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Thursday, May 5, 2016
Carpentersville rescinds firefighter layoffs    view comments tweat me share on facebook
After working out a deal with the Carpentersville firefighters union, village officials agreed to rescind the layoffs of two full-time firefighters. In turn, the Carpentersville Professional Firefighters Union, IAFF Local 4790, is dropping all pending grievances amid ongoing contract negotiations, Union President Rick Nieves said. "This was a goodwill gesture on the village's part to move the process forward in a positive fashion," Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said. "It was graciously reciprocated by the union." Layoff notices for the two firefighters went into effect April 22, after which union representatives voiced their intent to take the issue to an arbitrator. Not more than two weeks later, the two parties were able come to an understanding "without a costly legal battle," Nieves said. The firefighters will return to work Friday and Saturday, Rooney said. Collective bargaining negotiations continue Thursday.
Illinois Daily Herald - metered site

Cary Village Board mulls subsidizing fire district to prevent fractionalized dispatch    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Village Board is considering whether to provide the Cary Fire Protection District with a "financial bridge" to prevent the district from switching its dispatch services to McHenry's new facility and creating a fractionalized dispatch situation for the village. Village Administrator Chris Clark told the Committee of the Whole this week that the McHenry dispatch center called NERCOMM, which will be one of three in the county after state-mandated dispatch consolidation takes effect next year, offered the fire district an annual rate about $40,000 less than the offer from SEECOM. Currently, both Cary's police and fire services are dispatched through Crystal Lake-based SEECOM. The village of Cary is an equity partner in SEECOM, and Clark told board members it could not move village police to another dispatch center until bonds are paid off in December 2019. If the fire district jumped to McHenry's center, Clark said, all calls would be routed there and calls requiring police would require a transfer to SEECOM, which would lead to a short delay in response time and potential for "anomaly situations" where calls are not transferred properly. Police Chief Patrick Finlon said he was concerned about calls being handled by more than one dispatch center and the complications that could create.
Northwest Herald

Media investigation: Chicago Firefighter Accused Of Profiting Off Of Fire Victims    view comments tweat me share on facebook
He’s a Chicago firefighter and public servant, someone of trust. However questions are being raised about his side job for a company that does fire repairs. CBS 2’s Dave Savini investigates accusations of using his firefighter position to profit off fire victims. Devastation is what Rochelle Callaghan came home to in 2014. Her home burned after a power line fell on her deck and ignited a propane tank. She says fire restoration and board up companies lined her street hoping to get her business, but one man stood out. “He came up to me and said, ‘My name is Tom Brown. I’m a Chicago fireman. I can help you out in this situation,'” said Callaghan. Callaghan hired Brown and says he signed her repair contract claiming to own fire restoration business Pleasant Hill Construction, Inc. “He absolutely used his position as a fireman to gain my trust,” said Callaghan. She says Brown and the company collected $63,000 of fire insurance money before she fired them for numerous alleged building code shortcuts and shoddy work. The 2-Investigators tracked down Brown working at another fire restoration job in Chicago. He did not answer questions. CBS 2 learned he is under investigation by the Chicago Fire Department’s Internal Affairs division for allegedly soliciting fire victims.
CBS Chicago

Tri-Township Fire Protection District move closer to mutual aid plan    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Tri-Township Fire Protection District trustees have given the green light for an automatic mutual aid agreement between their fire crews and the Quincy Fire Department. Under a proposal that has been discussed for more than a month, Tri-Township and Quincy fire crews would respond to structural fires in an agreed area to give quicker response times for both departments. Mayor Kyle Moore said it might take another week or two for the agreement to come up for a vote before the Quincy City Council. Before it does, Moore wants to meet with Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning and individual aldermen to discuss the future of the city's fire protection system. "I want to get a clear direction from the council," Moore said. Henning said the agreement will be good for both departments. On the east side of town, Tri-Township, which has a station on 54th Street, would respond to structure fires even if they were in the city and generally east of 24th Street. City crews also would respond to structure fires outside city limits but within 5 miles of its fire stations to help Tri-Township. Quincy fire units will be especially helpful to the southwest and northwest of the city because of the relatively long driving distances for Tri-Township firetrucks. Tri-Township Fire Chief Rick Zaerr said the district has a population of about 12,000 in Riverside, Ellington and Melrose townships.
Quincy Herald-Whig

Appointments and promotions in Lincoln’s city departments    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Lincoln City Council approved the promotion of three firefighters and the hiring of a fourth on Monday night. The new firefighter will fill the vacancy left by the recently announced retirement of Captain Larry Spurling. Chief Miller said Monday that the new hire will be in for orientation this week and is expected to join a regular shift within a few weeks. He also announced that the department would begin testing for new firefighter candidates this June. Lieutenant Ty Johnson was promoted to Captain, effective immediately, and firefighter Brett Tripplett became the department’s newest lieutenant. Miller said that, within his new position, Johnson would be doing job performance reviews and training for A-shift. When it was Tripplett’s turn to go before the room, raise his right hand and be sworn-in, the Chief told the aldermen that the new lieutenant would be on C-shift and taking firefighters through local commercial buildings (referencing the department’s efforts to gain a better familiarity with the structures and conditions present in each in case of a larger scale emergency). Additionally, firefighter Robert Wood was promoted to Fire Inspector. Miller told the council that Wood would be working on B-Shift.
Lincoln Courier

