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News and Photos

We rarely update this page on our website any longer. We instead focus on keeping our Facebook page up to date as real time as possible. Please visit the page     

We will leave this page on our website though, so you can refer to the older articles contained on it.   THANK YOU for your understanding.

May 13, 2012:  SJSFPD Demonstrates the "Jaws of Life" extrication tools for WCIA television viewers.

Click on the link below for the video.

Courtesy of WCIA-TV, and  Story by WCIA-TV reporter Erica Quednau.

ST. JOSEPH -- One person dies every twelve minutes because of a car accident and every 14 seconds, someone is hurt.
Fire departments like the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District use extraction tools during an accident.
Depending on the situation, firefighters will figure out the best way to get the victim out of the car. They use tools known as the jaws of life, cutters and sawzall.
The jaws of life are also known as spreaders. They have a spreading force of 17,700 pounds and a maximum spreading opening of 32 inches.
The cutters are big scissors. They have 200,000 pounds of force, close in six seconds and cut through metal.
The sawzall is also used to cut through metal. Firefighters say they go through a lot of blades but it does wonders.
St. Joseph firefighters say they train at least 20 hours a year on these tools.

Web Extra:  Click below on the link below to see WCIA-TV reporter Erica Quednau use the spreaders to force open a car door under the direction of SJSFPD training officer Lieutenant John Sollars.


April 21, 2012:  SJSFPD Proudly Participates In The St. Joseph Youth Baseball Opening Day Parade.


February 29, 2012: 
Nobody hurt in mobile home, garage fire in rural St. Joseph.  By Tim Mitchell, staff writer, The News-Gazette.

ST. JOSEPH — Nobody was hurt in a late afternoon fire that damaged a mobile home and garage in rural St. Joseph. 
According to a fire department report, firefighters from the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Department were called to a fire at a mobile home at 2266 County Road 1200 N at 4:13 p.m. Wednesday.  St. Joseph-Stanton firefighters received mutual aid assistance from the Sidney, Home and Ogden-Royal fire departments.  When firefighters arrived at 4:24 p.m., they found the mobile home fully involved in fire.

St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Chief Russell Chism said winds were blowing the flames into a garage about 20 feet away from the mobile home.  Chism said nobody was inside the mobile home when the fire was discovered. He said the owner of the mobile home lived in a separate house on the property and used the mobile home for a ham radio operation. According to the report, firefighters had the fire under control by 5 p.m. and left the scene at 6:16 p.m. Total damage to the mobile home and garage together was estimated at $50,000.  Chism said the fire started in the north end of the mobile home. The cause of the fire was undetermined as of Wednesday night, he said.

February 28, 2011:  Saint Joseph-Stanton Firefighters Talk To Saint Joseph Pre-Schoolers.  By Nora Maberry, The Leader.

The St. Joseph-Stanton Firefighters want children to know they should not be afraid of firefighters.  "We are trained to put out fires," Firefighter Dan Gaskin told the preschoolers. "We are here to help you."   Gaskin, along with firefighters Kyle McClain and Rusty Shafer, spoke to students in the Spectrum program on Feb. 24, 2012.   Gaskin told the preschoolers that they had nothing to be afraid of as McClain and Shafer showed them their various pieces of equipment and how firefighters wear their gear.

McClain, Shafer and Gaskin showed students the air tanks, coats, helmets and tools that firefighters use to fight fires. They even showed students a tool that helps other firefighters locate injured firemen. The firefighters let the students try on the various equipment.   Gaskin also educated the students on what to do if their home is on fire.   Gaskin instructed the students to get out of their houses, call the fire department and meet at their family meeting place.

Gaskin explained that every family should have an emergency meeting place in case of an emergency. He suggested a certain tree in their yard, a garage or even a sandbox.   "Don't go back inside," Gaskin said. "And do not hide in the house."   The firefighters said they do presentations like this to educate the children about fire safety but also to ease any fears the students may have about them in their uniforms.


