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Friday, April 18, 2014
Report: More Chicago Firefighters Suspended for Falsifying Mileage Records    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Another group of Chicago Fire Department personnel has been suspended for falsifying thousands of dollars worth of mileage reimbursement claims, according to a report released Thursday by the city's top internal watchdog. In all, 17 firefighters and paramedics in the Fire Prevention Bureau and Public Education Unit were paid more than $35,000 in 2009 for mileage they never traveled on the job, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson's latest quarterly report states. Many allegedly falsified records to claim the maximum allowed $350 in monthly payments. All but one, who retired, were suspended without pay for 30 to 45 days. Ferguson had recommended that all be fired, but the city noted a prior failure to make that punishment stick in a related case. In 2011, Ferguson recommended firing all but one of 54 firefighters assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau who falsely claimed a total of $100,000 in mileage claims during 2009. Fire Department officials moved to fire four of those firefighters and suspend the rest, but an arbitrator reversed the firings.
Chicago Tribune

Boy, 15, pulled from pond in Woodstock dies    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 15-year-old boy who was pulled from a pond in Woodstock on Thursday night after spending at least 90 minutes underwater has died, officials said today. According to the McHenry County Coroner's office, the Crystal Lake boy died at Centegra Woodstock Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. Thursday night. The office along with the McHenry County Sheriff's police are investigating his death, according to a press release. An autopsy is scheduled for later today.He was found in eight feet of water in the pond, in the 6100 block of Haligus Road, about 10:35 p.m. and taken to Centegra Hospital in critical condition where he later died, according to a release from the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department.Crews were called to the pond about 9 p.m. because the teen was missing and believed to be in the water, the release stated. Firefighters searched the shallow areas until aid from surrounding towns arrived that allowed the responders to search deeper waters.
Chicago Tribune

Fire destroys Heyworth mobile home    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Fire destroyed a Heyworth mobile home Thursday afternoon, but no one was injured. Firefighters were called about 12:45 p.m. to the double-wide mobile home at 315 N. Willis St., according to Randolph Township Fire Chief Dennis Powell. The fire started near the water heater, he said. "There was heavy smoke and flames coming from the front half," he said of the scene when firefighters arrived. "Smoke and flames were coming out of every opening." Someone was home at the time and reported the fire, Powell said. He did not identify its three residents. No estimate of the loss was available Thursday night. The mobile home was not insured, but American Red Cross of the Heartland was assisting the residents, he said. The fire was under control in about 45 minutes, and firefighters remained on the scene until about 4 p.m., he said.
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Willamsfield volunteer firefighter arrested for arson    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A volunteer firefighter from Willamsfield, Illinois is under arrest, accused of setting a number of fires in Knox County. Blake Walsh was taken into custody Wednesday. Investigators had been looking into a series of incidents where hay bales and grassy areas were set ablaze in the Williamsfield area. Two dumpster fires in Galesburg were also linked to the investigation. The Knox County Sheriff's Department, Galesburg Police Department, and the Galesburg and Willamsfield Fire Departments worked together to identify Walsh as the person they say set the fires. As of Thursday afternoon Walsh was in the Knox County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
WHBF-TV Rock Island Eyewitness News 4


Thursday, April 17, 2014
Lawmakers propose emergency responder task force   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The deaths of a Central Illinois firefighter and police officer could lead to a task force that would focus on decreasing fatalities among emergency responders. Hudson firefighter Chris Brown was killed March 5, 2013, while at the scene of an accident on Interstate 39 near Hudson. Pontiac K-9 Officer Casey Kohlmeier was killed Oct. 30 while stopped in a median turnaround on Interstate 55 near Pontiac.Brown was a high school classmate of state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, sponsor of a pending bill in the Illinois Senate. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, is co-sponsor."Illinois continues to lose an alarming number of first responders in the line of duty as they respond to calls on our interstates, highways and county roads," Rose said. "Being a first responder, transportation or highway worker presents certain dangers and we must examine ways to reduce the number of fatalities."
Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph

Chicago police officers who saved kids from fire: ’You just have to do what you need to do’   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The smoke was too strong for them to get inside the house, but the two Chicago police officers heard children screaming for help from the top floor. “At that time, it was just, ‘We've got to figure out something to do to get the kids,'” said Officer Kevin Tate, who spotted the fire while on patrol Tuesday evening on the Far South Side and sped to the scene with his partner, Officer Samanthia Smith. With the help of a couple of neighbors, Smith and Tate coaxed the 8- and 15-year-old boys to jump from a second-story window and into their arms. “I think the first one was the hardest,” Smith said. “I kind of like begged him — like, ‘C'mon, we're going to catch you, just come on. Come on and get out.'” After they caught the 8-year-old, the teen also leaped to safety. Neither boy was seriously injured. Firefighters who arrived on the scene moments later rushed inside to save a man trapped on the top floor. He was alert while walking to an ambulance, but he was taken to a hospital in serious-to-critical condition.
Chicago Tribune

Rolling Meadows Picks Fire Station Plan; Referendum Possible   view comments tweat me share on facebook
And the beat goes on. After 2-1/2 hours of discussion Tuesday night following more than a year of research, resident input and four community forums, the Rolling Meadows Committee of the Whole approved by a vote of 4-3 to move forward with a proposal to relocate both city fire stations. The vote was in support of Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote’s recommendation aimed at meeting the changing needs of the community and addressing conditions of the existing fire stations. The vote directed Franzgrote and city staff to develop an overarching plan which would include costs, locations, a timeline and more to present to the city council in the near future for review. At the same time, Ald. John D’Astice (6th), who voted against the proposal to move both fire stations, asked Mayor Tom Rooney if the fire station question could be put to voters in November in a referendum. The mayor said yes and it is expected that a fire station referendum proposal could be put forth at the next city council meeting, possibly on Tuesday, Apr. 22. “I was surprised with the vote,” Rooney told the Journal & Topics Tuesday night. “I did not think moving the two stations option would get a majority of the vote. But I am pleased. The discussion and the voting moved quickly, reasonably and amicably.
Journal & Topics Newspapers Online

New Equipment Helps Plainfield Fire Dept. Load, Unload Patients Into Ambulances   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Plainfield Fire Protection District this week announced that its ambulances are now equipped with the Power Load cot fastener system, which automatically lifts and lowers cots into and out of the ambulances with the touch of a button. The cot is either lifted into the ambulance and automatically steered and fastened into place, or released and lowered to the ground, the fire department said in a press release. The purpose of the power-load cot fastener system is to prevent back injuries to personnel while lifting the cot and is safer for both the patient and EMS personnel, according to the release. "The power-loading cot fastener system is very good and it is definitely saving our backs," paramedic Jack Jirgl said. "At first I was neutral to them but since using them for two weeks, I now see the benefit of them since it reduces the need to lift people, I can see how this will reduce back injuries.”
Plainfield Patch

Pekin Police, Fire Department and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Dept.; "Battle of the Badges"   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Emergency departments that usually have to work together, went head-to-head for a good cause today. The Pekin Police Department, fire department, and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department all competed to see which would recruit the most blood donors. It’s all a part of the “Battle of the Badges.” Emergency crews are often faced with situations where blood is needed, so they were ready to take action for the cause. “I think firsthand in the field a lot of times firefighters and police officers see the need for blood on a daily basis. So, we kind of reflected on what we can do to help the community by donating blood on behalf of the badges,” said Jamie Evans, of the Pekin Fire Department.
WMBD-TV Peoria







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