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Friday, May 29, 2015
Village of Barrington sues Barrington-Countryside fire protection district in pension dispute    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Village of Barrington is suing the Barrington-Countryside Fire Protection District for allegedly failing to pay more than $2 million in pension funds and other worker benefits. Filed in Cook County Circuit Court, the 128-page lawsuit stated the village issued pension liability invoices to the district, which has refused to pay them for about a year. The lawsuit seeks relief for damages, for breach of contract and for the unfunded pension. "We believe the District is trying to irresponsibly free itself from an obligation it has to our community," said Jeff Lawler, Barrington's village manager, in a statement. The fire protection district offers emergency services to a consortium of area towns, including Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington and Iverness, as well as unincorporated portions of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. In 2005, Barrington and the district formed an intergovernmental agreement whereby the village would provide fire protection and emergency medical services to the district, stated the lawsuit. However, disagreements over personnel levels and firefighting equipment terminated the agreement, and both parties let it expire on Dec. 31, 2013. For 19 years, both the village and the district provided services to a 45 square mile area around Barrington. But after the termination, the village issued the pension invoices based on the agreement's terms before it ended. The release also said for 19 years Barrington and the district agreed to use one actuarial method in calculating the village's portion of the firefighters' pension fund.
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Fire Service Institute: Study to examine cancer, heart risks for firefighters    view comments tweat me share on facebook
It's easy to imagine that in the risky job of firefighting, such events as collapsing buildings and explosions would cause most firefighter deaths. But sudden cardiovascular events are what cause most firefighter fatalities in the line of duty. And right along with them is another concern: an emerging link between firefighting and some cancers. A study launching next month at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute is poised to find out more about heart and cancer risks for firefighters by taking a rigorous, scientific look at how working in a realistic fire environment affects the body. "We're looking at the types of exposure that firefighters face on the fire ground," said Gavin Horn, director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute Research Center. How researchers plan to go about that: They will send 36 firefighters, some local and some not, into 12 different burn scenarios at a 1,200-square-foot ranch-style house on the Fire Service Institute campus from June 14-30. The structure was built specifically for this study, Horn said. "From the outside, it looks just like a house without any siding on it," he added. The firefighters will be tested and monitored before, during and after the fires, Horn said.

Police: Two dead in possible home invasion, arson in Chicago    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Police think a Southwest Side home where two people were found dead Thursday afternoon may have been invaded and set on fire. Carlos Herrera, 22, and 48-year-old Maria Herrera were found at the home in the 3600 block of West 55th Place about 2:50 p.m., police and the Cook County medical examiner's office said. They both lived in the same block. A source said the incident was initially reported as an explosion. Authorities later found no explosion had taken place, but that there had been a fire at the home. Detectives are investigating the incident as a home invasion and think someone may have set the home ablaze before fleeing, police said. The victims' specific injuries were not known early Friday. Fire officials could not provide details on the incident.
WFLD-TV MyFox 32 Chicago

Naperville Contractor Pleads Guilty To Setting Fire At FAA Radar Center In Aurora    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 37-year-old contractor from Naperville has pleaded guilty to setting a fire at an Aurora radar facility last fall, crippling Chicago’s two airports, and disrupting air traffic all across the U.S. Brian Howard, 37, entered his plea in federal court Thursday morning. He had been charged with willfully setting fire to, damaging, destroying or disabling an air navigation facility and using fire to commit a federal felony. He will face at least 10 years in prison, under a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Howard’s attorney, Ronald Safer, said he agreed to plead guilty so he can be sent to a prison capable of treating his mental health issues. Howard was working as a contract employee for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora last September, when he allegedly cut several cables in a basement telecommunications room, and then lit several fires, and tried to kill himself. He suffered burns on his body, and self-inflicted stab wounds on his arms. The damage he caused forced the FAA to shut down the Chicago ARTCC for more than two weeks, and halt all flights out of O’Hare and Midway airports for several hours until they could get a backup system running. The two airports were not able to resume normal operations for more than a week, and thousands of flights were canceled in Chicago as a result.
CBS Chicago

