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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Palatine Rural Fire chief retires

Longtime Palatine Rural Fire Protection District Chief Hank Clemmensen has retired as the district's top firefighter after 15 years on the job, according to a district news release. In his time at the helm, Clemmensen worked with the Rolling Meadows and Palatine fire departments to create the "RPM Group," a partnership aimed at strengthening fire safety protection to area residents, improving firefighter safety and enhancing operational efficiency for the departments. Before becoming chief, Clemmensen worked at the Glenview Rural Fire Protection District as a firefighter and the Hoffman Estates Fire Department as fire marshal and assistant chief.
daily herald

Rockford Fire Trains For Train Derailment HazMat Situation

A HazMat situation unfolds on Rockford's west side. Rockford Firefighters donned bright green suits as they tackled a simulated leak from a railroad tanker car. Organizers say they're training for this specific situation, as a direct result of the Cherry Valley train derailment back in 2009. "We have to prepare for it," said Rockford Fire Dept. Driver/Engineer James Graham, Jr. "Any type of incident that may happen with HazMat, we practice so when that incident does happen... we want to be prepared." In that Cherry Valley derailment, ethanol leaked from several tankers, sparking a massive fire that could be seen for miles. One woman was killed. The fire department will continue HazMat training throughout the week.

Orland Fire Honors Chicago Officer who Saved Boy from Drowning

The Orland Fire Protection District Tuesday honored Chicago Police Officer Sgt. Cindy Guerra for her role in saving the life of a 12-year-old boy from drowning during a backyard pool party in Orland Park. Guerra, a 22-year Chicago Police veteran, said she was overwhelmed by the public response to what she was “something that comes naturally” to first responders such as police and fire fighters who are trained to save people’s lives. Orland Fire Chief Michael Schofield presented Guerra with the William Bonner Life Saving Award, named after a longtime Orland Fire battalion chief who before joining the Orland Fire Protection District was a paramedic with the city of Chicago in the 1970s. “We are very honored to have Chicago Police Sergeant Cindy Guerra here today, and especially Cortez whose life Cindy saved,” Schofield said in presenting the award to Sgt. Guerra. “Firemen, policemen, or paramedics. When we are on duty or off duty, we are always ready to respond.” Guerra thanked the board for the honor and the audience for attending the meeting, saying that she just acted out of training and instinct to help. She said she became a police officer after being inspired by seeing women fighting crime in the popular TV series Charley’s Angels. “I thought it looked cool and decided that helping and protecting people is what I wanted to do,” said Guerra, who worked in the police department's Special Investigations Unit as a sergeant before transferring to the Office of News Affairs a few weeks before the accident.

Northfield firefighter accused of installing camera in fire station shower

A part-time firefighter in Northfield has been charged with installing a video recording device in a shower at the fire station, officials said Tuesday. Edward T. Panicko Jr., 59, of Arlington Heights, is charged with misdemeanor unauthorized video recording and obstruction of a police officer, authorities said. They said Panicko unlawfully placed the video recording device in the shower to record another fire department employee showering without the victim's consent. Panicko resigned from the north suburban village's fire department earlier this month after "allegations of misconduct were made by another firefighter," according to a village news release issued Tuesday. He turned himself in to authorities on Monday, the release said.
Chicago Tribune - metered site

Man rescued from ditch after Elk Grove Village crash

A driver was rescued from a water-filled ditch after colliding with another car Tuesday in Elk Grove Village, authorities said. Firefighters extended a ladder into the ditch, located on the east side of Busse Road south of Mark Street. They were able to help the man out of his Mercedes, which landed upright about 10:30 a.m., according to Elk Grove Village Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark Percudani. The ditch is about 7 feet below the road surface and was filled with some 18 inches of water, Percudani said. The driver, who Percudani described to be in his 70s or 80s, was uninjured, and refused to be taken to a hospital for evaluation. The driver of the other car, who ended up on the shoulder of Busse Road, also was not injured, Percudani said. Police didn't release details late Tuesday on how the initial car crash happened or if any citations were issued.
Illinois Daily Herald

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Carpentersville, firefighters union reach contract deal

