Illinois News
change state

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Lakewood OKs fire service contract with Crystal Lake, ending agreement with Woodstock    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The decision will, as one trustee put it, "change the face of Lakewood" by closing the village's only fire station on Haligus Road and operating out of a Crystal Lake station on the other side of town. The Lakewood Village Board voted, 3-1, with one trustee abstaining Tuesday night, to go with a slightly cheaper contract offered by the Crystal Lake Fire Department that tied increases to the village's tax base over renewing its contract with the Woodstock Fire Rescue Protection District. The move led to one angry objection from a resident and the Woodstock fire chief walking out of the meeting, which was full of Woodstock firefighters and staff. "I still don't know what I'm paying for as a taxpayer," resident Linda Wagner said. Under Woodstock's offer, the public works facility turned fire station would continue to house three firefighters – two who also are certified paramedics and one who is an emergency medical technician, Woodstock Fire Chief Ralph Webster said. The agreement would cost $750,000 the first year and increase by 1.5 percent each of the next four years, according to a letter sent by Webster to the village. The village also would pay an annual $25,000 capital contribution to go toward equipment purchases. The board, instead, went with Crystal Lake's offer, which was based on the department's existing agreement with the Crystal Lake Rural Fire Protection District.
Northwest Herald

Plainfield: Fire training buildings adapt to versatile needs    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Smoke billowed Tuesday out of a building behind the Plainfield Fire Protection District headquarters as firefighting crews geared up to enter and look for survivors. Lt. Andy Scott worked with another firefighter to bust open a jammed door to the building and conduct a search for people on the first floor before heading to the second. Firefighters found a victim on the second floor and radioed the information back to command. But they received a second order that the stairs had collapsed. So Scott and other firefighters set up a ladder rescue from a second-floor balcony. The victim was really a beanbag dummy, the smoke was fake and the Plainfield firefighters were conducting one of the first training exercises in the fire district's two new fire training buildings. The buildings were constructed during the summer, and fire officials are optimistic about their capabilities. "This is a solid foundation for the beginning of many things," Chief Dave Riddle said. The two fire training buildings look like a pair of black, generic structures. But inside, they have been designed to mimic real-life conditions. The south building is a burn structure. Included are an attached garage, basement escape wells and other characteristics of single-family homes, senior living communities and commercial buildings unique to Plainfield.
Belleville News-Democrat

Woman rescued from burning Champaign house    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A man was woken up after the house across the street caught fire. Firefighters say a woman was trapped inside. It happened in the 1600 Block of Winding Lane. An early morning fire woke up this Champaign neighborhood. "I saw the lights through my window." Crews were called for a fire on Winding Lane. When they got there they found out someone was inside. "Immediately crews made an assessment and were able to get into the home and effect a rescue of one of the occupants of the house." An elderly woman was inside her home. Neighbors say she lives alone. "They were able to get into the front door and go in and make quick access to the person that was in the house and get her out." Firefighters say the fire is believed to have started inside. They were able to put it out quick. Neighbors say the woman has the trouble getting around of her own. "I think she has limited mobility but other than that I don't know her very personally." Matt Filippo lives across the street. He says it was a sight with all the emergency vehicles on his block, and he's glad to hear they could rescue her. "I don't know if she was alone or not but if she was yeah but I think she would have relied on the paramedics."
WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign

Rockford house fire displaces four    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Three adults and one child were displaced Tuesday after a lower-level bedroom caught fire in the 1400 block of Seventh Avenue. Firefighters were dispatched about 1 p.m. to the two-family unit building and found smoke showing on arrival. The occupants were outside and uninjured. The fire was quickly brought under control and contained to the bedroom, but smoke damage was found throughout the building. Rockford Fire District Chief Tracy Renfro estimated damages at $5,000 to the building and $3,000 to the bedroom's contents. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupants with housing.
Rockford Register Star

Photo: No injuries reported in school bus fire in Westchester    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Emergency crews responded to a fire on a school bus near the entrance of Salt Creek Woods in suburban Westchester. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames Tuesday afternoon. There were no reports of any injuries.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Springfield Fire pension board ends holiday pay perk for future firefighter hires   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Springfield Fire Pension Board on Monday unanimously voted to stop factoring double-time holiday pay into firefighter pension calculations for future hires. The vote, taken at a special meeting to deal with the holiday-pay issue, comes on the heels of an advisory opinion issued earlier this month by the Illinois Department of Insurance advising the board that the double-time holiday pay for firefighters “is not considered pensionable salary,” contradicting a 1998 advisory opinion from the same department. While the change for future fire department hires passed easily by a 5-0 vote, the board couldn't decide how to deal with current firefighters and whether the board could face litigation if it decides to stop the longtime practice for them. “Constitutionally, I don’t think you can affect anyone that’s on the job,” said Don Craven, the pension board's attorney. For each holiday that isn’t worked, Springfield firefighters receive an additional eight hours of regular holiday pay, which factors into pension calculations. At issue here, though, is the additional double-time pay firefighters receive if they work a holiday, which the latest opinion contends shouldn’t factor into their pensions. The department opinion, issued Nov. 6, says in order for holiday pay to be considered part of a firefighter’s salary and factor into the pension, every employee would have to receive the additional compensation, whether they work the holiday or not.
Springfield State Journal-Register

