Chicago Public School hiring preference not the only thing irking firefighters
A controversial hiring preference for Chicago Public School graduates is not the only thing that has angered union leaders about the December firefighters entrance exam that will be the city’s first in nearly a decade. So has a requirement that, although 18-year-olds are now permitted to take the exam, they must first produce a high school diploma or GED.
Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2, said that will literally force “hundreds, if not thousands” of 18-year-old high school seniors born after Sept. 1 to make a choice that could hamstring their career development.
The problem was created by the city’s decision to lower the eligibility age to attract a broader pool of candidates. In the past, you had to be 19 to sit for the exam. The new test will be open to anyone who turns 18 before Dec. 31, 2014.
“They’ll either have to quit school and get their GED before the exam or miss the chance to take this test and wait years for the next one,” Ryan said.
Seven Rockford Fire Stations without Emergency Fire Sprinklers
There are seven Rockford fire stations without emergency fire sprinklers. It’s ironic that the men within are tasked with fighting fires, although they themselves aren’t equipped with potentially life-saving systems.
The Rockford Fire Department received a grant for $247,710 from FEMA, and the money will go to installing sprinkler systems in four of the stations.
The sprinkler systems are crucial in keeping both the firefighters, as well as the equipment, safe. With people in the stations twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, installing sprinklers has been a priority.
"We’ve been applying for grants to have our stations outfitted for probably the last three or four years, and we were fortunate enough to be awarded this time,” said Derek Bergsten, the Chief of the Rockford Fire Department.
The Rockford Fire Department knows first hand how valuable these protective measures are—especially after one of their own fire engines caught fire one night.
The fire happened in the middle of the night, and fortunately, the alarm and the sprinklers went off, suppressing the fire enough so that it didn’t spread to the rest of the station. The firefighters were then able to extinguish the remaining amount of fire.
Building buckles, falls in downtown Pekin
A downtown Pekin building partially collapsed Wednesday afternoon for unknown reasons. A wall on the back section of the former Timothies Interiors, 405 Court St., buckled suddenly and crushed two parked cars beneath it.
Pekin Assistant Fire Chief Rick Bowman said he had no idea what caused the building to collapse. He said firefighters shut off natural gas at two gas meters in an attempt to stop the flow of gas.
Ameren employees came to the scene to shut down the gas at the main connection because a meter was crushed under the falling brick and wood.
Bowman said there were no injuries. The vehicles belonged to Muse Salon employees Jackie Wurth and Michael Boester. They said they were at work and had parked their cars behind the former Larkin Home Bakery next door to Timothies Interiors several hours prior to the collapse. One car was completely buried and the other was likely totalled but visible after the debris settled.
Pekin Code Enforcement Officer Ron Sieh responded to the scene and evaluated the building. He said he was not positive of the reason for the collapse, but a quick glance indicated that the roof had been leaking for some time and the back of the building became structurally compromised.
Read more: http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20140820/News/140829881#ixzz3B2jnZDtu
Pekin Daily Times
Firefighters find marijuana growing operation behind false wall of burned Peoria home
An attic fire ultimately alerted police to a marijuana growing operation hidden behind a false wall in the basement of a West Bluff home over the weekend. The call for the blaze at 1121 N. Orange St. came at 7:38 a.m. Sunday, and firefighters arrived within a few minutes. The crew contained the flames to the attic, where the fire caused an estimated $30,000 in damage.
But they found something unusual while checking the house for occupants or other fires, according to police.
“As the fire department went through and cleared the house, in the basement there was a false wall,” said Peoria police Capt. Loren Marion III. “When they went back there, there was a grow operation.”
Homeowner Steven Reeves, 29, arrived home while police and firefighters were on the scene. Officers took him to the police station, where he refused to answer questions or give police consent to search his house.
Investigators obtained a search warrant and found 179 marijuana plants behind the false wall in various stages of growth, Marion said.
Peoria Journal Star