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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Buffalo Grove unhappy with firefighter legislation    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Buffalo Grove Village President Jeffrey Braiman has joined the chorus of municipal leaders opposing state legislation that could subject firefighter staffing levels to arbitration. Braiman this week said House Bill 5485, otherwise known as the Minimum Manning Bill, would negatively impact the village budget and firefighter response times -- and even might force the village to close one of its three fire stations. Currently, the decision of staffing levels rests in the hands of department management. But under the bill, if a municipality or fire district and the union representing its firefighters cannot agree on staffing, the matter would be turned over to arbitration. The arbitrator, Braiman said, "isn't an investor in our community, who will not have the expertise in firefighting and finance to make logical and appropriate decisions." "We respect and appreciate our firefighters and paramedics," he added. "They perform valiantly and serve our public in exemplary fashion." Braiman noted, however, that the proposed changes would not afford the village's firefighters better wages and benefits, nor would it increase their pensions. It also would not improve response times, Braiman said. "Clearly, getting more persons into a vehicle will not get it there any faster," he said. The bill ultimately could force the village to add firefighters at a time when it is trying to manage its workforce and constrain costs, Braiman said. Requiring one more person per fire truck per shift would cost the village as much as $1.3 million a year, he said, forcing spending cuts elsewhere or a tax increase. Fire Chief Terry Vavra said he also does not favor the bill.
Illinois Daily Herald

Blaze reveals rift between Barrington fire agencies    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Barrington's fire chief is publicly questioning the procedures of the recently formed Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's department after a recent house fire just blocks from the village's border. Chief Jim Arie said his firefighters could have made it to the scene of the April 9 fire at 1025 S. Grove St. in nearly half the time that it took Barrington Countryside, but were never called to assist in battling the blaze. Arie reported at a recent public meeting of the Barrington village board that the first fire engine on the scene from Barrington Countryside arrived in five minutes and 34 seconds, whereas an engine from the Barrington village station, located less than two miles from the fire, would have arrived in less than three minutes. The Barrington Countryside engine first on the scene had to travel just over 3½ miles. Arie said the more than two minute time difference was important. "Fire doubles in size about every minute," he said, noting that the blaze initially was reported to have started in the garage, but was fully involved fire by the time Barrington Countryside firefighters arrived. "It's extremely unusual for neighbors not to work with each other regarding when an emergency call goes on, such as the case here," Arie said. "(It) is very unfortunate for everybody, especially the public." Barrington Countryside Fire Chief Jeffrey Swanson refuted Aries' claims that his district handled the call improperly. He said he is proud of his firefighters' work in the April 9 fire, adding that their efforts saved about $200,000 in property damage to the home.
Illinois Daily Herald

Quincy city officials admit error on firefighter contract vote    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A one-year contract with the bargaining unit representing Quincy firefighters is in jeopardy because it was not ratified Monday night as city officials believed. Mayor Kyle Moore admitted Wednesday that city ordinance 2.107 stipulates that eight votes are required to pass any ordinance, resolution or motion. Aldermen were deadlocked at 6-6 on the firefighter contract — two aldermen were absent — and Moore cast what he thought was the deciding vote to approve the deal. Both Moore and Corporation Counsel Lonnie Dunn were asked about the lack of the eighth vote following Monday night’s meeting, and both said the contract was ratified by the 7-6 margin. However, they backtracked on that Wednesday, and said the motion was actually defeated for the lack of eight votes for approval. “Usually when it’s a tie, the mayor casts the deciding vote,” Moore said. “For this resolution and looking at our ordinance and doing more research with corporation counsel, it’s a majority of the elected officials, not the majority of elected officials present.
Quincy Herald-Whig

Chicago Firefighters Battle Big Garage Fire in Bridgeport    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Chicago firefighters on Thursday morning worked on a garage fire that caused flame-licked electrical transformers to explode. The fire started shortly before 6 a.m. in a alley-facing garage on the 3300 block of South Morgan Street. Officials said a car inside the garage was on fire. Crews from Commonwealth Edison were called in to shut down the power to the area after sparks emanated from overhead power lines and transformers. One ambulance transported a firefighter to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center but the injury was not believed to be serious. Crews were able to keep the fire away from neighboring structures and had the fire out by 6:20 a.m.
NBC Chicago

