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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Danville council OKs budget that cuts firefighters    view comments tweat me share on facebook
There will be fewer firefighters battling fires in Danville next year as aldermen approved a new spending plan Tuesday night that reduces their ranks to 42 through either attrition, layoffs or both, The city's plan to trim its fire department and reduce personnel expenses, including rising pension costs, has been opposed for months by firefighters and some aldermen. But Tuesday night, the cuts generated little debate and garnered the support of most of the city council as the budget passed by a 9-3 vote with aldermen Mike O'Kane, Frank Hoskins and Sharon McMahon voting "no." Alderman Tom Stone was absent. The new budget, which will take effect May 1, includes funding for 42 firefighters compared to 51 in the previous spending plan. But the department was already undergoing a downsizing as the city has not replaced several firefighters who have either retired or resigned since Jan. 1. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said at Tuesday night's meeting there are 45 active firefighters in the department and there's a possibility that three more will retire or leave by May 1. McMahon asked the mayor what the city would do if that doesn't happen.
Champaign News-Gazette

4 firefighters hurt in Riverdale blaze; Firefighter issues Mayday call    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Four firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries while battling an extra-alarm blaze at a condominium building Tuesday in Riverdale, officials said. About 100 firefighters from departments all over the south suburbs responded to the fire in a three-story building within the Riverwood Condominiums at 137th Street and Stewart Avenue. The Riverdale Fire Department's deputy chief, Art Schweitzer, said he doesn't know how the firefighters were hurt, but said they will be OK. The injured firefighters were taken to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey and MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, Schweitzer said. Two are with Riverdale Fire, one is a Calumet Park firefighter and the fourth is with Markham. One civilian also complained of difficulty breathing, apparently because of asthma, Schweitzer said. He also said Riverdale police officers knocked on the doors of other residents in the building, helping them evacuate safely. The fire started about 5:15 p.m. in a second-floor unit at 13705 S. Stewart. At least five other units were damaged, Schweitzer said, most of them by smoke. Schweitzer said residents or families from those units were displaced. It's unclear where the fire started in the second-floor unit and the cause remains under investigation. Fire officials said the blaze was put out in 45 minutes.
Chicago Tribune

Carol Stream fire battalion chief terminated    view comments tweat me share on facebook
After months of disciplinary proceedings, Carol Stream Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Joseph Gilles has been terminated. On Monday, the district's board of trustees voted unanimously to confirm the board of commissioners' earlier recommendation to terminate Gilles. Gilles' hearing had centered on Fire Chief Richard Kolomay's allegations that Gilles failed to follow orders to sign a performance improvement plan. The plan outlined core issues with Gilles, including that he does not have the proper management and leadership skills, as well as goals for the battalion chief. By not signing the plan, Gilles violated four rules of conduct, according to the allegations. During the hearing, Gilles' attorneys argued that Gilles was never ordered to sign the plan, and that even if he was, that order would have been unlawful. They also have argued that Gilles fell out of favor with district superiors when he was asked to investigate possible acts of negligence by a paramedic involved in a 2012 incident call for a woman choking. The woman died a couple of days later. But the district's board of commissioners upheld the charges of misconduct earlier this year. Among its findings, the commissioners found that the chief did order Gilles to sign the performance plan and that the plan was a lawful order, according to board documents.
Illinois Daily Herald

Update: Landlord Sentenced to Life in Prison for Cicero Fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A landlord convicted of murder for a 2010 arson fire in Cicero that killed seven people, including two children, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole, the Chicago Tribune reports. Lawrence J. Myers, 64, was found guilty of seven counts of first-degree murder last month in a trial before Judge Carol Kipperman at the Maywood courthouse, court records show. Kipperman said if Illinois law allowed she would have sentenced Myers to death, according to The Tribune. Myers owned a struggling building in Wisconsin and conspired with building manager Marion “Andre” Comier to set the fire at Myers’ Cicero property to help his financial situation, prosecutors said at their bond hearings in March 2010.
NBC Chicago

Private Utility Company Discuss Empty Hydrants with Stateliners    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Residents of the Mulford Wildwoods Subdivision finally got a chance to meet with Utility Services of Illinois to discuss the flushing hydrants in their neighborhood that they thought were fire hydrants. Last month a fire broke out at a home in the subdivision, and the firefighters had trouble battling the blaze because the hydrants are flushing hydrants. Flushing hydrants are not meant to fight fires. The utility company says the hydrants were always flushing hydrants. The private utility company says the capacities inside of the flushing hydrants are not strong enough to fight a fire, and that the hydrants are simply for flushing. The water company suggested two ideas to residents to get water into the hydrants. One idea is purchasing water from Rockford. That would cost the company more than $350,000 dollars, which would ultimately make them raise the rates of customers. The company also says there is a chance Rockford would want to annex the subdivision if they decided to give them water.

