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(including local disasters with an Arlington Heights Police or Fire mutual aid response to other communities)

La Salle Bank Fire in Chicago
DEC 06 2004 (
weather) -- La Salle Bank at 135 South LaSalle in Chicago. Fire on 29th and 30th floors. Fatalities: 0, Injuries: 37, Damage Estimate:

Notes: Arlington Heights Fire Engine 2 was called to provide station coverage at the fire house of Engine Company 108.

Villa Verde Condominium Fire in Buffalo Grove
SEP 01 2000 (
weather) -- Location: Number 2 Villa Verde, Buffalo Grove, IL. Fire started at about 3 p.m. in a malfunctioning air conditioner (not confirmed) on the top floor (3rd floor).

Notes: Arlington Heights Fire Department assisted Buffalo Grove Fire Department with mutual aid along with other suburban fire departments, including Addison, Cary, Des Plaines, Elk Grove, Evanston, Fox River Grove, Nunda Township, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling, and more. Over 150 firefighters fought the fire for over 7 hours.

Fatalities: 0; Injuries: ; Damage Estimate: $5-$6 million.

Helicopter crash north of Pioneer Park Arlington Heights

Helicopter Crash into House
MAY 18 1998 1351 CDT (
weather) -- Bell Textron 206 with four aboard crashes into house (garage mainly) at 311 S Fernandez Ave.

Fatalities: 4 (on board), Injuries: 0, Damage Estimate:

Notes: One person (Grace Stearns) in home at the time. Helicopter owned by Rotors in Motion of Round Lake, IL. Helicopter was working for Futabakai School. Crash witnessed by students in playground at Our Lady of Wayside school. O'Hare International Airport responded with a Crash Tender Fire Truck. Thousands of bystanders crowded the street during recovery.
NTSB report.

'100 Year Flood' August 13-14, 1987
AUG 14 1987 (
weather) 6.49 inches of rain fell on August 14, 1987 helping August 1987 become the wettest month of all months to date with 17.10 inches of rain. An eight hour span over August 13-14 brought an official measurement of 9.35 inches (2.86 inches on 8/13 and 6.49 inches on 8/14).

Serious urban flooding. Streets flooded and basements flooded with backflow from drainage pipes. One to three-foot lakes developed in normally dry suburban neighborhoods. Estimated damage $220 million to Chicago area. Severe thunderstorms recurred on August 16, 1987 with strong downbursts and 1-1.5-inch hail in northern Illinois.

Arlington Park Racetrack Fire
JUL 31 1985 0200 CDT (
weather) -- Electrical fire first detected in the ceiling of the kitchen of the Paddock, a building to the west of the grandstand. Exact cause is undetermined. Fire spread through common access to the grandstand. The west end of the grandstand collapsed at 12:10 p.m. and the remaining entire grandstand collapsed at 12:30 p.m.

Fatalities: 0; Injuries: 3 minor injuries to firefighters; Damage Estimate:

Notes: A demolition team from Fort Sheridan was considered to blow up the burning west grandstand to separate it from extending to the east grandstand.

1982 Tylenol Murders
SEP 29 1982 to OCT 01 1982
(weather: SEP
29, 30, OCT 01)
Tylenol laced with cyanide on shelves in stores (Jewel Foods, 122 N. Vail, Arlington Heights; Jewel Foods, 948 Grove Mall, Elk Grove Village; Osco Drug Store, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg; Walgreen Drug Store, 1601 N. Wells, Chicago; Frank's Finer Foods, 0N040 Winfield Rd, Winfield; and one unknown location).

The first cyanide poisoning victim is a 12-year-old girl from Elk Grove who suffered a morning headache. She is followed, unrelated, by a 27-year-old postal worker. The postal worker's brother and his brother's new wife (grieving from their loss) unknowingly take Tylenol from the the dead brother's tainted bottle and die instantly in an Arlington Heights home. The woman collapses right in front of the paramedics on the scene who are treating her husband. Three more random and unrelated deaths occur in the Chicago area.

Notes: Arlington Heights firefighter Philip Cappittelli and Elk Grove firefighter Richard Keyworth (during a discussion as friends) recognize that the mysterious deaths in Arlington Heights and Elk Grove both involved Tylenol. Tylenol from the scene is tested and cyanide is detected. Copycat cases and false alarms follow nationwide. Police and fire vehicles with loud speakers travel the streets warning people not to take Tylenol. Millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol are recalled and burned. Investigators eventually recovered eight tainted bottles, five related to the deaths, two turned in by consumers and one pulled from a store shelf. Tylenol was replaced on shelves about two months later with secured packaging. Packaging security in many products has improved as a result of this crime.