Kitchen fire damages Alton building    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A man who left ground beef cooking on the stove while he went to the bathroom for around 10 minutes early Wednesday returned to the kitchen to find it ablaze. The flames, in a brick century-plus-old quadruplex in North Alton at 609 Mather St., burned the kitchen and dining area. There also was smoke damage to the bedroom, living room and bathroom in the second floor unit, said Chief Bernie Sebold of the Alton Fire Department. “It is not habitable,” he said of that apartment, but the other three units in the building are OK in which to live. Sebold said the tenant did not have renters insurance, but he does have family to stay with. There were no injuries in the fire, but the chief said a woman living in the other upstairs unit later took an ambulance to a local hospital emergency department to be checked out for any smoke inhalation. Sebold said when the tenant returned to the kitchen and discovered the flames, he pounded on the doors of the other three apartments to rouse the occupants. One of the other tenants called 911 at 4:05 a.m. Upon arrival, firefighters saw flames coming from two windows on that front, upper apartment, the chief said. “The residents all were out of the building and the firefighters pulled the hoseline up the exterior stairway to the apartment,” Sebold said. “The fire quickly consumed two rooms, the kitchen and the dining area.”
Alton Telegraph

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Williamson County: Toxic firefighting foam leading to water contamination?   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The military is checking U.S. bases for groundwater contamination due to a toxic chemical used to control petroleum fires. But some local fire departments are required to have this same chemical on-hand, leading to questions of public safety. Currently, Illinois agencies don't regulate how this foam is used. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to put out a health advisory on the chemical. "We used it a couple of years ago. We had to respond out to the interstate for a transport bus on fire," says Williamson County Fire Protection District Chief Jeremy Norris. Since his department serves the Williamson County Airport, Chief Norris says the FAA requires them to have the chemical on site. It also can be used in hazardous material spills and at oil refinery fires. But in Illinois, and 32 other states, it goes unmonitored. "When we apply it or resurface the vehicle, we always try to wear some type of gloves and eye protection for it, but other than that, no, there's really no guidance for it," says Norris. "The area where they're distributing this chemical can find it's way into a lake, pond, or stream. It doesn't just go to groundwater itself," explains Steven Esling, Geology chair at SIU.

Volunteer numbers down for East Alton area fire departments   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Paid-on-call firefighters live regular lives — get up, go to work, make dinner, relax in the evening, go to bed. Eat, sleep, repeat. But the pagers attached to their hips — even in today’s world of touch-screen cell phones and Apple watches, most paid-on-call firefighters are still issued the archaic paging devices — have the ability to interrupt that normal life at any moment. One call and they’re off, responding to a fire or medical emergency, often without even the luxury of stopping into a phone booth enjoyed by Clark Kent. It’s a life not for everyone, and area departments that rely on volunteer or paid-on-call firefighters are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit men and women willing to make the commitment. East Alton Fire Chief Rodney Palmer is among those who have noticed the trend. Palmer said his department currently has 10 paid-on-call firefighters; on its website, the department said it recently had 14. Palmer attributed the lower numbers to, simply, life. “It seems to me every volunteer and combination (volunteer and paid-on-call) department is having trouble with getting that type of help because everybody is busy,” he said. “To be a volunteer or a paid-on-call (firefighter), it takes a lot of time. There’s a lot of training involved. There’s meetings. It’s mostly the training requirements that are required of the volunteers and paid-on-call personnel. It takes a lot of time.”
Alton Telegraph

Man pulled from Chicago River near Ashland, Webster   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A man was pulled from the Chicago River Tuesday morning on the North Side. When Chicago Fire Department personnel and the Chicago Police Marine Unit responded to the north branch of the river near Ashland and Webster avenues about 5:30 a.m., the man was standing in waist-deep water, police said. An officer went into the water to assist the man and firefighters were able to lower a ladder and help them climb out, police said. The man, thought to be in his 50s, was taken in fair-to-serious condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, fire officials said. Police said it was unclear how or why the man ended up in the river.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

No injuries in Crest Hill attic fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters responded Tuesday to a house fire in Crest Hill. At 1:22 p.m., a passerby saw smoke coming from the roof of a home in the 21300 block of Renwick Road and called 911, according to Lockport Township Fire Protection District Chief Dave Skoryi. Renwick Road was closed from Gaylord Road to Grand Haven Boulevard as firefighters battled the blaze. Crews were able to extinguish the fire in 30 minutes, Skoryi said. "My guys did a real great job," he said. No one was home at the time of the fire, which started in the attic.

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