Wood River fire chief commends first responders    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Advanced technology and quick responses has helped Wood River first responders save multiple lives in recent months. Wood River Fire Chief Steve Alexander said Monday that fire, police and EMS officials have revived four separate individuals since June after they were considered clinically dead or in full arrest at the time of arrival. Three of those individuals are expected to make a full recovery, Alexander said, and the fourth is experiencing other medical complications separate from the heart attack. Alexander and the Wood River City Council honored the first responders who assisted in each of the four incidents at Monday’s City Council meeting, with Alexander calling it “a remarkable achievement.” The four key elements to the city’s success in saving lives have been, according to Alexander, early defibrillation, advanced life support and the ability to administer cardiac drugs, the recently purchased LUCAS chest compression device, and “invaluable assistance that we receive from our police officers.” The live-saving administration of defibrillators by first responders is a testament to all the individuals who respond to EMS calls, Alexander said.
Alton Telegraph

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Firefighters battle house fire in Bowen   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters were battling a house fire in Hancock, County Illinois Monday afternoon. Crews responded to 108 Davis Street, in Bowen, shortly before 2 p.m. Thick heavy smoke was pouring from the home as firefighters fought the fire from all sides of the house. Crews gained access to the fire through windows and used axes to access it through the roof and other parts of the house. The house is significantly damaged. Neighbors say they heard a lot of commotion and came over to see what was going on. "I came out and saw all this commotion," Robert Builderback said. "At least 15 to 20 emergency vehicles right around the corner and the smoke was coming out of the house and when they broke the window and cut a hole in the tin roof it looked like they got a flash over." A friend of the family tells WGEM News she was next door working her home health job when a neighbor knocked and told her the house was on fire next door. The friend called 911. No one was home at the time of the fire. The friend says a woman lived in the house with her three children. Officials say they think the fire started in the attic.
WGEM-TV Quincy

Firefighters oppose reductions in Danville budget   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Danville firefighters believe plans to reduce their ranks and close one of the city's four stations puts the public — and them — at risk. Jerry Sparks, president of the Illinois Association of Firefighters Local 429, said Danville firefighters emphatically oppose the city's proposed spending plan for next year, which includes funding for only 42 firefighters (rather than the current 51) and closing one of the department's four stations in the city. "When you take emergency personnel away ... bad things will happen," Sparks said. "It's just the law of averages. There's no getting around it." City administration and firefighters, as well as aldermen, have been at odds for months over manning and funding of Danville's fire department. Like many municipalities across the state, Danville struggles with increasing pension costs, and with no control over the reduction in benefits, cities are trying to reduce those costs by cutting back on the number of firefighters. Some cities have turned to using part-time or volunteer firefighters, or even privatizing fire departments.
Champaign News-Gazette

Joliet Junior College Fire Science Technology Program Nationally Recognized   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Joliet Junior College Fire Science Technology program was nationally recognized with a Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) certificate in October. This acknowledgement means JJC's program met the standards established by FESHE professional development committees and the National Fire Academy. (NFA). JJC's program is only one of two programs in Illinois that was recognized for offering an associate degree in fire science technology. "This certificate allows our degree to be recognized nationally by fire departments in other states," said Duane Stonich, coordinator of the fire science technology program. "After graduating from JJC, many of our students go on to Southern Illinois University. Since SIU is also recognized with this certificate, this allows our students to have a seamless transfer to SIU to obtain a bachelor's in fire management. JJC is a perfect start for a student interested in the fire science field." The JJC Fire Science Technology program is coordinated with the Illinois State Fire Marshal Office and has the support of area mayors, city managers, and fire district trustees. JJC has offered a fire science associate degree since 1970.
chicago tribune

Chicago firefighters battle two-alarm blaze on West Side   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters put out a two-alarm blaze early Tuesday in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on the city's West Side. The fire broke out about 12:40 a.m. in the 4500 block of West Fulton Street. Crews arriving on the scene spotted heavy flames going through the roof of the building, which housed a machining company, fire officials said. Firefighters quickly elevated the fire to a two-alarm response after encountering heavy fire and smoke as well as hearing explosions coming from inside the one-story building, which may have been the sound of tires popping due to the heat, fire officials said. The building's roof caved in during the fire, which was put out about 2:15 a.m., according to officials. No injuries were reported in the blaze. Officials could not immediately say what caused the fire, but investigators were on the scene Tuesday. Earlier, firefighters responded to a house fire in the 5700 block of South LaSalle Street in the Englewood neighborhood.
Chicago Tribune

Woman sent to hospital following fire at Aurora senior complex   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 65-year-old woman was taken to the hospital following a fire Tuesday morning at an Aurora senior living complex. Aurora firefighters were called at 4 a.m. about a fire in the 400 block of North Constitution Drive. The fire was in a unit on the sixth floor of an eight-story senior housing high rise on Aurora’s West Side. There are 288 units in the building. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire and contain it to the unit, according to an Aurora Fire Department press release. Occupants on the sixth floor were evacuated during the fire. The cause of the fire is careless use of smoking materials, according to department officials. The 65-year-old woman who lived in the unit where the fire broke out was transported to Presence Mercy Center in Aurora for smoke inhalation. Her condition is unknown at this time. There were no reported injuries to any firefighters. Shortly after the fire was extinguished, a standpipe supplying water to the firefighting crews burst, causing water damage to the first, fourth and fifth floors of the building. The unit where the fire broke out is uninhabitable, and two units on the fifth floor are uninhabitable due to water damage.
Aurora Beacon News

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