Sycamore Fire Department news

Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

The Sycamore Fire Department will use a $135,228 federal grant to buy a mobile fire training prop and replacements for decades-old fire fighting equipment.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program is covering 95 percent of the estimated cost for the gear, while the city of Sycamore will pay the remaining cost of about $6,761.

The mobile training prop includes a 12-by-20-foot roofing platform mounted on a 23-foot trailer, forcible entry door props, and an overhead door-cutting station.

New equipment will include a breathing air compressor, fill station and cascade system to replace the current 20-year-old unit.

The department also will buy replacements for an attack hose that’s more than 20 years old and a supply hose that’s more than 14 years old.

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Box alarm fire in Schaumburg, 8-12-17 (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

No one was injured in a blaze in the 200 block of Oak Knolls Court in Schaumburg that started around 3 a.m. Saturday, but flames quickly spread through other’s garages, lighting up vehicles and then flitting upward. Five vehicles burned. The building was left uninhabitable.

The four units in the townhouse building were badly damaged, while a firewall prevented the fire from spreading to another four units, which sustained only smoke damage.

“When the first units arrived, it was completely involved in fire. Then it started spreading up the outside walls into the eaves and attic,” Schaumburg Fire Capt. John Steele said. 

Smoke detectors were working and alerted residents of the two-story wood structure. Fire departments from nine different towns assisted.

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New ambulance for Highland Park

From the FosterCoachSales Facebook page:

Brand new custom Horton conversion on a Ford F450 chassis.

Highland Park FD Ambulance 32

Foster Coach Sales photo

Highland Park FD Ambulance 32

Foster Coach Sales photo

Highland Park FD Ambulance 32

Foster Coach Sales photo

Highland Park FD Ambulance 32

Foster Coach Sales photo

interior of new ambulance

Foster Coach Sales photo

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Gary Fire Department news

This from Dennis McGuire, Jr.:

Remains of Gary, Indiana Engine 1, 2000 Ferrara after a fire destroyed city garage at 9th and Jackson a few days ago. From Facebook

Firefighters sue over excessive noise from sirens (more)

Excerpts from the palmbeachcoast.com:

Nearly two dozen Palm Beach County firefighters are suing a publicly-traded company claiming sirens it produces for emergency vehicles robbed them of their hearing.

In a lawsuit filed this week in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, current and former firefighters for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, the West Palm Beach and Boca Raton fire departments say Federal Signal Corp. should have warned them of the hazards of long-term exposure to the high-intensity sirens. They are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Federal Signal provided no warnings or inadequate warnings to consumers and end users … about the dangerous propensities of the noise emitted by the sirens,” Pennsylvania attorney Carmen DeGisi wrote in the lawsuit. “Repeated exposure over a period of time to the noise … (has) caused permanent, irreversible hearing loss to the plaintiffs.”

Chicago attorney David Duffy, who represents the diverse Illinois-based company, said it has been hit with similar lawsuits from firefighters elsewhere in the country.

“Federal Signal has strong defenses to these cases and has prevailed in a string of jury trials,” he said in a statement. “Federal Signal is committed to defending its quality siren products and will litigate these cases as necessary.”

It has defeated firefighters’ claims of hearing loss in jury trials in Philadelphia and Cook County, Illinois, according to company news releases.

In April, it recovered $128,000 in legal costs after a law firm dropped its suit on behalf of Washington, D.C. firefighters. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the law firm failed to properly investigate the hearing loss claims before filing the suit, Federal Signal said.

“Sirens,” Duffy said, “are vital public safety products and save lives.”

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Chicago Fire Department news

An update to CFD retirees from a reader:

Dear Retirees,

Wednesday’s hearing was a pretty frustrating experience. We presented five issues, on which we felt fairly confident.

1. Our renewed motion for Class Certification.
2. The judge’s choice of orders to enter for the March hearing at which he ordered audit and reconciliation of the 2013 to 2016 years.
3. The City’s assertion that he lacks jurisdiction over the post-2013 reconciliations.
4. The Funds’ report on the actions to fulfill their obligations to provide health care coverage for the annuitants for 2018.
5. The City’s report on the progress in the audit and reconciliation process.

