Posts Tagged chicagoareafire.com

Shooting at Mercy Hospital, 11-19-18 (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Long before he opened fire at Mercy Hospital, Juan Lopez had a documented history of abusive behavior that he sometimes backed up with a gun.

While a trainee at the Chicago Fire Department Academy nearly five years ago, Lopez faced dismissal after being accused of aggressive and improper conduct toward women, according to the department. At some point, Lopez stopped showing up at the academy and was fired for abandoning his duties. He was never assigned to a firehouse as a firefighter or paramedic. It was during the disciplinary process that Lopez made the remarks about shooting up the academy. But they were never documented in internal records.

“If I get fired, I’m going to shoot this f—— place up,” he said, according to a firefighter who heard him. Department sources said they were aware of his remarks, but nothing was placed in his file.

It was during the disciplinary process that Lopez made the remarks about shooting up the academy. But they were never documented in internal records.

Later in the year, Lopez’s wife went to court for an order of protection, contending he had chased after a neighbor with a gun and had threatened to come to her workplace and “cause a scene,” according to court records. The order was soon terminated and no charges were filed against Lopez. A police spokesman said the incident was not reported to police.

In fact, Lopez had no criminal record when he walked across the parking lot of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on Monday afternoon and confronted his former fiancee, Dr. Tamara O’Neal, who worked in the emergency room.

He wanted his engagement ring back and they began to argue. O’Neal called 911 and Lopez pulled out a gun and fired. She fell and he stood over her and fired again. He then shot Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez as he arrived on the scene and pharmacist Dayna Less as she exited an elevator before turning the gun on himself. All four died.

O’Neal’s family said she had called off the engagement just weeks before.

Lopez also had a volatile relationship with his former wife. In seeking an emergency protection order back in 2014, she described behavior by Lopez that caused her much anxiety and fear. A judge issued the protection order, but it was terminated about two weeks later. The couple divorced in 2015 after about seven years of marriage. In the divorce papers, the former wife accused Lopez of constant infidelity and abuse.

Lopez maintained a job as a security guard in at least three different locations, including two hospitals. From 2008 to 2013, he was employed as an unarmed security officer at DePaul University. He also worked as a guard at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in south suburban Harvey and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. He was licensed by the state to work as a security guard in the mid-2000s, but his permanent employee registration card lapsed in 2009 and was not renewed. According to state records, he was never licensed by the state to carry a firearm while working security.

Most recently, Lopez worked for the Chicago Housing Authority, where he was hired in February 2018 as an associate program specialist. The CHA said in a statement he was hired “after undergoing the usual background checks. There is no history of complaints about him during the course of his employment at CHA.”

Lopez held a valid firearm owner’s identification card and a concealed carry license. He had bought at least four guns in the past five years. Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched his Northwest Side home after the shooting and began tracing his weapons.

 

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Hampshire Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the NWHerald.com:

With the approval of a referendum to set a tax rate that would add $236,000 to the Hampshire Fire Protection District’s budget, officials are looking to add staff and replace outdated vehicles.

Deputy Fire Chief Trevor Herrmann said the district has taken more than 1,200 calls this year, about 200 of which occurred when the crew was handling multiple calls at once. With the referendum’s passage, the district will increase its personnel levels from four firefighter/paramedics to five every shift starting June 1.

The district will be looking to add between three and five new crew members.

Any revenue left over will go toward the replacement of one of the district’s ambulances and fire engines. The district’s secondary ambulance is 11 years old, while its secondary fire engine is 21 years old.

These investments will not come without a cost to taxpayers. For the owner of a $200,000 home, the new tax rate would amount to an estimated $67 increase in the fire district’s portion of his or her property tax bill. The referendum narrowly advanced in the primary election, winning by a margin of only three votes, 552-549. It then received about 52 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 election.

Leading up to the election, School District 300 put its support behind the referendum because of its strong partnership with the fire protection district and the reliability it has shown to students and staff.

 

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New engines for Calumet City (more)

Production photos of two engines being built by E-ONE for Calumet City so 141912 and 141913

E-ONE fire engine being built so 141912

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141912

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141913

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141913

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141913

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141913

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E-ONE fire engine being built so 141912

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Evanston Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the chicagotribune.com:

Evanston aldermen signaled on Monday that they will not approve a proposal to eliminate nine firefighter positions and close and sell one of the city’s five fire stations in an effort to balance the 2019 budget. Aldermen said they see the importance of not reducing the fire department.

However, they did ask Fire Chief Brian Scott to think long-term about how the department could reduce costs, as city coffers are not expected to increase significantly anytime soon. The fire department expenses make up 22 percent of the Evanston budget’s general fund.

The fire department responded to 90 fires in 2017. About 65 percent of calls for service required a paramedic response. Almost all of Evanston’s firefighters are trained as paramedics, and all fire engines are ALS equipped. About 45 percent of calls occurred at the same time as another call in town, so engines regularly shuffle around the city to make sure all neighborhoods are covered in case of an emergency.

Since the early 1980s, “the department has lost staffing by 10 percent, call volume continues to increase and firefighters are asked to do more and more with the same amount of resources or even less,” Scott said.

