40 years ago

No lives lost, but when 20 firefighters eat enough smoke to get treated at a nearby hospital it goes down as a pretty serious fire. The call came at 3:09 Sunday morning, August 9. The E.W. Kneip Corp. at 7501 Brown Ave. was ablaze. It persisted throughout the rest of the night and wasn’t controlled for 12.5 hours. So stubborn was the fire that a couple of reserves were posted on fire watch just in case.

“This was a bad one,” commented Captain Bill Vrtis. “Twenty of our men had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation.” The fire started in the basement among cardboard boxes, bundled papers and plastic bags. Dense smoke and ammonia fumes were so thick firefighters couldn’t use the stairwell and had to employ “jet axes” to cut into concrete walls. To categorize, was it (1) a good fire? Unless you’re Jack London in the Yukon, there’s no such thing. (2) Was it a bad fire? Yes, but no fatalities. (3) Was it a dangerous fire? Oh boy.

From the Aug. 12, 1970 Forest Park Review

30 years ago

The following storm news is old news. It was new news when published here July 23, 1980. What with meat plants barbequing themselves in the 1970s and two-time “basement fillers” bringing us nearly to tears this year, it just shows that “if it ain’t one thing, it’ll be two others.” Following is an account of the rainstorm’s damage here – not this summer – but 30 years ago:

“Fierce winds ripped through Forest Park Sunday night for the third time in as many weeks, snapping branches from trees and leaving south side residents without electricity. One of the most dramatic examples of the wind’s destructive force was when a tree on Elgin was uprooted and a section of sidewalk lifted off with it. If not sightings, there was speculation that a funnel cloud had touched down and bounced up.

This is being written in present time on Sunday, August 29, 2010, a warmish day. If we run out of luck and get slammed by a Winnebago-sized meteorite, remember, if it ain’t one thing ….

From the July 22, 1980 Forest Park Review

20 years ago

For the record, not everybody here was gung-ho about our new public library. The village council, though expected to OK a tax increase referendum, was hardly unanimous in support of the building’s cost. Those dissenting were opposed to a $3.75 million facility. Only Mayor Popelka and Commissioners Dan Watts and Maureen Booth favored a referendum at this figure. The cost of the library when it opened in October, 1995 was $3 million.

F.Y.I. Not to slam our library, but Oak Park – a different town altogether – opened the doors to its much lauded 3-story facility eight years later. The job came in on time and under budget as dictated by a $30 million tax referendum which, by the way, passed first time around.

From the August 1, 1990 Forest Park Review

10 years ago

At 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, a westbound minivan turning left from

Washington Blvd. onto Desplaines Ave. collided with northbound motorcyclist James (Jimmy) Giblin, 25, and was dragged 400 feet as the van continued south. Witnesses told Officer Mike Murphy that the vehicle neither slowed nor stopped. The driver was a 40-year-old man who, like Giblin, was from Forest Park. He soon confessed to police, and after investigation, faced a possible 14 years in prison.

Jimmy could easily be called the typical all-American young man. Born here, schooled here and at Immaculate Conception High in Elmhurst, he was always popular, one of the guys. After playing in a league dart tournament, that fateful evening, he stepped out to get a sandwich at Submarine Tender and never came back.

He was an avid and “very valuable” softball player who took part in several No-Glove Tournaments here. Next morning his family and many friends gathered at the site of the accident. Leaving a floral wreath, they took with them their emptiness.

From the July 19, 2000 Forest Park Review