After about two hours of hearing, attended by perhaps 40 of you, Judge Cohen finally ruled that he instead has no jurisdiction over the post-2013 reconciliations, yet he has set September 14 as the next status for the city to report on the 2014-2016 reconciliation process timetable.

Denied class certification again, preferring to await rulings on the merits if the Supreme Court takes our appeal. The transcript should be out by the end of the week, we hope, and we’ll post it.

But I do not believe that we can expect judge Cohen to follow through on actually ordering the city or the Funds to comply with any of their obligations, unless he is ordered to do so by the appellate court.

Accordingly, we will put our efforts into our Petition to the Illinois Supreme Court, which is due September 7, and we may try to get the class certification and jurisdiction issues up there as well.

It will be a challenging but important month ahead. Your contributions are invited and welcome.
Finally, after I presented to the Firefighters union last week seeking their assistance, they instead have sent their counsel to intervene in our case. As I advised their lawyer, if they are here to help, we welcome them. But their actual purpose remains to be seen.

Clint KrislovKrislov & Associates, Ltd.

thanks Bill

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Elmhurst Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The emergency call came to the Elmhurst Fire Department late on a cold night this past February. An ambulance was needed at the Elmhurst YMCA, 211 W. 1st St.

For the firefighters and paramedics who responded, the call was almost routine. For 58-year old Frank Sangiacomo, who was having a heart attack, it was anything but routine.

Sangiacomo told the story Monday to the Elmhurst City Council as Andrea White of Elmhurst Hospital recognized first responders firefighter/paramedics with a Run of the Month award for their actions that saved Sangiacomo’s life.

Sangiacomo, a longtime hockey player, had gotten off the ice at about 11 that February night after a pickup game and happened to be changing clothes next to off-duty Elmhurst FD Lt. Jeff Hayes.

As I headed for the shower, the room started spinning and I couldn’t focus,” said Sangiacomo, adding that he’d been playing with some chest pain for a couple of weeks.

Hayes suggested calling an ambulance.

“Jeff got the ball rolling. Without him, I’m sure I wouldn’t be standing here,” he said.

Paramedics Chris Placzek and Samantha Georges, joined by Elmhurst Fire Department Lt. Steve Wroble and firefighters Eric Davidson and Scott Wardzala, responded.

White, emergency medical services coordinator for the hospital, said the award recognizes excellence in such areas as communications with the hospital and clinical assessment.

thanks Dan

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House fire in Clinton, WI 81/31/7

This from Tim Olk:

Was on my way home from Monroe Wis at the fire school. Just passing Rockford, Clinton FPD pulled a Mabas Box Alarm for a house fire. Upon arrival they found heavy smoke pushing from the C&D corner, which was a back porch  right off the kitchen. The building was a 2 1/2-story, wood frame house about 30×50.

Being a balloon-frame, fire was already on floors 1 and 2 and in the attic. One firefighter and the state fire marshal were called to the scene.

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

HME fire truck at fire scene

Tim Olk photo

firefighters at house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

heavy smoke from attic during a house fire

Tim Olk photo

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Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department news (more)

Excerpts from the nwherald.com:

The firefighters union is taking the city to court for nixing a tax fund firefighters tried to use to buy items ranging from Fitbits to coffee beans.

The lawsuit could add to tensions between the union and city officials. Nine Crystal Lake firefighters, including two who were arrested, face discipline in connection with an off-duty incident in March at a local bar.

The Crystal Lake Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board and the city’s firefighter’s labor union filed a lawsuit Aug. 2 against the city and numerous city officials, alleging that they violated state laws when they zeroed out the foreign fire insurance tax imposed on out-of-state insurance companies. The tax collects more than $60,000 a year.

The lawsuit further alleged that the city council violated state laws when it decided to dissolve the tax board, to withhold foreign fire tax fees collected from insurance companies, and to return the money collected to the companies that paid the fees.

However, the city council never did any of those things. Instead, the council approved a watered-down version of the ordinance. An earlier draft ordinance had called for dissolving the board, but the city council never considered or voted on the draft ordinance.

Mayor Aaron Shepley said the tax board gave council members a draft of the lawsuit before the Aug. 1 meeting “in an effort to intimidate” council members.

He said the tax board did not amend its lawsuit to accurately reflect actions taken by council members, which solely included setting the tax rate at zero and agreeing to use the remaining $150,000 in the tax fund until it is depleted, according to city documents.

