Distracted driving among topics raised at ’Chat with the Chiefs’ in Plainfield
The first Plainfield “Chat with the Chiefs” event Wednesday night sparked several conversations about police, fire and emergency management operations, including distracted driving and emergency equipment and protocol. About 20 people, including representatives from several local governments and Mayor Michael Collins, came to the chat and also listened to updates from the first responder agencies.
“I had no expectations on what the turnout would be,” said Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek, who hosted the chat at the Plainfield Law Enforcement Center. “I thought it was very good. I thought there was great interaction with the folks that were here and the emergency responders.”
“I liked that they took time to tell us about the different organizations,” said resident Kelly McCann, who serves as a Plainfield community service officer but came to the chat as a resident.
The chat featured representatives from the Plainfield Police Department, Plainfield and Oswego fire protection districts, WESCOM and the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency.
The meetings are initiatives to give the public a forum to learn about new police, fire and emergency management initiatives and ask questions. The meetings also include safety messages and tips for preparedness and awareness.
Among the topics asked by residents were enforcement of laws prohibiting cellphone use while driving, what residents should do in case of emergencies and emergency sirens.
Labor contracts remain unsettled for Quincy police, firefighter unions
Labor agreements between the city of Quincy and bargaining units representing firefighters and police officers and sergeants have yet to be reached, and it appears at least one could be decided by arbitration.
The Policemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Local 12 has filed for arbitration, and the hearing is scheduled for March 27, according to Mike Tyler, police union president.
Mayor Kyle Moore said the city will continue to negotiate if requested by the union. The two sides met earlier this month.
"It's possible if the city wanted to contact us and come up with a deal ahead of time, but as of right now, we're set for March 27 for a hearing before an arbitrator," Tyler said.
Police officers and firefighters have been operating without a contract since the previous three-year deals expired April 30. Firefighters, represented by Firefighters Local 63, also have filed for arbitration, but continue to negotiate with the city. No arbitration hearing has been set in those negotiations.
In November 2011, an arbitrator awarded firefighters a 2 percent raise in the first year, a 2.5 percent raise in the second year and a 3 percent raise in the third year. Police officers and sergeants approved the same deal in March 2012.
"Typically, you'll have one public safety union wait for the other to wait to see what the arbitrator comes back with," Moore said.
Moore said city officials appreciate the job of public safety officers, but municipalities across the state are seeing flat revenues.
Fire forces evacuation of senior living high rise in Galesburg
A kitchen fire sent residents of a Galesburg senior living high rise out into the cold Wednesday afternoon.
The fire started around 5:30 at Galesburg Towers, a six story senior living residence. When firefighters arrived heavy smoke was filling the first floor.
Galesburg police officers evacuated a number of residents from the first floor to the Goodwill store next door. Firefighters soon arrived and attacked the fire in a first floor apartment.
The fire was knocked down but crews had to push smoke from throughout the building. After about 2 1/2 hours residents were allowed back inside. No one was injured in the blaze.
The fire is believed to have started in the area of a microwave in the apartment kitchen.
WHBF-TV Rock Island Eyewitness News 4
St. Joseph fire considered "suspicious"
Tuesday was a busy night for Champaign County first responders. They're investigating a suspicious fire after spending hours dousing flames. No one was hurt, but the vacant home was destroyed. It's in the 2200-block of County Road 1300 North.
Officials say they don't see many arsons around there, but they say this looks like one. The St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Chief says there wasn't any electricity running to the property and they didn't find any fuel or propane. Investigators spoke to the owner who said he didn't have anything inside which would have combusted by itself.
After battling flames for a couple hours, they had to keep an eye on it for hot spots throughout the day. Investigators are trying to determine what caused a suspicious fire. The vacant home, in the 2200-block of County Road 1300 North, was destroyed overnight.
Firefighters there have had a busy few days. The St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Protection District responded to more than 400 calls last year, so they're used to staying pretty active. But, this fire comes on the heels of an emotional day. They said goodbye to the former fire chief, Rusty Chism, at a ceremony Tuesday morning. Chism died last week.
"They did the job," said current St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Chief Brian Buss. "They came out and did the job. They did just fine. We'd like to have an afternoon off, but we'll deal with it."
Buss says he's proud of the way his crew took action. Chief Buss says his crews weren't moping around the fire scene. They went right back to business as usual.
WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign
Lake Forest house fire results in $150K worth of damage
Lake Forest officials are still investigating the cause of a house fire that resulted in about $150,000 worth of damage Tuesday night.
Deputy Fire Chief Chris Garrison said there were no injuries and the residents had working smoke detectors inside their home, located at 1315 Telegraph Road across the street from Everett Elementary School.
The residents called 911 at 4:17 p.m. after seeing smoke in the home, Garrison said.
“The first engine on the scene reported heavy smoke and fire coming from a second floor bedroom. All the residents got out safely,” Garrison said.
The first-arriving crew doused the fire from the front yard until the second crew arrived to assist, Garrison said.
“The second crew made an interior attack and we were able to contain the fire,” he said.
The home’s second floor bedroom was completely gutted and heavy smoke caused damage throughout the second floor, Garrison said.