The victims of cyanide poisoning were Mary Kellerman, 12, Elk Grove Village; Adam Janus, 27, Arlington Heights; Stanley Janus, 25, Lisle; Theresa Janus, 19, Arlington Heights; Paula Prince, 35, Chicago; Mary Reiner, 27, Winfield; and Mary McFarland, 31, Elmhurst.

Fatalities: 7

American Airlines Flight 191 Crash
MAY 25 1979 15:02 CDT (
weather) -- American Airlines Flight 191 crashed shortly after takeoff in an open field near warehouses and a trailer park almost 5000 feet from the end of O'Hare runway 32R.

Fatalities: 271 on board (13 crew members) and 2 people on the ground. Injuries: All fatal. Damage Estimate:

Notes: Arlington Heights Fire Department responded with multiple fire engines and paramedic ambulances with other suburban fire departments and the City of Chicago. The Arlington Heights fire dispatch center was the MABAS Division One dispatch command for suburban fire departments responding to the crash. Northwest Community Hospital activated its disaster plan, but no patients were brought to Northwest Community Hospital. The two people killed on the ground were severely burned by the aircraft fire when they opened a warehouse door to see what had happened outside. They died in the hospital shortly after their injuries. The accident was originally called in to Elk Grove Fire Department as an explosion at a factory. Other links:
Aviation Safety Net,, Wikipedia

East Lynden House Fire
DEC 24 1971 (
weather) -- Fire started near a Christmas tree and a couch in a house on East Lynden Lane in Scarsdale neighborhood.

Fatalities: 7 (from the same family); Injuries: 0

Notes: The fire was discovered early in the morning by a newspaper delivery boy.
Arlington Park Horse Barn Fire
1971 -- Two barns involved in a serious working fire.

Fatalities: 0 people; 26 horses

Arlington Park Horse Barn Fire
Fatalities: 0 people; 7 horses, 1 dog

A&P Store Fire
FEB 07 1951 -- Location: 114 W. Campbell. Fire may have started in a boiler room. Building totally destroyed.

Fatalities: 0; Injuries: 0; Damage Estimate: $200,000.

Arlington Park Horse Barn Fire
Fatalities: 0 people; 26 horses (including 22 two-year-old horses owned by
Elizabeth Arden of the cosmetics industry).


Southwest Airlines Midway Crash
DEC 08 2005 7:15 p.m. CST (
weather) Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 crashed after touching down too late on Runway 31-C during landing at Midway Airport. The Boeing 737-700 crashed through a fence and onto Central Avenue near 55th Street, killing 6-year-old Joshua Woods.

Fatalities: 1; Injuries: 10 (9 on ground); Damage Estimate:

Elmwood Park Metra Train vs Car Crash
NOV 24 2005 4:45 p.m. CST (
weather) Metra passenger train crash involved 15 automobiles when the train hit 6-8 cars backed up on Grand Avenue in Elmwood Park.

Fatalities: 0; Injuries: 16; Damage Estimate:

Metra Train Derailment
SEP 17 2005 0845 CDT (
weather) -- METRA train tracks at 47th and Wentworth in Chicago. Train travelling too fast leaves the tracks and hits the 47th Street Bridge viaduct. Fatalities: 2, Injuries: Approximately 80 (17 Red). CFD response was a 2-11 alarm and an EMS Plan III. MABAS Disaster Response (3rd Alarm + Special) from the following suburbs: Alsip, Calumet City, Cicero, Country Club Hills, Evanston, Evergreen Park, Franklin Park, Glenview, Hazelcrest, Hinsdale, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Lincolnwood, Lisle-Woodrich, Mount Prospect, Northbrook, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oak Forest, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Pleasantview, Posen, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, Schiller Park, Skokie, South Holland, and Waukegan. Twenty ambulances staged at the scene and eleven were assigned to standby in Chicago Fire Stations.

La Salle Bank Fire
DEC 06 2004 1830 CST (
weather) -- La Salle Bank at 135 South LaSalle in Chicago. Fire on 29th and 30th floors burned for about 6 hours. Fatalities: 0, Injuries: 8 civilians, 29 firefighters (of all 13 RED, 10 YELLOW). Damage estimate: Fire damage on 29th and 30th floors; significant water damage down to the 18th floor.

CFD response was a 5-11 with three Special Alarms. MABAS Interdivisional Box Alarm from numerous suburban fire departments to scene and standby in CFD fire stations.

Pilsen Neighborhood Fire
NOV 14 2003 (
weather)-- Location: 19th and Sangamon. Two large factory building on fire causing a 5-11 and 4 special alarm-response. Caused by arson to a stolen car in an alley.

