Department for 28 years, retired on December 31st 2006.  He left the department that he helped found with the department's most senior member taking over.  Chief Michael Nelson had a long string of successes while serving as Captain, which included acquiring grants for the department to purchase new PPE, SCBAs, and Engine 11.  Chief Nelson, in his time serving as Chief, has put a strong emphasis on modernizing the department and on challenging and training its members.