Archive for June 29th, 2014

Chicago Ridge fire chief resigns

The Southtown Star has an article about the resignation of Chicago Ridge Fire Chief Robert Muszynski:

Citing “personal differences” with the village’s elected officials, Chicago Ridge Fire Chief Robert Muszynski has resigned over differences about changes the village is considering for the fire department. Muszynski’s resignation comes a few weeks after the village board encouraged Mayor Chuck Tokar to look at whether firefighter and/or ambulance service could be provided more efficiently. Now, firefighters say they’re worried about their jobs.

Changes could include hiring a private ambulance service, joining a fire protection district or adding a second ambulance at the former fire house at 107th Street and Lombard Avenue, Tokar said. Three older fire trucks are stored there and mainly used for training by paid-on-call firefighters, he said. The on-call firefighters sometimes are used when the village is busy with another call.

The main firehouse opened five years ago in an industrial park on Chicago Ridge’s west side, roughly two to three miles from the heart of the village’s residential area. Tokar and the board are concerned the distance may waste precious moments for ambulance calls that sometimes are answered by neighboring communities.

Adding a second ambulance would necessitate hiring up to eight more firefighters, Muszynski said.

That’s not in the cards in part because it would push the village’s annual pension levy upward of $1 million, Tokar countered. “We can’t afford to hire seven or eight to staff that 24/7. That’s way too expensive,” Tokar said.

When it became obvious that Muszynski would not budge, the board demanded his resignation through Tokar. The chief submitted his resignation letter Monday.

Firefighter/paramedic Christ Schmelzer, president of Chicago Ridge Professional Firefighters Local 3098, said “there’s a lot of tension in the firehouse.” “We basically fear for our jobs. No one has come over and told us to not worry. Everybody is running around scared,” he said.

Muszynski, 58, formerly of the Skokie and Schaumburg fire departments, was hired as chief in early 2011. Tokar said he was pleased with his performance as chief.

There’s no intention to lay off any full-time employees, Tokar said. Nevertheless, the fire department could be more efficient, he said. Ambulances from Alsip, Bridgeview, North Palos or Oak Lawn answer a large number of Chicago Ridge calls, he said. Another ambulance would keep more money in Chicago Ridge and help residents, he said. To slash costs the department could cut the number of firefighter/paramedics per call from two to one and stop sending a fire truck to every ambulance call, Tokar said.

In a June 4 interview, Schmelzer said there are 12 firefighter/paramedics and one lieutenant in the union, down from 17 a few years ago.

Local 3098 said in a letter that last year the fire department had 2,424 requests for service, with 1,599 of those for an ambulance. The department handled 87 percent of those calls, and outside agencies only were called in when they were busy on other calls, according to the letter.

The letter does say there are admittedly upsides to a protection district but urges all facets of any potential merger must be examined. Meanwhile, the village’s letter sent last week to residents hints that big changes are possible, saying they would “have no problem” with a fire department staffed by part-timers.

Both sides are in the midst of contract negotiations, which often can filled with heated exchanges and accusations.

The starting salary for firefighters is $45,000 Schmelzer said, but there’s been only one new hire in 10 years. Low staffing has forced overtime, and the village paid $45,000 in overtime over six weeks, Schmelzer said. The village said the highest base salary with benefits is more than $100,000 annually, counting overtime.

Tokar said he plans to talk with more fire department efficiency experts on ways to improve things in Chicago Ridge.

thanks Dieterich 

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Prospect Heights 1996 Pierce Lance squad for sale

1996 Pierce Lance Rescue pumper for sale 1996 Pierce Lance Rescue pumper for sale 1996 Pierce Lance Rescue pumper for sale 1996 Pierce Lance Rescue pumper for sale


From the Prospect Heights website


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Chicago 2-11 Alarm fire, 6-29-14

This from Eric Haak:

Here are some images from a 2-11 alarm fire early Sunday morning.  This fire was literally a half block south of Engine 109’s house on Kedzie.  A few months back, Engine 109 had an extra-alarm fire directly across from their quarters.  This morning’s fire was in an auto repair shop which was a newly constructed two-story in the front connected to an old truss roof one-story in the rear.  The total building size was about 40×100 but the fire was contained primarily to the rear section which was 40×25.  Five handlines were used in the alley along with one that was brought up Truck 32 to the roof of a neighboring building to the north.  One multi-versal was used through the front overhead door and Tower Ladder 5 was put to work on Kedzie.  Images seen here were taken approximately 35 minutes in.  All four box engines were pumping with 99 in the alley, 109 in sector A,  107 to the south on Kedzie, and 38 in front of 109’s quarters which was kind of odd to see.
Erick Haak photo

Erick Haak photo

firemen at fire scene in alley

Erick Haak photo

firemen use multi-versal units at fire scene

Erick Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 99 pumping at a fire

Erick Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 107 pumping at a fire

Erick Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 38 pumping at a fire

Erick Haak photo

Chicago FD Engine 109 pumping at a fire

Erick Haak photo107

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New CFD Ambulance 45

This from Martin Nowak:

Here’s a picture of the New A45 and a picture of the old. 

A45 – 2014 E-450/Wheel Coach.
(Old 45) – 2006 Ford F-350/Braun.
old Chicago FD ambulance

Old CFD Ambulance 45. Martin Nowak photo

new Chicago FD ambulance

Martin Nowak photo

new Chicago FD ambulance

New CFD Ambulance 45. Martin Nowak photo

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