Oak Lawn politics in the news (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

An Oak Lawn firefighter who was dismissed in February after being accused of on-duty misconduct has reached a six-figure settlement agreement with the village over his termination.

Robert Lanz, a 15-year veteran of the Oak Lawn Fire Department, will receive a combined $100,000 — $42,040 for his accrued paid time-off benefits and an additional sum of $57,960 — and have all records of being disciplined over the allegations rescinded and removed from his personnel file, according to the terms of the agreement.

He will be considered to have resigned Feb. 16, rather than terminated, and will be entitled to collect his accrued paid time-off benefits, which had been specifically designated for him, as a result, village officials said.

While village officials continue to contend that Lanz engaged in on-duty misconduct, they said they opted for a pragmatic resolution of the issue to avoid further expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Officials said they felt confident in the village’s ability to prove its case but that if an arbitrator were to reinstate Lanz under the “just cause” standard, which protects against arbitrary or unfair termination, the financial consequences — like providing back pay and continued health insurance and pension obligations — would have been significant, likely in the high six figures.

Lanz, a onetime International Association of Firefighters Local 3405 union officer, came under scrutiny last year after being accused of misappropriating union funds for personal use, court records show. The Cook County sheriff’s office investigated the allegations but did not pursue criminal charges.

However, when village officials reviewed an audit of the firefighter union’s expenses performed as part of the sheriff’s investigation, they found numerous unsupported (phone) charges were attributed to Lanz, Village Manager Larry Deetjen said in a sworn court statement. Many of the charges Lanz incurred stemmed from two businesses that offer phone sex services and appeared to have happened at times when he was on duty, Deetjen said.

As a result, the village conducted a multiweek investigation into Lanz’s actions and ultimately fired him in early February for violations of multiple departmental rules and regulations.

He denied any wrongdoing and filed a grievance contesting his termination.

“All they have are some records, and they have no other information other than what they’ve interpreted records to mean,” Lanz’s then-attorney Patrick Walsh said last December.

Walsh, who claimed the village’s case was based on speculation, attributed his client’s dismissal to his involvement with the union.

In addition to agreeing not to speak ill of Lanz and his tenure in Oak Lawn, the village also provided him a reference letter that notes his good operational skills as a firefighter-paramedic, as part of the settlement agreement.

Mayor Sandra Bury, who said the terms of the agreement left her somewhat hamstrung to articulate the village’s case against Lanz and its decision to settle with him, implored taxpayers to trust that the board had acted in their best interest.

“Not everything is as it seems,” she said. “(Taxpayers) have to be confident that we acted in their best interest on this financially. There’s no benefit to the other path for the taxpayers. What’s important is closure and moving on for all parties.”

thanks Dan

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McHenry Township Fire District news

This from Michael Maida:

I attended the McHenry Township Fire District Station 5 grand opening.  The station will have a engine, ambulance, brush truck, and two trailers.  The engine is a 2009 Pierce. There will be 5 firefighters/paramedics on duty at a time.  I had the opportunity to witness the flag raising ceremony and the engine backing into quarters.  The neat thing with this station is whenever they get a call, there are red LED light strips in the ceilings that light up for 90 seconds.

Engine 42 was also at the open house, I was able to stop by station 1 and get a picture of the new Ambulance 51,

Sincerely,

Mike Maida

flag raising at new fire station

Michael Maida photo

flag raising at new fire station

Michael Maida photo

fire engine being pushed into new fire station

Michael Maida photo

fire engine being pushed into new fire station

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Engine 45

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Engine 42

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Ambulance 54

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Engine 42

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD decal

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Ambulance 51

Michael Maida photo

While I was at the open house, Engine 42 responded to a EMS run.  I was told they receive around 5,000 calls a year and 80% are EMS.

Mike

McHenry Township FPD Engine 42

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Engine 42

Michael Maida photo

McHenry Township FPD Engine 42

Michael Maida photo

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Lockport Township FPD news

Excerpts from the Herald-news.com:

A gas explosion the evening of Oct. 11 in Romeoville forced an evacuation of 24 residential units and injured two utility workers, one of whom could have died.