Fatalities: 0 Injuries:

Cook County Administration Building Fire
OCT 17 2003 1705 CDT (
weather)-- Location: 69 West Washington. Fire started in a faulty light fixture in a storage room on the 12th floor of a 35-story building.

Fatalities: 6; Injuries 12.

Workplace Shooting 2003
AUG 27 2003 (
weather)-- Location: Windy City Core Supply, Inc. car parts warehouse.

Fatalities: 7 people, including the attacker (former employee) died.

Major Porch Collapse
JUN 29 2003 (
weather) -- Location: 713 Wrightwood (Lincoln Park neighborhood).

Fatalities: 12; Injuries: 12:

Chicago's E2 Nightclub Crowd Crush
FEB 17 2003 0200 CST (

Fatalities: 21; Injuries: 65+

Paxton Hotel Fire
MAR 23 1993 Location 1432 N. LaSalle.

Fatalities: 19; Injuries

1995 Chicago Heat Wave
JUL 12th 1995 to JUL 16 1995.
JUL 12, JUL 13, JUL 14, JUL 15, JUL 16) Entire City of Chicago experienced certified heat-related deaths (certified by medical examiner). July 13 heat index peaked at 119 F.

Fatalities: 465

Freight Tunnel Flood
APR 13 1992 (

Fatalities: 0; Injuries: 0; Damage Estimate:
MABAS Interdivisional Box Alarm for suburban fire department response.

1988 Chicago Heat Wave
Fatalities: 77 deaths certified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office (CCMEO) as heat-related.

American Airlines Flight 191 Crash
MAY 25 1979 15:02 CDT (
weather) -- American Airlines Flight 191 crashed shortly after takeoff in an open field near warehouses and a trailer park almost 5000 feet from the end of O'Hare runway 32R.

Fatalities: 271 on board (13 crew members) and 2 people on the ground. Injuries: All fatal. Damage Estimate:

CTA Elevated Train Crash
FEB 04 1977 (

Fatalities: 7 in train, 2 on ground; Injuries: 266; Damage Estimate:

Wincrest Nursing Home Fire
JAN 30 1976 1143 CST (

Fatalities: 23; Injuries:

United Airlines Flight 533 Crash Near Midway
DEC 08 1972 (
weather) United Airlines Flight 533 crashed during landing approach 1.5 miles short of the runway at Midway Airport

Fatalities: 43 people aboard the plane and 2 people on the ground died, 18 passengers survived.

Illinois Central Gulf Commuter Train Crash
OCT 30 1972 (
weather) Location: Chicago's 27th Street Station.

Fatalities: 45 ; Injuries: 332

Our Lady of Angels School Fire
DEC 01 1958 (
weather) About 2:00 pm CST Location: 909 North Avers Fire started in a trash drum in the basement stairwell.

Fatalities: 93 (90 students and 3 nuns) died. 160 children rescued.

Haber Corporation Plant Explosion
APR 16 1953. Located 908 W. North Avenue.

Fatalities: 35

LaSalle Hotel Fire
JUN 05 1946

Fatalities: 61

Eastland Chicago/River: Tour Steamer Capsize
JUL 24 1915

Fatalities: 852; Injuries: 3500 onboard (licensed for 2500 max)

Iroquois Theatre Fire
DEC 30 1903 Location: 24-28 Randolph.

Fatalities: 600 Injuries: 1900 people in audience, 500 performers.

Great Chicago Fire
SUN OCT 08 1871 to OCT 10 1871. North and West sides of Chicago. Fire started about 9:00 p.m. in the cowbarn at the rear of the Patrick O'Leary cottage at 137 DeKoven Street on Chicago's West Side.

Fatalities: 300; Damage Estimate: 90,000 homeless, property loss $200 million.

Other helpful links:
Chicago Public Library
Disasters List

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Aid is assistance (financial, supplies, provisions, medicine, labor) given by a government agency or volunteer organization.


CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
Programs educate people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community. The program is administered by
DHS. See

is any of several diseases of humans and domestic animals usually marked by severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including acute diarrhea. Disease is causeed by enterotoxin produced by a comma-shaped gram-negative bacillus (Vibrio cholerae) when it is present in large numbers in the proximal part of the small intestine. See also
CDC on Cholera.

Citizen Corps A program that develops community action plans, assesses possible threats, and identifying local resources. In Arlington Heights five permanent members: Police Chief, Fire Chief, Health Department Director, Public Works Director, Assistant Emergency Services Disaster Agency Coordinator. Also four rotating terms from Elementary District 25, Northwest Community Healthcare, the general business community and regional transportation authorities. See also CERT. See

Command and Control


Curfew is a regulated time period when people are not allowed in the streets and when businesses and other public assembly locations are closed.

