Press & Media
  1. BCR News - 01/28/15

  2. A quick drop in evening temperatures on Monday, Jan. 26 created slick roads and treacherous road conditions for travelers. Local 911 dispatchers and first responders were tied up most of the night with several weather-related accident calls throughout the county. Bureau County Sheriff Jim Reed reported his office responded to 19 accidents throughout the evening. While traffic was slowed on many roads due to the accidents, he confirmed there were no road closures. The Princeton Fire Department also had a busy evening. On Tuesday, Jan. 27, Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley sent out a full report on three weather-related accidents first responders were called to throughout the evening. The first was at 5:09 p.m. on Interstate 180 near Mile Marker 10.5. “We found a single vehicle which lost control on ice-covered roads and went into the median,” he stated. “There was one occupant in (the) vehicle, which was out under own power.” Princeton ambulance transported the occupant to Perry Memorial Hospital, and Bureau County Sheriff’s Office filed the report. First responders were called out again at 5:27 p.m. to Interstate 180 near Mile Marker 5 for a single-vehicle accident that had lost control on the ice-covered road and went into the median, rolling on its side. “All occupants were out of (the) vehicle,” Woolley stated. “There were three victims in this accident, and there were no injuries reported.” Illinois State Police filed the report. Upon arrival, the 10-33 Ambulance of Spring Valley was requested for mutual aid due to units tied up on another call. The third accident occurred at 6:19 p.m. on Interstate 80 near Mile Marker 58. According to Woolley, the accident involved an RV, which had been pulling a car, and another SUV. The RV was found in the median of the highway. “There was only one occupant in the RV and SUV. Both were out of their vehicles and were not injured,” he said. Illinois State Police also completed the report on this accident. In talking about weather-related accidents, Reed reminded how, in many cases, accidents can be prevented if drivers slow down, take their time and drive defensively. Comment on this story at

BCR News - 01/09/2015

City of Princeton warning: Buried fire hydrants create safety hazard

PRINCETON — With the first significant snow of the year, the Princeton Fire Department reminds residents to keep fire hydrants in their neighborhoods clear of snow.

“People removing snow from their driveways and sidewalks can cause fire hydrants to be hidden from view,” said Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley. “Even city snowplows can cover hydrants. The plow drivers don’t even know it, but someone who lives near it does. And, they are the people who will depend on us finding the hydrant and being able to use it quickly, in the event of a fire.”

Fire hydrants should have a minimum of 3 feet of clear space around them, he added.

A hidden fire hydrant is useless to firefighters in an emergency.

“We look for the closest hydrant, but if we don’t see it, we are forced to look further away increasing the time it takes to set-up a water supply,” Woolley said.

Digging-out a fire hydrant takes time and manpower away from saving lives and property, if it can even be found.

“It’s generally accepted that the size of a fire will double every minute; some say every 30 seconds. If it takes us an additional five minutes to locate or get to a hydrant, the fire is growing, and there may be nothing we can do about it,” Woolley said.

He suggests residents look around neighborhoods and make sure hydrants are visible and accessible to firefighters.

“We need water to put out fires. We need people to help us do that by keeping hydrants available to us,” Woolley said.