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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Extra alarm over Chicago Public School preference in firefighter hiring    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Mayor Rahm Emanuel barely caused a ripple of reaction two years ago when he announced Chicago Public School graduates would be given a leg up when applying for city jobs. But now that the city is preparing to take applications for firefighters for the first time in a decade, Emanuel’s “CPS preference” policy is sparking an outcry from some city residents who say it discriminates against graduates of Catholic and other private schools. Several elected officials from the city’s Northwest and Southwest sides tell me the issue has heated up in the last two weeks after the city posted its job announcement for the forthcoming firefighters exam. “People have been really upset,” said Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), a firefighter whose Northwest Side ward has historically been home to many city workers. Sposato said lifelong residents of the city are asking him why they are being penalized for exercising their religious beliefs by sending their children to Catholic schools. Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, with the Chicago Public Schools being overwhelmingly composed of minority students and with the Fire Department being a city agency where minorities have traditionally had difficulty getting hired.
Chicago Sun-Times

Bartonville woman dead after running into burning home to retrieve cell phone    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A woman who ran back into her burning home to retrieve her cell phone died early Tuesday, and a police officer who attempted to rescue her was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. The name of the victim was not immediately available later Tuesday morning, pending confirmation of the woman’s identity by family, according to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Bartonville police and firefighters were dispatched about 4 a.m. to 319 Harrison St. for a blaze that apparently began in the lower level of the structure. The victim and her teenage daughter had made it out of the house by the time of the call. “It looks like the fire started in the basement. Smoke filled the house,” said Police Chief Brian Fengel. “The residents were out initially, but (the victim) decided to run back into the house to get her cell phone in the bedroom.” One of the first Bartonville officers to arrive on the scene, Salvador Lopez, rushed into the house to try to save the woman but was overwhelmed by the smoke.
Peoria Journal Star

Quincy family safely escapes early morning house fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A Quincy family makes it out of an early morning house fire safely. Quincy Firefighters were called to 2410 Hampshire Street at about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday. Lieutenant Jeff Grawe says when crews arrived they found a dehumidifier on fire inside the home, and smoke circulating throughout the home. Grawe says smoke could be seen coming out the front of the home when they arrived, but the residents had all made it out safe. "The good thing was their smoke detectors were working and their carbon monoxide detectors were working," Grawe said. "It alerted the occupants and woke them up. They were able to get out of their house, retrieve their pets and all of them exited the house prior to our arrival." Grawe says this is another reminder to have those detectors checked. "Definitely make sure your checking your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors," Grawe said. "If the time changes, or you are at a set schedule you guys have designated, make sure they're always working."
WGEM-TV Quincy

Bloomington Fire Department Gets Approval For New Engine, Ambulance    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Bloomington finally has the money to give its fire department a new ladder truck. It comes after an okay from the city council that has been a long-time coming. "About five years ago, we ran into quite a financial crisis and a lot of our equipment budget were really strapped down and we didn't do a lot of anything unless it was an emergency purchase,” said Mike Kimmerling, Bloomington’s fire chief. As a result, maintenance got put on the back burner. "I don't think we ever got ourselves in a position where we're in dire straits for vehicles,” said Kimmerling. But it did put some strain on the fleet. Vehicles that should have been replaced every 10-12 years, instead stayed on for 15 years or longer. "A lot of times, it's not the mileage, but it's the engine hours. How long did these vehicles run and things that again are always an issue with the department is we have all these nice front-line vehicles, but they also have to have all that routine maintenance done on them,” said Kimmerling. Engine No. 7 is still very useful for fighting fires. It can pump water to the site, but the ladder can’t be used any more to fight them.
WMBD-TV Peoria

Close call for tattoo shop owner as Taylorville building partially collapses    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Jeff Graham says that if he hadn't overslept and forgotten his keys, he might have been inside his tattoo shop when the front of the building collapsed Sunday morning. What's even scarier to think about is that because he overslept, Graham didn't take his children to the shop. If he had gotten up on time, the kids might have been playing on the sidewalk when the brick wall came down about 10:30 a.m. “It was a pretty close call,” said Angie Graham, Jeff's wife. “All of our five kids would have been in danger. What started out being a really bad morning for us turned out to be a blessing.” No one was inside the three-story building at the corner of North Main Street and East Main Cross Street when the collapse occurred. Most of the damage involved the ground-floor wall at the front of the building. Bricks and other pieces of debris from the collapsed wall fell onto the front sidewalk and out into the road. Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews said it took personnel less than a minute to get to the scene. Initial information they received was that there might have been children in front of the building when the wall collapsed. Canine teams from the Sanga
Springfield State Journal-Register

