Forty-three years ago Tuesday was the worst day in the history of the Palatine Fire Department.
Three volunteer firefighters were lost, but the city always remembers them.
Their names have not been forgotten – Ahlgrim, Freeman, Wilson. They were called to a huge blaze at the Ben Franklin Store in Palatine. They ended up trapped in the basement. The fire department remembers them every year.
This year, Palatine’s first aerial truck, used to fight that fire, was dedicated to the fallen firefighters.
For retired firefighter John Tobin, it’s not just a fire truck.
On Tuesday, the Palatine community got a glimpse of the village’s first fire truck — the “Snorkel,” which Tobin recently bought and restored — during an annual ceremony commemorating the 43rd anniversary of a blaze at the Benjamin Franklin store. The Snorkle was on the scene of that blaze, which Tobin’s father, David, a second lieutenant at the time for the village’s volnteer fire department, responded to, the Daily Herald reports.
John Tobin was a senior in high school when the blaze broke out. He skipped school and rushed to the fire where he took photos and helped with equipment, according to the article. The blaze ended up killing three local firefighters.