IFLODD: Firefighter Memorial

Firefighter Record

Firefighter Details

Name Arthur Tullis
Agency La Grange Park Fire Department
Rank Chief
Type of Firefighter Part-time (paid)
Age Range 61 to 70
Sex Male
Date of Birth 9/11/1937
Date of Death 5/4/1999
Cause of Death Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death Heart attack
Attribute of Death [not applicable]
Type of Duty Responding to/returning from incident

Incident Details

Incident Name N/A
Incident City La Grange Park
Incident State IL
Incident Date 5/4/1999 15:30
Incident Location Public assembly
Incident Attribute False alarms

Incident Summary

On May 4, 1999, Chief Arthur “Bucky” Tullis of the La Grange Park Fire Department died in the line of duty while responding to an automatic fire alarm at the Bethlehem Woods Retirement Center. Tullis arrived on the scene at around 3:30PM, four minutes after the alarm was received, and began to investigate the cause of the alarm activation. After making initial contact with a building representative, Tullis exited the building to begin command operations for incoming fire apparatus.

Upon exiting the building, Tullis suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the front driveway of the complex. Personnel from the first arriving fire company, Ambulance 1115, began resuscitative efforts, and they were soon assisted by firefighters from Truck 1119. Shortly thereafter, Engines 1212 and 1222 arrived and secured the fire scene. Tullis was transported to La Grange Memorial Hospital, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 5PM.

Funeral services for Tullis were held at Village Church on May 8, and he was buried at Parkholm Cemetery. More than two hundred mourners marched in procession behind the fire apparatus that carried the casket from the church to the cemetery.

Tullis joined the La Grange Park Fire Department in 1964 and served for thirty-five years. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1978, to captain in 1986, and to deputy chief in 1986. When Chief Gil Welch retired from the department in 1987, he handpicked Tullis as his replacement. During his twelve years as chief, Tullis was the only salaried firefighter in the paid-on-call department. From the mid-1950s until his retirement in 1994, Tullis worked full-time as a lineman for Ameritech.

Beginning in 1995, Tullis spearheaded a major effort to raise $85,000 for a new ambulance by selling engraved bricks that were installed in a “Walk of Life” outside of the La Grange Park Village Hall. At the time of his death, the “Walk of Life” fundraiser had collected more than $80,000 in donations.

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