Monday, July 28, 2014
Details outlined in Oak Lawn/Chicago Ridge fire chief-sharing deal   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets will have full responsibility over the Chicago Ridge Fire Department, but staffing remains the job of the Chicago Ridge mayor and trustees, according to an agreement approved by each village board. The SouthtownStar obtained copies of the agreement through Illinois’ freedom of information law. Under the unusual arrangement, approved by Chicago Ridge on July 15 and Oak Lawn on July 8, Sheets will have “all of the traditional powers and authorities” and will be in charge of “all personnel, equipment, apparatus and staff vehicles” for the Chicago Ridge department through 2016. Its staffing “shall continue to be the sole and exclusive responsibility” of the mayor and trustees, but Sheets is in charge of discipline of fire personnel, the agreement states. It says Chicago Ridge, which has 13 firefighter/paramedics, will pay one-third of Sheets’ annual salary because he is expected to spend “no less than one-third of his time at the Chicago Ridge Fire Department providing managerial and administrative duties.” Sheets became Chicago Ridge’s fire chief July 15, so the village this year will pay one-third of his salary over 5.5 months, or $37,695. Chicago Ridge will continue to pay a third of his salary during 2015 and 2016, the length of the existing contract. Under the agreement, Sheets’ job in Chicago Ridge can be “discontinued at any time and for any lawful reason’ by the mayor. However, if that were to happen, Chicago Ridge would be liable for paying Sheets through 2016.
The SouthtownStar

Sycamore Fire Department to get new fire engine   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Sycamore Fire Department will use a $384,750 grant to buy a fire engine. The fire engine will become a front line engine, and the current front line engine will replace an engine that is more than 35 years old, according to a news release from Sycamore. The grant makes up about 95 percent of the total cost of the fire engine, $405,000; the city will pay the remaining cost, according to Sycamore. The city will advertise for bids or requests for proposals within the coming months and expects that once a contract is awarded, it will be about nine months before the new engine is received, according to the city.
Northern Star Online

North Chicago replaces fire departments outdated breathing equipment   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The oxygen tanks firefighters use to enter burning buildings or when smoke conditions outside are dangerous are essential — and North Chicago’s Fire Department is celebrating because it can finally replace its old ones. “Our old equipment was from 2002 and it was so obsolete that we couldn’t repair it. They no longer made the parts for it,” Fire Chief Dell Urban said. This week the department announced it had obtained 30 new self-contained breathing apparatuses, a significant upgrade over the old equipment, with the help of a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. They also got a new Cascade system, which refills the bottles. “We have the 2002 edition now and it [new equipment] came in the nick of time,” she said. “The new ones have built in safety provisions and they increase our air from 30 minutes to 45 minutes so we have more time for search and recovery,” Urban said. They will also have emergency oxygen bottles for when a firefighter gets trapped inside a structure that gives rescuers 60 minutes of air time. “I’m really excited. We have to do some mandatory training and then they should be in service in a couple of weeks,” she said, adding firefighter Brett Clark was instrumental in researching the equipment that was purchased.
Lake County News Sun

Fire destroys Mattoon business   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Fire tore through an insulation business Sunday night. It started around 10:30 pm, on Dewitt Avenue. It took several crews more than four hours to get the flames under control. No one was seriously hurt, but a firefighter got debris in his eye while working and was sent to the hospital. Authorities say he'll be okay. Officials say the fire possibly started next door at a storage facility to the west, and strong winds pushed the flames over to Insulation Services. The State Fire Marshal is now investigating.
WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign

Galesburg: Live fire sprinkler simulation unit   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Smoke detectors save lives. Now city leaders in Galesburg are considering making another fire fighting tool. Sprinklers, mandatory in all new homes. The Galesburg fire department showed how installing sprinklers in homes could make a difference between life and death. "By adding sprinklers, you increase your chance of surviving a fire by seventy percent,” said Dan Foley, Galesburg Fire Marshall. Monday night Galesburg city council will hold a work session to discuss changing building codes to require sprinklers in one and two family homes "The only debate is… is it worth it. And that's an important public debate to have 90 communities already have the required in one and two family homes, all of California requires it and we just see that that's the future,” said Foley. Galesburgs fire department is using this simulator to show just what a difference sprinklers can make saying there is no question adding sprinklers would save lives. “Statistics show we're only got about 3–4 minutes to get out of the house now which isn't a lot of time. It’s in homes. That's where we fall through constriction going to the basement and this would dramatically if we could flip a switch and have everybody sprinklered we would reduce the number of deaths and injuries to firefighters and civilians.
WHBF-TV Rock Island Eyewitness News 4

Chicago-area fire departments ’Fire Up A Cure’ for Pediatric Cancer   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Local firefighters will raise money to help fight pediatric cancer at The Cure It Foundation's third annual Fire Up A Cure event on Sat., July 26. The event, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Saint Xavier University's Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. To purchase tickets, please visit the Cure It Foundation's website or contact 872- 222-5437. Fire Up A Cure will bring together firefighters from across Illinois to compete in a series of challenges to raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials and for local children who are battling this illness. Events will include a fire truck pull, a hot wing eating contest sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings, an obstacle course, inflatable jousting, tug-of-war, and more. Pediatric cancer patients will serve as honorary coaches for each team. In addition to the firefighter competitions, the event features concessions and entertainment for the entire family. Children's activities will include an inflatable fire truck slide, an obstacle course, a kids' fire pole to slide down, real fire trucks for children to explore, face painting, a photo booth and a balloon artist.
Oak Lawn Patch

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