Ambulance calls in Oregon fire district average 665 a year
The handful of people who turned out Tuesday evening for a referendum meeting learned that ambulances have answered an average of 655 calls per year in the Oregon Fire District for the last 10 years.
Fire department EMT Coordinator Chad Bergstrom said the number of calls in the district has ranged from 580 to 730 per year over the last decade.
He said he expects the number to reach 800 per year.
Bergstrom was on hand to answer questions, along with Marie Tilly and Lindsey Breeden, at the last of several meetings to provide information about a referendum that will be on the April 7 ballot.
The meeting was hosted by the Friends of the Oregon Fire Department, which is headed up by Tilly and Breeden.
The referendum will ask fire district voters if they want a tax-supported ambulance service associated with the Oregon Fire Department.
Tilly said the proposed ambulance service will be full-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Oregon resident Fran Strouse asked how many full-time ambulance employees would be hired if the referendum passes.
Tilly said six full-time emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will likely be employed. Some volunteers with EMT training will also be available from time to time.
Science classroom fire causes evacuation of Elmhurst middle school
A “chemical reaction” caused a small fire in a science classroom at a west suburban middle school Wednesday morning, causing a lot of smoke and about $11,000 in damage, but no injuries.
The Elmhurst Fire Department was called about 9:45 a.m. to an activated fire alarm at Sandburg Middle School at 345 E. St. Charles Rd., a statement from the department said.
Firefighters found “heavy smoke coming from a science classroom located on the lower level,” though the fire had already been doused by the school’s sprinkler system, the statement said. All students and staff were evacuated from the building as firefighters ventilated the area, replaced a sprinkler head and cleaned up.
A fire department investigation showed a chemical reaction had triggered the fire, though no students were present in the classroom at the time.
No injuries were reported. The damage, estimated at $11,000, was limited to ceiling tiles, classroom supplies and audio-video equipment, the statement said.
West Frankfort Toughens Rules for Open Burns
Rules on burning debris and hosting a bonfire are now more strict in West Frankfort.
"People we're burning anything from wire, to couches, to tires. This allows us to stop that," said West Frankfort Fire Chief Jody Allen.
The move comes after a string of out of control open burns in the area over the weekend. The city has passed an ordinance during a council meeting Tuesday with more regulations on where, what and how much debris you can burn.
"I see controlled burns by private land owners that get away and will burn thousands and thousands of acres," said Mark Cazier, a natural resource specialist at Rend Lake.
Allen wants to get ahead of a crisis like this.
Restrictions on ceremonial fires and bonfires for things like a religious ceremony, a pep rally or similar purposes get tougher.
These activities now require a $5 permit from the fire department and an on site safety inspection with a fire official. The amounts of burn material cannot exceed 12ft in diameter and 5ft in height for bonfires.
All fires must be monitored and at least 50 feet from any structures or combustible materials (e.g. fences, houses, garages).
The rules bar residents from burning manmade materials, like tires or roof shingles.
The old laws "basically allowed people to burn whatever they wanted," Allen said.
The city wants open fires out by dusk, but small recreational fires can burn until 11 p.m.
The rules give fire officials more leeway.
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Aurora looks to buy land for 10th fire station
Aurora is looking to buy land on the northeast side for its 10th fire station.
The plan is for Fire Station 10 to be on land at Nan Street and Bilter Road, just to the west of the entrance to the new parking lot and expanded area of the Chicago Premium Outlets mall.
"We've been keeping our eyes open for a while for a site in that location," said Fire Chief John Lehman.
The City Council's Finance Committee this week recommended a contract to purchase the land. It still needs to pass the Committee of the Whole and full City Council.
Lehman told the committee the Fire Department gets about 500 calls in the area near the mall, and it will only increase, "especially with future development coming in." rora is looking to buy land on the northeast side for its 10th fire station.
Alderman Robert O'Connor, at large, asked what happens on days when the Outlet Mall traffic "is blowing up" and emergency vehicles need to be on the move.
Lehman said the department considered that when looking at the site.
"There's a good location to enter the back side of the property," he said.