Posts Tagged Cherry Valley Fire Chief Craig Wilt

Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Joe Corl has announced he will be retiring in January and will be taking over as fire chief for another Stateline community.

Corl will be accepting the position of fire chief for the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District in neighboring Cherry Valley.

Corl has served on the Rockford Fire Department since March of 1989, most recently serving as the Division Chief of Operations. He will retire from his position in Rockford on January 27, 2017 and assume his new duties in Cherry Valley on January 30.

District Chief Michele Pankow, who has served on the Rockford Fire Department for over 24 years, has been named as the new Division Chief of Operations. Chief Pankow will take over full responsibilities for the position on February 3, 2017.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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A contract for fire chief was offered Friday by the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District, Gary Maitland, president of the district’s board of trustees said today.

The name of the finalist is not being released until after the candidate passes background and physical tests, as he is expected to do, Maitland said. His name may be announced at the trustees’ Dec. 7 meeting, and he likely will begin work in January.

The new chief will replace Craig Wilt, who retired in May after 44 years with the department. Interim Chief Doug Hayes did not apply. Maitland said two candidates from within the department were among the finalists.

All the candidates were male. Eight underwent an assessment, and four were interviewed by trustees. All were from Illinois. The finalist has more than 20 years of experience in firefighting.

Trustees haven’t finalized a salary, but the job was advertised for $95,000. The new chief likely will have a 2.5-year contract, as the district wants to get the contract in line with the fiscal year.

The district covers 35 square miles in the Village of Cherry Valley and unincorporated Winnebago County, serving 21,158 residents. There are 19 full-time employees; all are firefighters and paramedics except one, who holds only firefighting credentials. The district also pays 40 volunteer firefighters when they are on a call or at training.

The district has two fire stations with an annual budget of $3.4 million, which comes from taxes and ambulance service calls.

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Cherry Valley Fire Protection District news

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Three Cherry Valley Fire Protection District engines all wound up in the shop [at once]. “Everything broke at the same time, it seems,” said Allen Geeser, battalion fire chief for the district. One of the district’s trucks was in the shop for scheduled service. Then the oil pump went on another, and the springs and rear axle went on the third.

So for $500 a day, Cherry Valley is leasing a reserve fire engine from Rockford. The Rockford City Council Monday approved a short-term contract so the village can use a truck from the city’s reserve fleet.

“In order to ensure adequate protection for citizens of Cherry Valley, we graciously accepted an offer from the City of Rockford to loan us apparatus,” said Geeser.

Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten said the city has several reserve engines, … but they aren’t typically leased to other departments.

“When I heard they didn’t have any engines, I called up last Wednesday and said we have one I think you could use,” Bergsten said. “We just wanted to make sure they had the same level of fire protection.”

The fire engine breakdowns in Cherry Valley are likely to bring an equipment review for the person hired to replace Chief Craig Wilt, who retired May 24.

“One of the things we’re going to be asking the new district chief to do is to put together an apparatus plan,” said Gary Maitland, president of the fire protection district’s board, who noted the district’s fire engines were purchased in 1988, 1997 and 2008.

He said it may be time to start planning to replace the 28-year-old engine with a new model that could cost from $450,000 for a base model to about $600,000 for one with with all the bells and whistles.

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Cherry Valley Fire Department news

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 Cherry Valley Fire Chief Craig Wilt is calling it a career after 44 years with the department.

The 62-year-old has lived in Cherry Valley his whole life, serving not only half a century as a firefighter with the village but also a quarter century as a village police officer.

Thursday, Chief Wilt got to celebrate with the community at a retirement open house at the Cherry Valley Fire Station.

“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet. Still trying to learn how to relax. I’m still wound a little tight. Still get up around 5 o’clock every morning and I expect in due time that will start keying down a bit,” says Wilt.

Wilt followed in the footsteps of his father who served as a volunteer firefighter for 48 years. He tells us the biggest event of his career was the 2009 Canadian National Train Derailment and chemical fire.

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