Many of the calls for medical help come from repeat patients who don’t have insurance and depend on paramedics for care. The department is working with Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston to identify those people and get them into programs that could help them. Ideally that would ease the demand on the department and save taxpayers money.

The city council discussion comes as Evanston expects to face a $7.4 million deficit in the proposed $110 million spending plan for 2019. The anticipated shortfall comes from a $4.9 million shortage in the general fund, $1 million for bond payments for construction of the new Robert Crown Community Center and $1.5 million needed in the reserve fund, according to the budget proposal.

The reserve fund, which ideally should have 16.6 percent of the city’s annual operating expenses, ended 2017 at 12.8 percent. Aldermen are expected to vote on the 2019 budget later this month. The city’s new fiscal and budget year starts Jan. 1.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the dailyherald.com:

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District’s request for a property tax increase has failed yet again. Voters have a history of denying the district’s attempts to bring in more cash, and Tuesday’s election was no different. A binding referendum question seeking a 60 percent tax rate increase was denied in a 4,695 to 4,353 vote, according to unofficial tallies. The measure was a do-over from the March election, when the tax increase was rejected by a roughly 30-vote margin.

The cash-strapped district was hoping to use the additional $1 million or more per year to replace aging equipment, make crucial vehicle repairs, and bring staffing up to safer levels.  The board already has cut several firefighter positions in the past two years, including three part-time posts in the spring. The reduced staffing levels have forced the district to occasionally brown-out one of its two stations.

Fire officials for years have been debating how best to serve the district’s 25,000 residents while operating on what they say is insufficient funding. In the past, they’ve even contemplated outsourcing services or dissolving the district.

The referendum question on Tuesday’s ballot asked to raise the district’s tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. 

thanks Dan

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New engine for Hoffman Estates (more)

This from Michael Maida:

I was able to get a look at the new engine for Hoffman Estates Engine 24.

Hoffman Estates FD Engine 24

Michael Maida photo

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District could be facing more budget cuts after voters Tuesday shot down a request to increase the property tax rate by 60 percent.

The binding referendum question received 4,694 “no” votes and 4,351 “yes” votes with all precincts reporting in Kane and DuPage counties, according to unofficial tallies. The tax hike would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $53 per year, bringing in at least an extra $1 million for the district.

This is the second time voters denied the fire district’s request for a tax hike. The cash-strapped agency now will likely have to cut more firefighter positions and potentially brown-out one of its two stations on a rotating basis, Chief John Nixon said.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, a residents group has been making its final push to spread the word about a proposed property tax increase for the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District. 

The volunteers created a website, held informational meetings and increased their presence on social media. They handed out brochures during community events and communicated with homeowners associations. Most recently, they’ve been walking house to house to distribute door hangers in neighborhoods near St. Charles. The goal is to inform residents of the potential for reduced services if voters don’t approve a 16-cent tax rate increase for the cash-strapped district.

A binding referendum question on the ballot next week seeks to raise the property tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. If approved, the measure would generate at least an extra $1 million to replace aging equipment and bring staffing up to safe levels, Fire Chief John Nixon said.

Residents now have a second chance to vote on the tax hike, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $53 a year.

Fire district officials for years have been grappling with how to operate on their existing tax rate, which they say is the lowest in the area. The fire board decided this spring to cut three part-time firefighter positions and a handful of full-time positions were eliminated two years ago. If voters say no again, trustees will be faced with determining how to pay for necessary vehicle repairs, replace equipment and continue operating on what they say is insufficient funding.

That likely would mean cutting more positions and browning out one of its two stations on a rotating basis.

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Sexual harassment lawsuit against Country Club Hills (more)

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

A jury has awarded more than $11 million in damages to Country Club Hills Firefighter Dena Lewis-Bystrzycki who sued the city over alleged gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.

The lawsuit filed against the city in 2012, alleged she was passed over for a promotion and retaliated against for reporting misbehavior. She later amended her complaint to include allegations that firefighters regularly watched pornography at the fire station.

On Monday, after more than two weeks of trial testimony and a couple hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Lewis-Bystrzycki. The 12-member jury found in favor of the firefighter on all three of her claims — gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation — and awarded her a combined $11,213,000, a copy of the judge’s signed order shows.

The $11 million-plus award is broken down into $8 million for emotional harm and mental suffering; $2 million for compensatory damages; $1,085,000 for lost future earnings; $78,000 for time, earnings and salaries lost; and $50,000 for counseling expenses.

Judge McGrath instructed the jury it could draw adverse inferences from the city’s destruction of digital evidence and its failure to adequately search documents on its computers. She had previously ordered Country Club Hills to reimburse Lewis-Bystrzycki for attorney fees and costs incurred to hire a forensic expert.

An additional trial on equitable relief is scheduled for Nov. 6, according to the judge’s order. That proceeding would determine the amount Lewis-Bystrzycki will be entitled to for the loss of her pension and attorneys fees, which are estimated at $3 to $4 million. The judge also will be ruling on injunctive relief at that time, which could involve the city being forced to implement and adhere to policies, procedures and training around sexual harassment.

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New engine for the Beach Park FD (more)

Updated production photos of a new engine being built for the Beach Park FD at E-ONE so 142121

Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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Fire engine being built by E-ONE so#142121

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