After months of negotiating, the Carpentersville firefighters union and village officials have reached a new collective bargaining agreement extending through 2019. The village board and the Carpentersville Professional Firefighters Union, IAFF Local 4790, voted this month to ratify the contract, which is retroactive to May 1. Negotiations had been ongoing since February, and the two parties were able to reach an agreement without arbitration, "which is where we thought we were headed," said Jeffrey Monteleone, senior management analyst and lead negotiator for the village. "Both parties saw it appropriate to get back together, find a way to hash it out, and we managed to come to a compromise," he said. The deal includes a 1.75 percent wage increase for the first eight months and a 2.25 percent raise in 2017, according to village documents. Mirroring a recent contract with Carpentersville police officers, firefighters' salaries for 2018 and 2019 have not yet been determined and will be negotiated toward the end of 2017, Monteleone said. "(This way), we didn't necessarily hamstring the taxpayers to a long, drawn out obligation when we don't really know what our finances will look like after 2017," he said. The union also agreed to a reduced pay rate for off-duty firefighters performing certain activities that fall outside the scope of fighting fires and responding to calls, union President Rick Nieves said. Examples include off-duty meetings, CPR instructional courses, maintenance work and public education -- activities that make up about 20 percent of the department's overtime, Monteleone said.
Illinois Daily Herald

1 Driver Dies, 4 Escape Massive Truck Fires on I-55 in Chicago

Four drivers escaped a massive fire on I-55 Monday morning, but one driver is dead after two semi-tractor trailers and three cars caught fire near the Pulaski Road exit. The driver who died was in a minivan beneath one of the trucks, police said. One of the trucks was carrying 17,800 pounds of paint, according to State Police, and the other was hauling 40,000 pounds of frozen meat. Both trucks were reduced to charred, melted husks after the fire. The accident took place just before 11 a.m. and was fully extinguished by noon. State Police are still investigating the accident, but the trucks reportedly collided with each other. A hazmat response was called, and a Chicago Fire Department crew dispatched from Midway Airport hit the trucks with foam to put out the blazing trailer fires. Five ambulances were dispatched to the scene. Traffic remains backed up for miles, and the outbound lanes of I-55 remain closed. This post will be updated with further developments.

Carol Stream firefighters, district reach contract agreement

Carol Stream firefighter-paramedics will receive 2.5 percent annual salary increases under a tentative three-year contract agreement union members have ratified. The proposed pact also would give lieutenants 2.75 percent pay raises in each year of the deal, retroactive to June 1. Carol Stream Fire Protection District trustees are expected to approve the proposed contract on Aug. 8. Earlier this month, 41 of the union's 46 members voted in favor of ratifying the agreement, said Lt. Rick Bonk, president of the Carol Stream Firefighters Association Local 3192. Negotiations began in March and a federal mediator later facilitated a bargaining session in early July that "got the bulk of economic issues settled," Bonk said. Bonk called the proposed contract a "fair agreement" that also would increase an education allowance -- by $500 to $1,500 -- for training seminars and classes. "I thought they went very well," newly appointed Fire Chief Bob Hoff said of the talks. "The board and the union were very reasonable. It was a very good environment." The former deputy chief, Hoff was promoted in June, about four months after Rick Kolomay announced he was retiring from the district's top post because of a shoulder injury.
Illinois Daily Herald

Peoria Firefighters Respond to Early Morning Fire

Peoria firefighters are called to a blaze in the 1700 block of S. Livingston Tuesday morning. When they arrived on scene they say the structure was fully involved. No one was inside at the time. An investigator was called to the scene to determine a cause. No other details were immediately available.
WMBD-TV Peoria

Arson Suspected in Vacant Rockford Home

A vacant home goes up in flames in Rockford and investigators believe it was intentional. It happened just after 5:30am Monday in the 3000 block of Marshall Street. Fire investigators say it started in the basement and spread to the rest of the house. Arson is suspected in the second such case in just three days. "Every one is unique and every one is different," said Division Chief Matthew Knott of the Rockford Fire Department. "We don't see a trend that develops with all these being tied together." Chief Knott says Monday's fire is the 15th vacant home fire this year, that's more than double what the department saw up to this point in 2015.

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