The dispute stems from the board requesting city council approval to use foreign fire tax funds for expenses that would personally benefit firefighters, including Fitbits, duffel bags, health club memberships, and day care services for children while members use the health club. Funds also were requested to buy coffee beans, which the city already provides for its departments.

The foreign fire tax is imposed for the purpose of providing maintenance, use and benefit of the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department, including buying and maintaining equipment for firefighting, training and conditioning; and covering training or certification fees authorized by the fire rescue chief, according to city code.

Fire Rescue Chief Paul DeRaedt, who by virtue of rank serves as a trustee on the tax board, said the board’s recent requests raised some red flags because funds are meant to be used for the benefit of the entire department rather than the personal benefit of individual firefighters.

“I felt those expenditures – such as the Fitbits, the gym memberships and the coffee beans – were not acceptable because it was more of personal use,” DeRaedt said. “It’s almost like we’re spending additional dollars on things we’ve already provided for them.”

In previous years, the city’s foreign fire tax funds have gone toward buying exercise equipment and a new firehouse alert system in all three of the city’s fire stations. Funds also have helped buy additional equipment to re-outfit a reserve fire engine, new hydraulic equipment for extrication, carbon monoxide monitors, and backup firefighting suits.

On Jan. 7, 2015, the board approved spending $44,000 annually to reimburse gym membership fees for firefighters, according to foreign fire insurance board meeting minutes. It was unclear whether the money approved also included on-site day care services while members used the gym.

In 2016, the board also approved $14,000 for 70 Fitbit devices and $2,600 a year to supply firefighters with 36 pounds of whole coffee beans each month from PI Coffee Roasters. The city already spends about $1,270 a year to buy coffee and filters for all of its departments. PI Coffee Roasters runs Rockford-based Fire Department Coffee, a firefighter-owned and operated company that gives a portion of every sale to military and firefighter charities

The latest expense the tax board approved was about $57,000 for legal services. The details of what the legal services entail are unclear from the board’s meeting minutes, but the fees would use up nearly all of the estimated $61,000 the tax board collects each year.

Since 2003, the Illinois Municipal League has collected and turned over more than $780,000 in foreign fire tax fees to the city, according to the lawsuit filed by the firefighters union.

The tax will collect about $61,000 once more in the fall before indefinitely halting future collections, unless the city and board can reach an agreement about how to spend the money.

“The current foreign fire insurance tax board has done an exact about face on their predecessors over a period of at least 20 years,” Shepley said. “For now, as long as they’ve made the decision and continue on the path that they insist they have a right, it’s better off that taxpayers not have to bear these expenses.”  

DeRaedt said changes to the leadership of the board, which elects six trustees in December of even-numbered years, has led to differences in opinion between trustees and city officials in recent years on what expenses are deemed beneficial to the department.

The tax board voted in July to retain legal counsel to update its bylaws and to assist in efforts to obtain monies from the city being unlawfully withheld from the board, according to court documents. A tax board meeting in January included several tense exchanges between union members and city officials.

Shepley said that the Crystal Lake Professional Firefighters Local 3926 union, one of two plaintiffs on the lawsuit, has no business being involved in discussions that have nothing to do with the city’s collective bargaining agreement.

The union’s contract with the city is set to expire April 30. Negotiations are expected to begin in the spring.

As far as discussing the future of the foreign fire insurance tax, DeRaedt said he is unaware of any meetings scheduled between trustees and city officials, but he remains optimistic.

thanks Dan

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Wauconda Fire District news

Excerpts from the NWherald.com:

A high-speed police chase Wednesday morning ended in a fiery crash in front of the museum, 27582 Volo Village Road, Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes said.

A 22-year-old man from Wauconda was spotted by Wauconda police about 10:30 a.m. driving north on Route 12 at 84 mph. When police pursued the car, the driver sped up. A Wheeling police officer spotted the car driving about 100 mph.

The driver failed to navigate the intersection at Fox Lake and Volo Village roads, and crashed into a pole outside the auto museum.

When police caught up and took the driver from his car, a red 2014 Dodge Challenger, it caught on fire.

Wauconda Fire Lt. Dan Frey said firefighters responded to the crash and found a subject sitting on the side of the road with police. The man was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening. Firefighters extinguished the car fire without any injuries.

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