Dehydrating Disease A disease associated with diarrhea that causes the body to lose water rapidly. Heat stress and fever cause greater water loss as well.

Disaster Agency

Disaster Area
is officially declared to be the scene of an emergency, thereby subject to special conditions, such as curfews and evacuations; and qualified for emergency loans and relief supplies.

Disaster-Related Illness
(1) Water-borne illnesses, the lack of clean water or potable water, the contaminated water, the water that's been contaminated by sewer, by overflow, by chemicals. Contamination causes diarrhea from E Coli or Salmonella or any of the bacteria that cause water-borne illness. The diarrhea causes dehydration and since you can't get access to clean water to drink, you have dehydration that leads to cardiovascular collapse and ultimately death. (2) Infectious disease from people-to-people: cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. (3) Mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile and Malaria.

DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team)
is a group of professionals and para-professional medical personnel (supported by a cadre of logistical and administrative staff) designed to provide emergency medical care during a disaster or other unusual event.

DMATs deploy to a disaster site with sufficient supplies and equipment to sustain the team for a period of 72 hours while providing medical care at a fixed or temporary medical care site. In a mass casualty incident, DMAT responsibilities include triaging of patients, providing austere medical care, and preparing patients for evacuation. See
DMAT in National Disaster Medical System of Department of Homeland Security

DMORT (Disaster Mortuary Team)

An infectious disease of the colon. Symptoms include bloody, mucus-filled diarrhea; abdominal pain; fever; and loss of fluids from the body. Includes Shigellosis and Amoebic dysentery. Shifellosis-infected individuals will often recover without antibiotic treatment. However, treatment by antibiotics is recommended because the disease is relatively severe, and is highly contagious. Transmitted by "fomites", for example clothes, doorknobs, toilet seats, etc. Amoebic dysentery is transmitted by contaminated water, and is well known as a "travellers dysentery", although it is occasionally seen in industrialized countries. Liver infection, and subsequent amoebic abscesses can occur. It can be treated with metronidazole or related azole drugs.
Emergency Operations Center

Environment Many disasters bring ecological crises as well as human and economic crises. See
EPA, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Evacuation is to remove people from a dangerous or uninhabitable area.

Federal Emergency Management Agency).

First Responder
an individual who has received training in emergency care in order to provide for the patient before EMTs arrive. The level of training allows this individual to assist EMTs at the emergency scene. Also, trained rescue personnel who are usually first on the scene of a disaster or emergency indcident.



are made available by insurance companies and/or government and charity agencies.

is the emotional suffering felt after a great loss. Five stages of grief are (1) Denial and Isolation, (2) Anger, (3) Bargaining, (4) Depression, and (5) Acceptance.

is a mark with orange spray paint on a house or structure that refers to hazard inside.

is a response by rescue agency to hazardous materials that exposing potential or actual harm to people and property. Hazardous materials are divided into nine hazard classes: (1) explosives, (2) gases, (3) flammable and combustible liquids, (4) flammable solids, spontaneously combustible materials, and dangerous when wet materials, (5) oxidizers and organic peroxides, (6) toxic (poison or poisonous) material and infectious substances, (7) radioactive materials, (8) corrosive materials, and (9) miscellaneous dangerous goods. See


Homeland Security Advisory System
DHS for complete information
Severe -
Severe risk of terrorist attack. Public and government facilities closed. Redirection of personnel for appropriate response.

High -
High risk of terrorist attack. Cancellation of public venues considered. Restricting access to facilities to essential personnel only.

Elevated -
Significant risk of terrorist attack. Increased surveillance of critical locations and brushing up on pre-planning.

Guarded Condition -
General risk of terrorist attack. Provide public with helpful information. Check communications and emergency responsee procedures.

Low Condition -
Low risk of terrorist attack
Assess vulnerabilities. Proper training.


Infrastructure includes aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, the national power grid, hazardous waste, navigable waterways, parks and recreation, rail, roads, schools, security, solid waste, transit and wastewater.

Insurance Catastrophe Team includes claim processors.

Insurrection Act

IT Recovery is recovery of computer information.

JTF (Joint Task Force)
A military operation that is designed to resolve a specific military problem or disaster.

Law and Order

to plunder, rob and burglarize victims of war or disaster.

Martial Law is a system of rules that takes effect (usually after a formal declaration) when a military authority takes control of the normal administration of justice (and usually of the whole state). Usually administered because of a situation where civilian law enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety.

