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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Chicago Public School hiring preference not the only thing irking firefighters    view comments tweat me share on facebook
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.
Chicago Sun-Times

Seven Rockford Fire Stations without Emergency Fire Sprinklers    view comments tweat me share on facebook
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    view comments tweat me share on facebook
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:
Pekin Daily Times

Firefighters find marijuana growing operation behind false wall of burned Peoria home    view comments tweat me share on facebook
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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Carpentersville, West Dundee fire departments closer to consolidation   view comments tweat me share on facebook
As talks continue on the possibility of Carpentersville and West Dundee consolidating fire services, local officials are eager to keep the momentum going. To that end, West Dundee board members authorized village staff Monday to develop a request for proposal to determine the cost of an in-depth study on consolidation. West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson said an outside entity can help officials “evaluate the prospect of the consolidation because it is a very complex issue.” “We feel this is a necessary step in making sure if we are to move forward [on the consolidation] it’s done in an appropriate way,” he said. The scope of the possible consolidation has also broadened, with both East Dundee Fire District and Rutland-Dundee Township Fire Protection Districts showing an interest. Efforts are underway currently to take steps toward a more functional consolidation, where the fire department districts would remain separate but work together more in responding to incidents and purchasing equipment. West Dundee Chief Randy Freise told village officials that Carpentersville has agreed to provide battalion chief coverage in West Dundee for all structure fires, vehicle accidents with extrication, and major incidents at Spring Hill Mall. Freise also plans to meet with East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf and Carpentersville Deputy Chief John Skillman to discuss the possibility of sharing a training officer. Nelson said having consistent training not only saves money but also makes sure firefighters are working together and operating as a team. He lauds Freise for his work in getting the issue to the table. “The chief has done an excellent job,” Nelson said. He said authorizing the RFP “is a very important step.”
The Courier News

Former Marengo restaurant "completely destroyed" after structure fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
An overnight structure fire "completely destroyed" what was once the Shady Lane restaurant building, according to the Marengo Fire Chief. A report of a structure fire at 24803 W. Grant Highway came in around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Chief Bob Bradbury said. Upon arrival, he said the rear part of the long-shuttered and abandoned building was already collapsing. On scene for about three hours, the former dining area was destroyed by the time firefighters left at 4:30 a.m., according to Bradbury. The building's demise comes five years after it survived a 2009 fire that engulfed its neighbor, the former Shady Lane theater, according to a previous report by the Northwest Herald. "That fire [in 2009] destroyed the theater," Bradbury said, adding the two structures were about 50 feet apart. "This one destroyed the supper club building." Assistance came from the Woodstock Fire Rescue District, the Hampshire and Boone County Fire Protection Districts, among a few others. There were no injuries to report, and the fire is under investigation.
Northwest Herald

O’Fallon Volunteer Fire Department Promotions   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Mayor Gary L. Graham is pleased to announce that during the August 18, 2014 City Council Meeting, Captain Tim Claxton was promoted to Deputy Chief, Lieutenant Shawn Miller was promoted to Captain, and Firefighter Jon Williams was promoted to Lieutenant. “I congratulate each of these volunteers on their achievement and sincerely thank them for their dedication to our community. Their expertise and professionalism is one of the many reasons that O’Fallon is such a great community in which to live,” said Mayor Graham. Captain Tim Claxton has served with the O’Fallon Volunteer Fire Department for 16 years. During that time he has held the positions of firefighter and Lieutenant. Capt. Claxton serves as the lead on computer and radio technology in addition to his firefighting duties. Lieutenant Shawn Miller joined the department 16 years ago. Since then, he has held the position of firefighter. Lt. Miller has primarily been involved with fire pre-incident planning and information technology, in addition to his firefighting duties. Firefighter Jon Williams has served with the department for over 13 years as a firefighter.
O Fallon, Illinois

Rockford Fire Department responds to early morning fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Rockford Fire Department responded to a house fire early this morning at 1718 Sandy Hollow Road. Responding officials found the second story of the house fully involved with fire and some fire on the first floor. A neighbor says the house is vacant. The fire was extinguished but the home was severely damaged. The estimated loss stands at $75,000. Three engines, one ambulance and 21 firefighters responded to the incident. It took six minutes for emergency officials to arrive at the scene.
WREX-TV NBC 13 Rockford

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