On Dec. 13, Liberty Mutual Insurance will present Lockport Township FPD Lt. Phil Hutto with a heroism award for his life-saving actions the night of Oct. 11.

Nicor Gas crews had been on the scene throughout the afternoon and evening in response to damage to a 2-inch gas line. Firefighters were standing by from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The explosion, however, occurred about 7 p.m. One resident was home at the time but escaped uninjured.

According to a description provided to Liberty Mutual by Lockport Township Fire Protection District, upon arrival, Hutto was performing a 360-degree assessment of the structure fire when he noticed two Nicor workers attempting to rescue a trapped co-worker under a section of a collapsed roof. Hutto dropped his air pack and entered the collapsed area to assist Nicor employees with the victim.

The victim was blue and gasping for air as the fire got closer. The three men were able to remove the victim from underneath the collapsed section of the roof and get him to the awaiting ambulance for patient care. He survived.

“It’s a pretty challenging situation to go in and do what Phil [Hutto] did,” Lockport Township Fire Protection District Chief David Skoryi said. “At the same time, the fire was rolling toward him quickly.”

Hutto said his father was a firefighter so he grew up around the profession. “I love coming to work,” said Hutto, who spends his off days with family, working as part-owner of a fire extinguisher company and teaching part-time at the Romeoville Fire Academy.

thanks Dan

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Working fire in Chicago, 11-19-16

This from Eric Haak:

On Saturday, November 19th, the Chicago Fire Department responded to the report of a house fire shortly after sunrise.  The Englewood Fire Alarm Office had received two different locations and the first engine arrived at the first address with nothing showing.  The alarm office advised they were also getting calls for 74th Street and Engine 54 landed with a fire a few seconds later.  The residence was occupied but no one was at home at the time.  The last photo shows a little modification made to a spare rig.

smoke billows from house on fire

Eric Haak photo

Firefighters prepare to enter burning house

Eric Haak photo

Firefighters on venting a roof during a fire

Eric Haak photo

Firefighters engulfed in smoke on house roof

Eric Haak photo

flames through the roof of a house with Firefighters

Eric Haak photo

Chicago FD company decal

Eric Haak photo

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North Riverside Fire Department news

Excerpts from the rblandmark.com:

It’s been seven years since H. Bob Demopoulos first ran as a political candidate in North Riverside. He ran as an independent for  mayor, and lost by a whopping 71 percent to 21 percent margin.

A lot has happened in the village since that time. The village struggled through the economic recession that hit as voters cast their ballots in 2009, and Demopoulos later emerged as a competitive candidate, winning two elections that followed.

In 2011, he ran again as an independent and was elected a trustee. He won re-election to the job in 2013 at the top of a slate of candidates, calling themselves Save Our Firefighters, which nearly pulled off an upset against the VIP Party.

He’s seeking the mayoral post again in 2017.

“Our main focus is fiscal responsibility,” said Demopoulos, who is calling for any year-end budget surpluses to go toward paying long-term liabilities such as pensions and post-retirement health insurance obligations.

“A certain faction of the budget needs to be earmarked toward paying off our debt,” Demopoulos said.

The village has earmarked certain funds toward such purposes. Red-light camera revenue in recent years has gone toward paying police and fire pension obligations. Meanwhile, sales taxes have been pledged to pay off debt issued to finalize a deal that brought Costco to North Riverside and more recently have been pledged to finance bonds sold this fall to fund road improvements.

But the village doesn’t have a dedicated stream of revenue other than general operating funds to pay for post-retirement health insurance costs, for which the village will be on the hook for many years at an estimated total cost of more than $35 million, according to the village’s most recent financial audit.

Demopoulos also said he wants to end the infighting between village government and the North Riverside firefighters union, which have been locked in a more than two-year-long court battle over privatizing firefighting services.

It’s unclear exactly how much the battle has cost the village, but records indicate the village, by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, expected to spend more than $500,000 in legal fees since 2014 on matters pertaining to the fire department.