MABAS is the Mutual Alarm Box Alarm System, which is a pre-planned operational plan for fire equipment to respond to major fires or other disasters.

Missing Persons

is Meals Ready to Eat.

Mutual Aid is when one community sends professional resources to help another community.

National Guard

NNRT (National Nurse Response Team)
National Disaster Medical System.

NPRT (National Pharmacy Response Team)
National Disaster Medical System.

Panic causes excess fear and exaggeration of the disaster. Word-of-mouth spread of news is often inaccurate.

Posse Commitatus

(PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
is an anxiety disorder that can occur after exposure to traumatic events such as violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. Signs and symptoms include persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal, feeling emotionally numb, especially close family and friends, sleep problems, feeling detached, and experiencing jumpy nervousness. See also
National Center for PTSD and National Library of Medicine PTSD information.

Preparedness is being prepared with planning for procedures and supplies for surviving interruption of normal civilized life in the event of a national emergency -- including a terrorist attack. Preparedness is specifically known as Emergency Preparedness or Disaster Preparedness. See

are water, food, ice, clothing, medicine, medical supplies and other supplies.

Recover in health terms is to regain normal health status from a disease or injury. To recover in disaster terms is to retrieve a dead body and transport it to a morgue. Emergency operations can change from a rescue operation to a recovery operation when victims are known to be deceased.

Refugee is a person who flees a country or city to avoid the destruction of a disaster or war. For some the word emphasizes the severity of the disaster that has caused people to evacuate their homes. For others, the word is politically incorrect and its use regarding United State citizens hints at racism or is improper because the citizens have not been forced out of the country.

Rescue is to remove an injured or uninjured person from a situation that would cause further injury or death.

Search and Rescue

Satellite Radio & TV can be helpful in a disaster because the usual on-air stations or cable facilities may be knocked out of service. XMRadio has audio for 24-hour news networks, such as CNN and FoxNEWS, which can be helpful for assessment and resource information.

Shelter is a permanent building structure or temporary tent that is used to inhabit victims of disaster or war. Ideal shelters provide appropriate heat or air conditioning, information regarding the status of the emergency, and data collection and

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacterium. The diarrhea is often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. In some persons, especially young children and the elderly, the diarrhea can be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. See also
CDC on Shigellosis.

Starvation is defined as a prolonged inadequate intake of protein, energy or both. Fasting is the total exclusion of all food energy. A total interruption of food in a disaster would be considered prolonged fasting. Non-obese adults die after about 60 days of fasting. Obese individuals can last longer in a prolonged fast. In 1973 a 27-year-old man weighing just over 455 pounds survived an uninterrupted fast when only non-energy-containing fluids were consumed (1).

State of Emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend certain normal functions of government , alerts citizens to alter their regular daily activities, orders government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale for suspending civil liberties. Activated during natural disasters, during periods of civil unrest, or following a declaration of war. Closely related to Marshall Law.

Stockpile is a reserve supply of water, food, medicine or other supplies for use during interruption in normal supply of goods.

is an important component of infrastructure that helps people evacuate a disaster area or arrive at medical facilities.


Tyhpoid Fever caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi -- a severe, life-threatening human febrile disease with stupor alternating with delirium, intense headache, stomach pains, loss of appetites, and a dark red rash. See also
CDC on Typhoid Fever.

'V' is a mark with orange spray paint on a house or structure that refers to a victim inside.

VMAT (Veterinary Medical Assistance Team) See
National Disaster Medical System.

Water Deprivation is the lack of available water due to interruption or contamination of supplies. Death from water deprivation occurs at variable time periods, which depend on the rate of water loss from heat and sweating or dehydrating disease. A best case scenario may delay death for two weeks, but when 3% of body water is lost per day, the period until death is expected to be eight days and when 4% of body water is lost per day, six days until death is expected. Dehydrating disease and heat with sweating could cause much greater water loss rates and less time for rescue. People should never drink less than one quart of water per day. Pregnant women, some sick people, children or people who are exerting themselves may require more water.

Weather, which may have caused the disaster in the first place, is also an important factor in hindering or helping emergency operations. Wind can be a factor in spreading a toxin or radiological agent, but it can also be helpful in drying a flooded area. Extreme high or low temperatures can cause further suffering if shelter is not adequate.

WMD Weapons of mass destruction are weapons capable of inflicting massive destruction to property and/ or population, using nuclear, chemical, biological or radioactive material. Weapons of Mass Destruction are

(1) Stewart WK, Fleming LW.
Features of a successful therapeutic fast of 382 days' duration. Postgrad Med J. 1973 Mar;49(569):203-9.


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