Danville council OKs budget that cuts firefighters
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.
4 firefighters hurt in Riverdale blaze; Firefighter issues Mayday call
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.
Carol Stream fire battalion chief terminated
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
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.
Private Utility Company Discuss Empty Hydrants with Stateliners
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
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.