Woman Found Dead In Burning Barrington Home
An elderly woman was found dead inside a burning house in unincorporated Barrington early Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies were called about 1:15 a.m. to the fire at a home in the 21000 block of North 21st Street, according to a statement from the Lake County sheriff’s office.
When the deputies arrived, the house was “fully engulfed in flames,” the sheriff’s office said.
The Barrington Countryside Fire Department said a woman was found dead in the home.
According to the sheriff’s office, the body was found in an upstairs bedroom and is believed to be the 88-year-old homeowner, although positive identification is pending through the Lake County coroner’s office.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation Saturday morning by the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division, the Barrington Countryside Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office.
Firefighter staffing law continues to ignite debate in Lake Forest
A few years ago, four firefighters worked each shift at the station on the west side of Lake Forest. Now, says Lt. Andy Allan, president of the Lake Forest Professional Fire Fighters Union Local 1898, only two work there each shift, despite the union's efforts to fight reductions. In some cases, Allan said, that might mean only one firefighter going inside to investigate a potential fire, while the other works outside. "To have only two people at the station for responding to potential fires presents a whole slew of potential disasters. … If I go down, who's going to know?" Allan said.
But Lake Forest city officials say there's no evidence to support Allan's claim of increased risk, particularly when fire departments from nearby communities often respond to the same emergencies. Whichever side is right, when contract negotiations restart next year, Lake Forest firefighters — like those in every other community in the state — will have more muscle at the bargaining table because of a new law that says the number of firefighters in a town can be decided by an independent arbitrator if unions and municipalities can't hammer out an agreement.
Some say the "minimum manning" law's passage means more towns will consider privatization or consolidation of fire departments to avoid raising taxes or cutting other services. Or it could lead to public safety improvements, with more firefighters and paramedics available to respond to emergencies. It all depends on which side of the bargaining table you sit. "I think it could be the first step in privatization for a lot of fire departments, I really do," said Chief Pat Tanner of the West Chicago Fire Protection District. "If the unions push too hard, the municipalities will rethink it and privatize their fire departments."
Under state law, firefighters have collective bargaining rights. When issues of wages, hours or working conditions are unresolved, they can be subject to arbitration, the results of which are binding. The new law, signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn in his final days in office, adds staffing to the list of topics that can go to an arbitrator.
The West Chicago Fire Protection District, which serves West Chicago and several other DuPage County towns, already has a minimum staffing level — three per engine — in its contract, Tanner said, and likely won't be affected much by the law.
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Fox River fire district to seek tax rate increase
The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District’s board has voted 5-0 to seek a tax rate increase on the April 7 consolidated election ballot. Board President Jim Gaffney said the increase is being sought so the district can pay its firefighters higher wages, buy more equipment, meet the costs of maintaining its two firehouses and to set aside money if officials decide to establish a third firehouse at Crane and Bolcum roads in St. Charles Township.
The district, which serves residents in Wayne, Campton Hills and St. Charles Township, already owns the land that would be used for the third firehouse, Gaffney said.
The question asks voters in both Kane and DuPage counties if the extension limitation should “be increased from the lesser of 5 percent or the percentage increase in the consumer price index over the prior levy year to 12.5 percent for each of the levy years of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019?”
The ballot question also contains an explanation of how much additional tax would be collected each year, showing small staggered increases over five years, Gaffney said.
Gaffney said the increased amounts, to be collected on a house with a fair market value of $100,000, would be estimated to be $8.11 in 2015, $8.80 in 2016, $9.54 in 2017, $10.34 in 2018 and $11.21 in 2019.
Update: Sprinklers were shut off before massive Rockford warehouse fire
Leaky fire-suppression sprinklers that could have limited the damage or even stopped a Jan. 6 fire that destroyed an 89-year-old warehouse had been deactivated.
An investigation continues into the fire that consumed the building that was once home to the Rockford Cabinet Co. and most recently housed Asher Tool & Manufacturing, 1916 11th St., and a warehouse next door that had stored wooden pallets. Although a company, Robinette Demolition of Oakbrook Terrace, that specializes in fire investigations was hired for $10,000 to excavate parts of the building last week, the cause of the fire is listed as undetermined.
"We don't think that the sprinklers being shut off was related to the fire, meaning it wasn't like someone set the fire and shut off the sprinklers," said Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matthew Knott. The sprinkler system "was shut down months ago because of concerns about leaks and concerns with freezing."
The original 185,000-square-foot building was expanded several times for Carter Manufacturing Co., a longtime toy maker that closed in 1989. It was used by Asher Tool in the 1990s. The building had been vacant and used for storage until it sold in 2008 to Joseph Lazar of Gilberts, according to Winnebago County records.
Rockford Register Star
Proposed Bill in Congress Aims To Provide Incentives For Volunteer Firefighters
A recently proposed bill in Congress aims at helping those who put their lives on the line for others by providing them with financial incentives.
This legislation is already gaining bipartisan support that could help volunteer firefighters, and other first responders, by providing them with incentives for a job that they're already doing for free.
In the small town of Dawson, Illinois, a fire chief is struggling to find volunteers for his station.
"It has become increasingly harder to get people to volunteer just because of the sheer number of hours that are required," said Fire Chief Mike Abbott.
A station comprised solely of volunteers, last year they responded to 170 calls. Fire Chief Abbott says the demand for volunteers is going up - in a dangerous job environment that they're already doing for free.
"So it becomes a big time crunch for someone to want to volunteer and you have to try and provide some kind of incentive to make that happen," Says Abbott.
Incentives for these individuals are being proposed right now in Congress.
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