This Memorial Day weekend marks the 43rd Anniversary of the Totem Lumber Fire on 25th Avenue. The fire started on the Saturday shortly after lunch on Memorial Day weekend 1976. George Kubalewski was the shift commander. Walter Siwek was the Fire Chief.
Totem Lumber opened in Schiller Park in 1958.
The fire burned for 36 hours. Under the fire department mutual aid agreements 14 fire departments responded with almost all 100 firefighters. Fire engines pumped water to the scene from as far away as 25th and Irving and Leland and 25th. No neighboring properties were damaged. That was an era when Charles V Leiser, Bill Schultz, Reno Biasi, Chester Kwiat, Herb Milnes, Carl Schuyler, Robert Ritt, Gerry Phipps were on the Schiller Park Fire Department.