BCFPD firefighters train regularly to prepare for practically any public safety challenge, but relocating a 19th century house from downtown Barrington to a residential property in Barrington Hills is an assignment that doesn’t appear too frequently on the Fire Department’s training calendar.

The house in question stood at the corner of Wool and East Station Streets in downtown Barrington for nearly 100 years (having already been moved once before).  Upon learning that the house was slated for demolition to make room for new development, Barrington Hills resident Jeff Baustert and his wife, Chris, took possession of it and began planning its move to their property.

“We wanted a guest house for our property and felt that this particular structure had tremendous potential,” Mr. Baustert, an independent filmmaker, recalled.  “The house itself has great character, and it had survived several different phases of area development over the years.  We were never going to be able to build a 150-year-old house for our property, so we decided to move this one instead.”

Transporting a 1,500 square-foot house roughly two miles – over railroad crossings, beneath utility lines, and through area traffic – required a “big picture” approach.  BCFPD Assistant Chief Scott Motisi was among the local public safety officials who accepted the challenge.

Assistant Chief Motisi represented the BCFPD on a regional planning group that reviewed options for safely transporting the historic structure to its new Barrington Hills location.  Guiding their efforts was the need to minimize potential hazards, and ensure that emergency professionals could immediately deliver rapid response services, if necessary, while continuing to effectively cover the 48-square mile District in its entirety.

On the day of the move, the BCFPD dispatched an advanced life support (ALS)-equipped “tender” that carries 2,000 gallons of water, and a rough terrain response vehicle to ensure the safety of residents as the house arrived at its new destination.

“The width of the house as it was being transported on the flatbed took up the entire road, making it impossible for arriving emergency vehicles from outside the area to reach people in need,” Assistant Chief Motisi recalls.  “We positioned our vehicles ‘ahead’ of the house as it was being moved into its new street – ensuring we would be able to provide EMS and fire suppression coverage for nearby residents who may otherwise have been cut off from emergency responders.”

Assistant Chief Motisi is proud of the firefighters who contributed to the operation.  He reported that the initiative was successfully completed with no injuries, and ahead of schedule.

“I speak for the entire Department in saying we were proud to play a role in helping Mr. and Mrs. Baustert achieve their goal.  It proved to be an interesting, rewarding assignment.”

“We thank Assistant Chief Motisi and the BCFPD firefighters for their professionalism and enthusiasm during our ‘moving day,’” Mr. Baustert adds.  “It was a pleasure working with them, and we admire their dedication to protecting us and our neighbors.”

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