Archive for August 6th, 2017

Rockford Fire Department news:

Excerpts from

Some of the Rockford fire stations are seeing the wear and tear from decades of use. From the toilets to the showers to the roof and even the living quarters Rockford Fire Station 10 is just one of the many stations in need of some serious repairs.

“We’ve cleaned the floors and the toilet and everything it’s just old. I’ve been at this station for 12 13 years,” says Rockford Fire Lt. Kathleen Macias.

“All of our stations were built prior to 1989 except for station 3 which was built 2016,” says Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten.

Built in 1957, Station 10 is nearly six decades old, and like many others was built at a time when mostly men were on the department. At 3900 square feet the station only has one shower and two small bathrooms, and with 6 people including three women space can be tight.

The city is looking at putting together a schedule to determine which stations have to be rebuilt and or relocated as well as what repairs need to be made to bring some of them up to current modern standards. The cost for rebuilding a station is estimated anywhere from $5 to $6 million.

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Of interest … Chicago Firefighter Jesse Rangel

Excerpts from

The violence on the streets of Chicago is not new. … a story of a young man who was shot, stabbed, and beaten decades ago, who later struggled, survived, and thrived. Now he picks up victims and tries with every breath to help them live.

He believes the key to stopping violence is to face it head on.

Chicago Firefighter Jesse Rangel, a veteran, was helping out at the academy.

“I always wanted to be a firefighter,” he says. “Best job in the world. It really is. It’s the best job in the world.”

Jesse lives on a quiet block on the Northwest Side of the city. It’s the same area where he and his wife raised three children. But his story begins in another part of town.

“I grew up in Little Village,” he says. “What a wonderful neighborhood! Restaurants, people, the Mexican Day Parade … but it was also filled with a lot of violence, drugs … gangs everywhere. So it was a tough neighborhood but it was home to us. We didn’t know anything different.”

Faith and his devoted parents kept Jesse and all nine of his siblings from joining the gangs that claimed the neighborhood, despite constant pressure.

“There was one time I was severely beaten by a gang that was just a few blocks, the opposing gang from the area from where I lived,” he says. “Three of them guys came up to me and just started beating me up. (I had) cuts all over my head, blood all over. I ended up getting stabbed in my arm. … They wanted me to join. It didn’t work.”

It wasn’t the first or last time he was the victim of gang violence. Years later, when Jesse was in his early 20s, something happened that changed the course of his life.

“I was just an innocent bystander. I was walking from my brother’s house to my mother’s house. And suddenly I hear some shots. Three weeks later woke up in hospital trying to figure out what happened.”

“It felt like I was drowning and sometimes I still feel that way,” he says. “Why is it me? Why was I saved? So I struggle with that even today. Why am I here? … I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life and that kind of convinced me, I wanted to make a difference.”

In 22 years Jesse has responded to so many fires, he’s lost count. But there’s one he’ll never be able to let go.

“I think about this one fire in particular,” he begins. “We arrive on the scene and this woman is yelling and despite the fact that she’s three stories up she’s ready to throw her baby. She had already thrown one baby down and there was a baby lying on the sidewalk … and she says ‘I’m gonna throw the baby! I’m gonna throw the baby!’ And I’m yelling at her at the top of my lungs, ‘Do not throw the baby! I’ll be right there!’ So I grab the ladder.

“I got up to the baby, she passed me the baby down and I ran down the ladder, passed the baby off and I ran back up. I grabbed the mother and I was able to bring the mother down. … The company that I was on that day, and myself, we ended up saving these kids … Did I survive that gunshot wound so I could save these people? It’s always on my mind, why am I still here?”

The question has haunted Jesse for 30 years. But at the same time, it’s what drives him.

“The majority of all our calls are EMS runs and its sad because you see a shooting victim, you see a stabbing victim and you think about what’s happening to their families. Just like my dad when he experienced that knock on the door.”

“There’s so much good out there,” he continues. “But there’s just a handful of bad people out there that do all of these bad things and evil. And that’s the part I don’t understand why people do this to other people. We seen them bad guys over at 25th and Trumbull. They’re up to no good and I felt strong enough to come in here and say a prayer for them that maybe they could change their lives, maybe they could turn around and think about not coming to violence on somebody else, and that’s what I prayed.”

thanks Dan


Gurnee Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik has decided not to conduct a candidate search to replace longtime Fire Chief Fred Friedl. On Monday, Kovarik will appoint John Kavanagh to the top job, according to the published board meeting agenda.

Kovarik initially said the village would conduct a search to fill the job. In June, Kavanagh was asked to lead the department during a search for a full-time chief. 

Whether Kavanagh’s promotion happens Monday depends on the consent of the village board. In June, the board unanimously approved his appointment to be acting chief. If the appointment is approved by the village board, Kavanagh will be the seventh fire chief in the department’s history, which dates to 1930.

In June, the Daily Herald obtained hundreds of pages of village documents and emails, through a Freedom of Information Act request for material possibly related to Friedl’s departure. The documents included Friedl’s resignation letter, which he sent on June 1, two days after he met with Kovarik, Village Administrator Pat Muetz, and Human Resources Director Christine Palmieri.

“Given the choices presented before me ‘Forced Retirement or Termination’, I dutifully submit to ‘Forced Retirement,'” Friedl wrote.

Kovarik disputes Friedl’s description of the May 30 meeting. She said she and the administrators went to his office about 7:30 a.m. that day and she informed him he was released from duty immediately.

Six days later, Kovarik recommended to the village board that Kavanagh, who was deputy chief at the time, be named acting fire chief.

The documents received by the Daily Herald contained no indication Friedl had been recently disciplined, nor were there outstanding complaints against him.

thanks Dan

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New ambulance for Kankakee (more)

Excerpts from the

A new ambulance went into service for the Kankakee Fire Department. Interim Chief Damon Schuldt made it a goal to replace a 15-year-old ambulance with more than 21,000 hours in service. The department has four ambulances total. 

The purchase price of the 2017 Ford F-450 four-wheel drive Wheeled Coach Company ambulance was $160,000.

Schuldt said that was $20,000 less since it was a demo and the department took quick delivery.

Just as quick was getting the ambulance ready to put in service within six days of taking delivery. It usually takes two weeks to a month to get an ambulance into service, Schuldt said.

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