“The legal stuff with the fire department has to end,” Demopoulos said. “It’s a losing battle.”

 thanks Dan

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MVA with entrapment in Buffalo Grove, 12-2-16

This from Larry Shapiro:

Buffalo Grove police and firefighters were dispatched for a two-car crash this afternoon (12/2/16) at the intersection of Buffalo Grove Road and Aptakisic short. Two ambulances were requested for the drivers of both cars, one of which needed to have the door opened with a spreader to remove the patient.

Firefighters assist accident victims at crash site

Larry Shapiro photo

side impact air bags inflated at crash

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighter uses Holmatro spreader at crash

Larry Shapiro photo

Firefighters assist accident victim

Larry Shapiro photo

Stryker ambulance cot with Power Load

Larry Shapiro photo

Buffalo Groe FD Ambulance 26 Freightliner M2 ambulance

Larry Shapiro photo

patient on Stryker cot

Larry Shapiro photo

more photos and video at shapirophotography.net

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Rutland Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

In a press release, Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District Fire Chief Richard Thomas said the department’s Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating has gone from a 4 to a 2.

The 2 rating awarded to Rutland-Dundee has been achieved by only 2.76 percent of fire departments throughout the nation, according to 2015 numbers. Of the 48,632 fire departments rated by ISO, only 1,343 have received a rating of 2 or better.

“Our firefighters and officers have worked hard to address all of the intricacies associated with the rating system and to identify how our resources can best be used to assure the biggest return on the investment made by taxpayers,” Thomas said. “This rating is also dependent on the performance of organizations beyond our department. A big factor in this rating was the commitment of the Village of Sleepy Hollow and the Village of Gilberts to upgrade their water systems.”

He also credited Quadcom 911 — the district’s dispatch center — and its board for helping achieve the rating.

The ISO rating is based on a wide variety of factors that assess how a fire department’s capabilities curtail the risk of loss by fire, explosion or other casualty, as well as the level of training received by department personnel, the type and condition of firefighting equipment, and the reliability and availability of a water supply for firefighting purposes.

Response times, which are dependent on the placement and availability of firefighting personnel and the location and staging of firehouses and equipment in relation to the structures they protect, is also factored into the rating.

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Chicago orders new squads (more)

This from Steve Redick:

I had a great opportunity to attend a media event held by the Chicago FD Tuesday. All of the not yet in service 2-piece squad companies (1,2,5,7) were brought to Northerly Island (Many will remember this as Meigs Field) for an unveiling and photo shoot. A total of 8 units altogether were positioned for a once in a generation group photo with views of the skyline in the background. After the group shot we had the chance to shoot each individual rig as well. The lone lime green/yellow units are assigned to Squad 7 at O’Hare Field. I made several panorama images which are comprised of 6 or 7 large resolution shots. When combined they yield a large highly detailed image. The small versions I am sending do not truly showcase these images … to see a good full size view check out my website:

All Chicago FD squad company apparatus

Steve Redick photo

all Chicago FD squad companies

Steve Redick photo

All Chicago FD squad company apparatus

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 1A

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 1

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 2A

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 2

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 5A

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 8

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 7

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 7A

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 7

Steve Redick photo

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Working fire in Stone Park, 12-1-16

The Stone Park FD went to 1538 N. 40th Avenue this morning (12/1/16) for a basement fire.

It was a Working Fire Response to a two-story, vacant, single-family dwelling. Two lines were used on the fire. Mutual aid companies were a Leyden truck, Bensenville squad and battalion chief, a Berkeley engine, Northlake truck, and an ambulance from Melrose Park. Change of quarters companies were an ambulance from River Forest and an engine from Norwood Park. There were no injuries and the fire is under investigation.

Stone Park FD Squad 21

Steve Redick photo

Stone Park FD Squad 21

Steve Redick photo

aftermath of basement fire in Stone Park

Steve Redick photo

aftermath of basement fire in Stone Park

Steve Redick photo

aftermath of basement fire in Stone Park

Steve Redick photo

Stone Park FD Squad 21 decal

Steve Redick photo

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New tower ladder for Gurnee (more)

updated production photos by E-ONE of the new tower ladder for Gurnee so#140562

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

Fire truck being built for the Gurnee FD

E-ONE photo

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