Palatine remembers 3 fallen firefighters 43 years later

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Forty-three years ago Tuesday was the worst day in the history of the Palatine Fire Department. (WLS)

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.

John Tobin, who restored fire truck, was a high school student 43 years ago. He remembers rushing to the fire and seeing his own firefighter father working at the scene. Tobin became a firefighter himself and never forgot that truck. He tracked it down for years as it was sold to other fire departments and was finally able to buy it back for Palatine.

"It has only 15,000 miles on it," he said. "We're fortunate to have it... it's a preserved relic."

"It was a tough day," said Lt. Bill Noland, who was on the roof of Ben Franklin that day and is still with PFD.

Tobin hopes to continue this memorial to his heroes. The truck will make appearances through the year at public events in Palatine. He also plans to drive it around town on Sundays.

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firedeadly firePalatine
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