Archive for April 20th, 2018

Mattoon Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The Mattoon Fire Department will have to hire a handful of new firefighters after a judge ruled that the city violated their contract last year. The department is supposed to have more than 30 firefighters, but right now they’re at 24.

The city says this is all because of money problems, and they plan to present a budget that’s not balanced for this year at their council meeting. Officials say they’ve been trying to cut back on city staff to close the deficit, but firefighters say enough is enough for cutting down their employees.

As firefighters have left there have been no new hires. After a judge’s ruling, that will change.

City Administrator Kyle Gill says it’s because the city is spending too much on staff and that the department was always at their minimum eight firefighters on duty, but firefighters had to work extra to make up for the empty slots.  Overtime jumped from 1,400 hours two years ago to 5,500 hours this fiscal year.

Even then, the city was spending less than having all 30 firefighters with fewer overtime.

Contract negotiations are at the end of this month and they might end up with less than 30 firefighters in a new contract, but it doesn’t seem like the fire department will let that be an option on the table. Mattoon city leaders are also expecting a ruling soon on whether or not the fire department will keep their ambulance service after the city council voted last year to get rid of it.


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Berwyn Fire Department news

Excerpts from

The Berwyn Fire Department received a 911 call reporting a fire in the 1500 block of Home Avenue at 8:15 p.m. the evening of April 15. When units arrived, they saw light smoke coming from the front door, which the residents had opened. Heavy fire was discovered coming from the basement area in the back of the home. The fire caused extensive damage in the basement and spread to the kitchen area damaging the first floor as well.

There were three occupants in the home at the time of the fire, and they each escaped without injury. While the exact cause of the fire has not been determined, it was related to a dryer in the basement that was in use at the time. Homes are required to have smoke detectors on every level. Firefighters could not locate a detector in the basement, and the first-floor alarm did not activate.

Berwyn firefighters were assisted on the scene by the North Riverside Fire Department.

thanks Josh

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Of interest … the new tax law

A letter to the

Twenty-eight years ago, I became a Chicago firefighter because I believe it’s important to extend a hand to those in need. My career path has given me financial stability, regular time off to spend with my family, and the chance to give back to my community.

Today, with two kids — one preparing to head to college and the other a junior in college — I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that this career has given me and my family.

Like me, most working people would be happy to see a few extra dollars in their paycheck each month. So it sounded like good news when President Trump signed the new tax bill into law, which Republicans in Congress promised would lower taxes for everyday Americans.

As promised, my paycheck has gone up by about $175. But when I went to see my accountant this year to go over my taxes, I found out that instead of getting a $3,000 refund like usual, I’ll owe more than $1,500 in taxes next year beyond what was already withheld — all on the same income. I was so shocked I asked my accountant to check again. But he came back with the same math and that same unexpected number.

That’s when I realized that the GOP’s plan is a classic bait-and-switch. And everyday Americans like my family are going to pay the price very soon.

Thanks to a cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) — deductions that benefit many middle and upper-middle class families — and other changes to deductions, many hardworking Americans will find themselves paying more in 2019. Instead of the refunds we’re accustomed to, we’ll be the ones writing checks.

The GOP tax plan added nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit, while slashing taxes for the very wealthy and big corporations. According to the Tax Policy Center, 83 percent of the tax bill’s cuts will go to the top 1 percent in our country. Ending SALT deductions is a way for the GOP to help raise revenue to cover the cost of those cuts — leaving working families like mine to foot the bill for tax giveaways to those who need them least.

Everyday Americans are paying in other ways, too. These tax cuts for the wealthy are being used to justify cuts to programs that help communities, including the one where I grew up and continue to serve as a firefighter today.

The hidden reality of the GOP tax plan is that most working and middle-class taxpayers will see their taxes go up over the next 10 years. Millions more will face cuts to programs that help them cover the basics. Republican legislators are hoping we won’t notice until 2019, after we cast our ballots in the 2018 midterm elections.

I’m not fooled that easily. Working Americans aren’t fooled that easily. We don’t pay taxes to help multinational corporations give their shareholders bigger payouts or to ensure wealthy people can add millions more to their bank accounts.

As a firefighter, I don’t mind doing my part to lift up my community, whether it’s responding to emergencies or paying my fair share in taxes. But I believe that politicians, the very wealthy, and big corporations should be doing their part, too — not forcing those of us who put in the work and risk our lives every day pay to cover their tax breaks.

Chicago Firefighter Gary Chavarria lives in Avondale.

thanks Dan


New engine for Lake Zurich

From the Pierce Flickr page:

Pierce Lake Zurich, IL FD 31156

Lake Zurich FD Engine 324

Pierce composite

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Working fire in Chicago, 4-18-18

This from Chi-Town Fire Photos:

Chicago firefighters were dispatched to a fire in a building @ 18th and Kedzie (1817 S Kedzie). The 14th Battalion landed with a 3-sty vacant, totally involved. Engine 107 deck gunned the rear on their arrival while Engine 109 lead out on side A. Shortly thereafter the 14th boxed it and was taking a defensive posture. In total, multiple hand lines, Tower 5, Squad 1, and a couple point advantages were used to knock down the fire.

Chicago FD Engine 109

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago Firefighters battle a fire

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago Firefighters battle a fire

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago Firefighters battle a fire

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago FD Squad 1A

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago Firefighters and fire trucks at work

Chi-Town Fire Photos

Chicago FD Engine 107

Chi-Town Fire Photos

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