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Chicago: 1 dead, 3 injured in CTA bus crash in Calumet Heights   view comments tweat me share on facebook
One person died and three others were injured when a van collided with a CTA bus early Wednesday in the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side. A CTA bus traveling southbound in the 9300 block of South Commercial Avenue collided with a van traveling eastbound on East 93rd Street about 12:45 a.m., said police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer, citing preliminary information. The van, which was carrying three people, burst into flames after the crash and citizens were able to pull two passengers from the vehicle, Greer said. The male driver of the van, thought to be in his 20s, was pinned inside, authorities said. After firefighters pulled him from the burning vehicle he was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 1:42 a.m., according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. He remained unidentified Wednesday morning.
WFLD-TV MyFox 32 Chicago

Firefighter minimum staffing bill raises concern in Quincy   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Legislation currently pending in the Illinois Legislature that would make minimum staffing levels a part of firefighter union labor negotiations is raising concerns with Quincy officials, who believe that it could lead to significant budget increases. Proponents of the measure, which passed the Illinois House by a 63-44 vote on April 3, say it's a safety issue. Municipal officials argue it could further stress already tight budgets. The measure is awaiting to be sent to a Senate committee. If an impasse on staffing is reached, the decision could be made by an outside arbitrator. Quincy Fire Chief Joe Henning said he believes that a decision by an arbitrator could cost the community. "It's my opinion that the manning clause should be left to the city administration and the unions to work out," he said. "The reality is manning is a management right, but it certainly doesn't mean that we can't sit down and have dialogue with the union. But at the end of the day, it's something that the city and the management should be able to determine." The city has one chief, two deputy chiefs, three assistant chiefs, three captains, nine lieutenants, three floating lieutenants and 40 firefighters to staff five frontline fire trucks.
Quincy Herald-Whig

Chicago Fire Department rescues elderly man from Roseland house fire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Firefighters pulled 73-year-old Paul Fomby to safety through a second-story window at his burning home in the Roseland neighborhood. Chicago Fire Department firefighters arrived around 9 a.m. Tuesday to the burning home in the 700-block of East 105th Street. The rest of the tenants in the two-flat were already out of the building, but Fomby was trapped in an upstairs front bedroom. Neighbors saw him waving his arms and calling for help. "I ran across the street to get my mask 'cause I was going to go in there and get him myself," said Christopher Kelly, a neighbor, "but the smoke was so thick I couldn't get in there." Firefighters had to feel their way through thick smoke to locate Fomby, and determined carrying him out through the window was safer than taking him down the stairs. "We're protected from the heat but the civilian isn't," said Mike Rowan of CFD. "So you bring him into a 400-degree room and he certainly will die." Firefighters inside and outside the building coordinated the rescue effort, and Mark Cavaletti carried him down the ladder.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Wrong address in Hunter Township causes confused response   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A 911 call Tuesday afternoon reported an out of control field fire was threatening a house at 11879 N 1800. As a result of the address in Hunter Township, the Paris Fire Department and the Vermilion Station of the Paris Community Fire Protection District were initially dispatched. Firefighters could not find a fire at that location because the field fire was actually burning several miles away near 11879 E 1800 in Edgar Township. “The caller got the address mixed up,” Paris Fire Chief Brian Gates said at the fire scene. “That’s why we were misdirected to the east side.” Gates said firefighters did not have a fire at the reported address but did see a column of smoke to the northwest of the location and started moving in that direction. By that time, a second caller had provided the right address. “We kept responding thinking we were going into the Chrisman District,” said Gates. Based on the volume of smoke, he also requested the Redmon Station of the Paris Commununity Fire Protection District respond.
Paris Beacon-News

Teen arsonist given probation for massive Prophetstown fiire   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Last summer, fire tore through the very heart of downtown Prophetstown. Tuesday one of the boys responsible for starting that fire learned he will not go to jail. The now 17 year old boy who pled guilty to starting the fire that burnt down 8 historic buildings last summer was given a little less than 4 years probation through his 21st birthday. That sentence handed down late Tuesday afternoon in Sterling. Terms of the probation say the boy must move in with his mother in Winnebego County Wisconsin where he is already serving probation for another arson offense. He must continue to wear a g.p.s. ankle band and has an 8 p.m. curfew. The judge has ordered him to write apology letters to each of the victims and he can not have any contact with his younger brother who helped him set the fire, that boy too out on probation. While many in town our upset with the decision, others feel probation was the right call. "I think its good he wasn't put about a bunch of inmates, I think the child needs help." said resident Mystie Alender.
WHBF-TV Rock Island Eyewitness News 4

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