Update: Man beaten before Ashburn home set on fire, source says    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Officials said someone set a fire at an Ashburn home to cover up a violent attack. Tyrone Lowe, 50, was beaten in a home in the 3300-block of West Columbus Avenue before it was set on fire, sources said. His family said he is in critical condition at a local hospital. "I got a call at 5:30 this morning. It was a detective, and he let me know that the house had caught on fire and that my uncle was rushed to the hospital," Heaven Campbell said. Campbell said Lowe was staying at her mother's home to watch the family dog while she was away. "They say the dog got out, but the dog tried to help my uncle first. I guess he tried to wake him," Campbell said. The family dog survived. Sources said Lowe was found in a bedroom around 4:30 a.m. and the kitchen oven had been rigged to catch fire. That fire was struck by 6:30 a.m. "There's a lot of rumors. A lot of questions. And not enough answers," neighbor Jaime Alonso said.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Thursday, May 28, 2015
"Suspicious Fire" Leaves Chicago Man Critically Injured   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A “suspicious” fire left a man in his 70s critically injured on Chicago's Southwest Side Thursday, officials said. The fire was sparked around 4:30 a.m. at a home in the 3300 block of West Columbus Drive, fire officials said. A man in his 70s was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition, according to Commander Frank Velez with the Chicago Fire Department. The fire had been put out as of 5:45 a.m. but the cause of the blaze remained under investigation. Arson investigators were at the scene of the blaze and the fire appeared to be suspicious, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.
NBC Chicago

Firefighter bill would allow older veterans to take exam   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A bill that could allow some older veterans to become firefighters has just passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday. House Bill 3203 says that active duty or reserve members of the military between the ages of 35-40 would be allowed to take the firefighting exam, and if they pass could become firefighters. As of now, no one over the age of 35 is allowed to take the firefighting exam. Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning says any bill that helps veterans is a good idea. "A lot of times veterans forgo the traditional route of seeking a job, they may not go to college right out of the back, they may enlist directly into the military and these are people that are willing to lay down their lives to go out and serve their citizens of their country," Henning said. "And if we can give them a little bit of a hand up, but not a handout by any means because they're certainly working to get these jobs." House Bill 3203 is now going to the governor's desk, no word on if or when he'll sign.
WGEM-TV Quincy

Follow Up: Former Lake Zurich fire chief pleads not guilty to charges   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Lake Zurich's former fire chief pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake County Circuit Court to domestic battery. Lake Zurich fire chief charged with battery to be paid $105K for unused time off David Wheelock retired May 8 after being charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery for an incident stemming from a May 4 altercation with an individual at his home on the 21000 block of West Highland Drive. Wheelock and his attorney, Christina Ivashchenko, declined to comment on the case. Ivashchenko has previously stated that her client would defend himself against "erroneous charges." If found guilty, Wheelock could spend a year in jail, pay up to $2,500 in fines, or both. An active member of the community, Wheelock, 54, spent the past year as president of the Rotary Club of Lake Zurich, and was honored last summer by the village for 35 years of service. A Pioneer Press report Tuesday found that Wheelock is due to receive $105,000 in accrued time off, as well as an annual $90,000 pension, as part of his retirement package.
Chicago Tribune

Orland Hills Firefighter Rocks the Stage at Genesee Theatre’s Battle of the Bands   view comments tweat me share on facebook
On Saturday May 30, Faith in the Fallen (FITF), a local rock band from Chicago's Southwest Suburbs will be competing in the Genesee Theatre's Battle of the Bands sponsored by 103.9 The Fox for a chance to donate $1000 to a local charity. If FITF wins the competition, they've chosen to donate to the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance's (IFSA) Camp "I Am Me"-a summer camp program offered annually for children and teenagers who have experienced injuries from burns. FITF Lead guitar player and veteran fire fighter James Pape recommended the charity when FITF was selected to perform. James has been a firefighter for almost 25 years working in Lemont early in his career, but has been serving in the Village of Orland Hills since 1996. Throughout all of the years serving the community he's been addressing another passion-shredding the electric guitar. Inspired by greats like Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Vai, James has emerged as an amazing local talent-blowing away audiences since joining Faith in the Fallen three years ago with his level of skill and precision since.
Chicago Tribune

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