Press Release 1
Carpentersville mourns fire battalion chief called 'cornerstone' of department
By Mike Danahey and Grace Wong
Elgin Courier-News |
Jul 19, 2017 at 3:08 PM
Carpentersville Fire Battalion Chief Todd Middendorf died unexpectedly Tuesday. He was 46.
The village of Carpentersville is mourning the unexpected death Tuesday of Fire Battalion Chief Todd Middendorf.
"He was basically one of the cornerstones of the department," Fire Chief John-Paul Schilling said. "He was well-loved within the entire region."
Middendorf, 46, was a resident of Carpentersville and member of the local fire department for 23 years, starting as a part-timer in 1994 and moving to full time in 1997, Schilling said. Middendorf functioned in the role of acting deputy chief and assisted in the administration of the department, the chief said.
The firefighter and paramedic is survived by his wife, Daisy, and young son, Tyler.
"He was the type of person that was never in a bad mood," the chief said. "He had great command presence in emergency incidents, and he was what all firefighters strive to be."
A Facebook post shared by the local police department and the Carpentersville Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 4790 union said Middendorf's death was "sudden and unexpected."
Schilling declined to comment on the circumstances of Middendorf's passing but confirmed it occurred off-duty.
"It's just a lot to process," Schilling said. "The whole department is grieving along with the family and, in the same respect, we still have a community to protect. We're doing well with that, but it's just working through this. The next few days are going to be difficult for everybody; but the fire service has a great support network built in, and we are extending that support network to the family to ensure that they are well taken care of."
Carpentersville Village President John Skillman said he and fellow board members learned about Middendorf's death about 10 minutes into their meeting Tuesday night.
Skillman was a Carpentersville firefighter-paramedic himself for about 30 years and served as chief for about a year before retiring in spring 2016.
Middendorf "worked his way up through the ranks," Skillman said. "He was a great firefighter and paramedic, and we're devastated by his untimely death."
Skillman said he also was friends with Middendorf, and the two were neighbors in Carpentersville for a number of years.
"He was a carpenter by trade, and he would help me out with projects around the house," Skillman said. "And he always supported me fully when I was chief. Over the years, we went to fires, accidents, drownings — and you could always count on Todd to do the right thing. He'd always be there when you needed him."
Skillman recalled a call from 20 years ago where Middendorf helped save the life of a soon-to-be-born baby.
According to reports, it was Middendorf's first call as a paramedic in March 1997. He and three other Carpentersville firefighter-paramedics responded to an accident involving a woman who was eight months pregnant.
The woman showed no signs of life, but the crew knew they might save the child if they kept working, sending blood and oxygen through the mother and baby still in her womb.
Alerted by the paramedics, the hospital's trauma and obstetrics teams and a neonatologist were waiting at Elgin's Sherman Hospital and performed a rare postmortem C-section, saving the newborn's life.
A memorial service for Middendorf is being planned, officials said.
Mike Danahey is an Elgin Courier-News reporter; Grace Wong is a Chicago Tribune reporter.