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Local

DeKalb Fire Department invites community to fire truck dedication

DeKALB – The DeKalb Fire Department is inviting the community to a dedication ceremony for the city’s newest fire truck.

The dedication ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Fire Station 1, 700 Pine St., DeKalb.

The city spent $420,000 last year to buy the 2008 Pierce Quantum 105-foot aerial ladder truck. Northern Illinois University contributed $275,000 as part of its fire service agreement with the city.

The new truck replaces a 1990 Grumman aerial ladder truck, nicknamed “Big John,” after 26 years of service.

Big John was named for former DeKalb Fire Department Capt. John Isom, who was influential in the design of the truck.

He died from a fire service-related illness before the truck was put into service, according to a news release from the fire department. The city bought Big John, a 102-foot ladder truck, for $473,000 in 1990, according to Daily Chronicle reports from the time.

The new truck will be named “Rip Roaring” as a tribute to former DeKalb Fire Chief Albert “Al”
Riippi.

The name was chosen by the community in a voting contest. “Rip Roaring” won the contest with 77 percent of the 636 votes, beating out “Spirit of DeKalb” and “The Baron.”

Riippi retired in 1986 after almost 30 years of service. He grew up in DeKalb, graduated from DeKalb High School and played football for what was then Northern Illinois Teachers College.

He also played semi-pro football for the Aurora Clippers and Rockford Golden Eagles. He tried out for the Green Bay Packers in 1952, but knee injuries ended his football career.

Riippi first joined the fire department in 1949 after serving in the U.S. Navy.

He left the city in 1952, but later returned and rejoined the fire department in 1959. He was appointed acting chief in late 1978 and was made the permanent chief the following year, according to Daily Chronicle archives.

After the ceremony, firefighters will be available to answer questions and give tours of the station and fire equipment.

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