Carpentersville Fire Department to celebrate centennial

  • The Carpentersville Fire Department is having a parade and barbecue this weekend in honor of its 100th anniversary.

    The Carpentersville Fire Department is having a parade and barbecue this weekend in honor of its 100th anniversary. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/14/2015 1:39 PM

Some of Steve Zaccard's favorite memories are from his time as a firefighter at the Carpentersville Fire Department.

In 1970, Zaccard, who grew up in the village, joined the department as a volunteer firefighter at 18 years old. Throughout the years, he moved up to full-time firefighter, then lieutenant and then captain. He fought raging fires, chased criminals, delivered a baby. He became close with several other firefighters and would often go camping with them on their days off.


"Those are my favorite years," said Zaccard, who left Carpentersville in 1984 to become the fire marshal in St. Paul, Minnesota. "The people I worked with were awesome. It was a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

On Saturday, Zaccard will reunite with former co-workers -- and meet current firefighters -- at the Carpentersville Fire Department's 100th anniversary.

A parade starting 10 a.m. at Tamarac Drive and Maple Avenue will travel to Fire Station No. 91 at 213 Spring St. Richard C. Paul, Carpentersville's first fire chief, is the grand marshal, Fire Chief John Skillman said.

"We're just honoring the past firemen who worked here and volunteered a lot of their time," he said.

At the fire station, an open house and barbecue is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to the public.

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Though officials have been able to track down several former full-time firefighters, Skillman said, they are still hoping to reach out to more, including any part-time or volunteer firefighters who worked in Carpentersville.

"We want to get everybody together and talk about the old days," Skillman said. "And we want the young guys to see the retired members that made us what we are now."

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam will also be in attendance and will read a proclamation during the event, Skillman said.

Additionally, activities for kids will be set up at the station, including a fire pole and a smoke trailer. Firefighters will give tours of the station, as well.

For Zaccard, the experience will be a chance to reminisce with some of his closest friends.

"I'm hoping to see a number of people I had the pleasure of working with," he said. "We were not a wealthy city, not a wealthy department, but I think we did a darn good job together."

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