October 24, 2011:
SJSFPD acts quickly to save semi truck on I-74.
















 During the early evening of October 24, 2011 SJSFPD received a call that a semi trailer's brakes were on fire on the Westbound side of Interstate 74 at Milemarker 194.  Upon arrival, the first responding crew found two semi's fully involved.  SJSFPD worked quickly, utilizing both of its water tenders, and one pumper truck to save the lead truck that was hauling the other two semi trucks.

Courtesy of WCIA-TV:

Truck Fire Stops Traffic On I-74 Near St. Joseph

Web link:

ST. JOSEPH - Traffic on I-74 was backed up for miles after a truck trailer caught on fire.  It happened in the westbound lane about two miles west of the St. Joe exit. Most of the trailer and much of the semi were damaged. But the driver is ok. Much of that is thanks to a man who was driving behind him and smelled the smoke.

"I thought maybe at first it was my vehicle and I came up upon the semi truck driver and saw that the semi truck was on fire," said Joseph Ward of Mahomet. "So I drove up behind him, honked my horn, got him to pull over and called the fire department to let them know."

Ward says it looked like the brakes on the truck locked up and started the fire. Both he and the semi driver didn't have a fire extinguisher. Ward says he'll keep one with him from now on. 

2011 Pancake and Sausage Breakfast A Success!

August 17, 2011: The volunteer members of the Saint Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District would like to thank everyone who took part in making our annual Pancake and Sausage Breakfast a success once again this year.

A BIG "THANK YOU!" goes out to the following Saint Joseph businesses who supported our fundraising breakfast in 2011:

Terry Hill, Financial Representative, 469-9800           Saint Joseph IGA, 469-9311

       Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Saint Joseph, 469-7000           Illini FS Farmtown, 384-8300   
                      Busey Bank, Saint Joseph, 469-7631                           Saint Joseph First, 469-8866   

Covenant Door Service, 469-2002        Spring-Green Lawn Care Service, Saint Joseph, 359-2911

Dr. Alina Paul, Family Practice, 226 E. Lincoln, St. Joseph, IL, 217-469-8270    
JUNE 16, 2011: Buses, building, equipment destroyed at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
Courtesy of Tim Mitchell, The News-Gazette.


ST. JOSEPH — Fire investigators are leaning toward an electrical problem as the cause of an early-evening fire Thursday that destroyed the bus barn at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.  No one was hurt, said school Superintendent Jim Acklin, but the fire did about $1 million in damage to the metal pole building and its contents.  Firefighters were called to the bus barn in the 300 block of North Main Street, St. Joseph, about 6 p.m.
“I saw smoke rolling out of the center portion where the concession stand area is,” Acklin said. “At that point it was thick black smoke. In the next 50 minutes it went from a smoky mess to flames probably 40 to 50 feet in the air.”

Acklin said at least five buses, a driver’s education car, two mowers, two tractors, a truck and assorted tools and equipment were lost.

"We're suspecting an electrical issue," said Russell Chism, chief of the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District. Chism was joined by four other area fire investigators Friday morning in getting a closer look inside the remains of the metal pole building.  "We're pulling conduit out to try to make an exact determination," added St. Joseph-Stanton Assistant Fire Chief Brian Buss.  Buss said the last firefighters  - 10 area departments responded under a mutual aid compact - cleared the scene about 11:30 p.m. Buss said he returned about 12:30 a.m. Friday and put out some small spot fires.

"We came back about 6:30 a.m. (Friday) and had one hot spot. We got a village backhoe in here and put that out," Buss said.  The fire investigators were at the barn Friday morning waiting for representatives of the school district's insurance company to arrive. Chism said they would share their findings with the insurance experts, but would defer to them in citing a definite cause of the blaze.