Update: Hancock residents say alarm system failed during fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Following a weekend fire on the 50th floor of the John Hancock, some residents are questioning the building's safety. When flames lapped the windows halfway up the Hancock, residents were scared and witnesses didn't know if something sinister caused it. The incident has heightened safety concerns even though we know it was an accident started by a candle in a bedroom. But some Hancock residents say the fire alarm system didn't work and that the incident has revealed other flaws in the building's emergency plan. The voice alert notification system that Hancock residents were supposed to hear in an emergency, they apparently didn't on Saturday. John Whapham, a neurosurgeon who lives on the 63rd floor, told the I-Team Monday that there are serious issues with the fire evacuation system evident during the weekend fire. "Not a single alarm, not a single announcement anywhere, nor did the expensive alarms that we spent the last year and a half putting in go off, nothing. Nothing on my whole floor," Dr. Whapham said. Non-working fire notification systems are code violations. Fire officials say everything worked fine, but Dr. Whapham says it didn't. Five people were hurt during the incident, though not seriously. And while the fire was put out quickly, Chicago Fire Department officials had to call in extra manpower to help residents who found themselves trapped in smoky stairwells. "Absolutely chaos today up on these upper floors that are above the area where the smoke was sucked up to the upper floors," Dr. Whapham said. "People really, at least on my floor, were running around. No one had any idea how to get out when they were trapped and couldn't get down." The 100-story Hancock was finished in 1969, long before sprinkler systems were required in high-rise buildings.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Gaffney resigns from St. Charles Township fire district   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A month ago, the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District Board accepted Jim Gaffney’s resignation as president. Monday, the trustees reacted to yet another resignation from Gaffney – this time from the board. Bob Handley, who was named president at the Oct. 26 meeting, told his colleagues that he received Gaffney’s resignation letter that day, although it was dated earlier. The resignation was effective immediately. The trustees – who met in a room named after Gaffney at Station No. 3 in St. Charles Township – formally declared a vacancy on the board. Gaffney was absent. He was serving a six-year term to expire in 2019. The district’s attorney, Ken Shepro, said the board could appoint someone to the position, and that person would serve until the 2017 election. The trustees deferred discussion about the procedure to closed session. Gaffney served as the face of the district as it ended its relationship with the city of St. Charles in 2011 and opened two fire stations despite residents’ protests. When Fox River and Countryside dedicated Station No. 3 last fall, fellow trustees said the training/community room was named Gaffney Hall in recognition of his leadership and vision.

DeKalb Fire Department undergoes live flashover training   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Thick, curling smoke cut visibility to zero for the 12 people in the room before it caught fire. Flames flashed overhead as temperature soared to 600 degrees. Despite the help of a 25-pound air tank, taking a breath took focus. This was just a drill for firefighters from the DeKalb Fire Department, who took part in flashover training last week in Rotary Park. The specialized training was part of a professional development fire science program hosted by Sauk Valley Community College, designed to allow firefighters to observe the stages of a completely engulfed structure fire – from the inside. “We do in the neighborhood of six to 10 trainings like this a year,” said Nick Dinges, who led the course and owns the Illinois Fire Store, a specialty store that sells firefighter gear. “This is a mobile simulator, one of three in the United States. … It’s pretty exciting, but very safe as well.” The mobile unit allows firefighters to observe the signs and symptoms of a flashover from a vantage point below floor level, as well as see how things such as different airflows, ventilation and water impact the flame ignition and trajectory. The group crowded into the burned metal trailer before the training, which began with Dinges igniting plywood set up on a platform. “What I want you to recognize is the condition around us,” he told the group of firefighters, his voice muffled by a haz-mat airmask. “What are we seeing up here, and the smoke condition above our heads. At some point, you may have fire around your head, but don’t panic. It will only last for a second or so.” Trainings that incorporate live burns are important because it’s a rare opportunity to learn, Dinges said. “Our job today is tactical,” he said. “We get in there. We put the fire out.” And that’s just when a fire actually is involved.
DeKalb Daily Chronicle

Harper College fire science program wins national certification   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Arlington Heights Deputy Fire Chief Pete Ahlman has worked in fire service for more than 25 years, and now is among the top brass in a department that answers more than 10,000 calls per year. Yet, he recently turned to Harper College's Fire Science Technology program, where he took his seat in class with a mix of aspiring recruits and seasoned veterans, all eager to advance their careers. "Harper's program provided a whole new depth of understanding for me," Ahlman says, "in everything from the most basic to the most complex fire technology subjects." The program is one of the most popular of the career and technical programs at Harper, where more students earn their applied associate degree than any other career program. But it recently added another distinction: national certification from the U.S. Fire Administration. The Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education initiative, which promotes higher education in fire and emergency services, certified that Harper's program meets all the standards of excellence.
daily herald

Sign up to subscribe to custom
state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe  
lite version          need more info?