Two women inside the bus barn when the fire started got out safely.  Deb Simmons of St. Joseph was one of them. She was pricing merchandise for an upcoming golf outing when the fire began.  "At first, we thought it was dust. We didn't know it was smoke," Simmons said. "We saw a bunch of dust swirling inside and got choked up. We closed the doors thinking it was just dust. Then it got black and kind of crazy, and we started throwing merchandise out the window.  "Black smoke started coming out the doors and out the windows and we couldn't get out fast enough."  The smoke and fire spread within minutes, according to Buss. Because of its intensity, he directed firefighters to also spray water on the nearby high school to the east to keep the fire from spreading to its roof. Smoke from the fire could be  seen from east Urbana.  "It was pretty much a surround-and-drown operation," Buss said. "Once we had fire coming through the roof, I pulled every person out. I didn't want anybody inside."Buss said the fire was under control by 7:50 p.m.

January 12, 2011:  "St. Joseph-Stanton FPD Provides Community Service."
By K. Tudor, "The Leader"

"They do it all," says Pastor Scott Weiler.  
He's talking about the volunteers of the St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District (SJSFPD), who have had a couple of weeks of nasty weather to contend with this December.  Weiler, pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church, has served as Chaplain for the district since October of last year.  When high winds and snow forced two cars off Route 74 earlier this month, they stopped at Monical's Pizza in St. Joseph and "asked for the number of the Fire Department," according to Assistant Manager Chuck Wells.   After the motorists talked to the SJSFPD, they drove to the firehouse on Route 150.  

Down the road at the Casey's, clerk Kim Shaw says a man who left Ohio that morning returning to Iowa stopped in "just before the store closed" at 11:00 p.m.  She says SJSFPD had notified the store earlier that evening that if any motorists were stranded to "send them to the firehouse."  
At the station, the Iowa motorist joined two women and two young girls from the Chicago area, along with three women from Decatur.  SJSFPD volunteers Brian Martin, Dan Gaskin, and Tyler Rhodes set up emergency cots, blankets, and pillows.  Additional supplies were provided by other volunteers and Pastor Weiler.   Martin, Gaskin, and Rhodes spent the night in the fire trucks.  Martin says the motorists left at about 8:30 the next morning. 

According to Martin it was a "pretty quiet" night, although there are often "quite a few road related calls during bad weather."  He calls it "par for the course." 
Casey's manager Tina Cunningham, however, calls it "great."  She donated coffee and donuts for breakfast, and "made sure to send plenty" because she knew that SJSFPD volunteers were at the station all night "to help whoever they could help."  Pastor Weiler says that when he arrived around 6:00 a.m. with pumpkin-nut muffins from wife Lenelle, he found the three firemen "cooking eggs, pancakes, and bacon" for the motorists.  Weiler says that is typical.  

Prior to becoming Chaplain, Weiler "had no idea of the frequency and variety" of calls handled by the District.  He "lends spiritual assistance when deemed appropriate," but says it is the volunteers who "do what counts."   "They don't just fight house fires.  They are first responders in all sorts of emergencies, including for people just passing through on Route 74."  
Martin, who has been a volunteer with the district since 2008, says most of the volunteers also hold down full-time jobs, several in the emergency services field.    Martin works full-time for the Gibson Area Ambulance Service.  Fire Chief Russell Chism says volunteers often participate because they know "how the system works from friends or family serving here or somewhere else." 

Chism says that SJSFPD is a distinct government district funded through real estate taxes.  It covers an area roughly from near Flatville on the north to near Sidney on the south, and from near Mayview on the west to between St. Joseph and Ogden on the east. 
Chism says the SJSFPD are first responders for fires, accidents, and all sorts of health issues.  "You name it; we are there."  He says many community members "don't realize" that with an all-volunteer service, there is usually "nobody at the station."  Volunteers carry pagers and are trained to listen to the dispatch and respond appropriately.  Pastor Weiler says, whatever the call, he is "always amazed" by the volunteers, who "never mind" putting in any time and effort required "to do whatever is necessary."  Sometimes that includes cooking breakfast and sleeping in a fire truck.


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