Posts Tagged Hinsdale Fire Department

Hinsdale Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the patch.com:

About 15 people showed up at a Hinsdale Village Board meeting to show their support for 25-year-old Nicole Hladik, a Lyons Township High School graduate who took her own life in July 2020.

Last summer, Hladik’s estate sued the village and fire Lt. Tom McCarthy, alleging she was the victim of gender discrimination.

The first speaker at the meeting was Chicago firefighter Lee Ann McKay, who said Hladik had no place to go to air her complaint. She could not raise it to her supervisor, McCarthy, because he was the one harassing her. As a female firefighter, McKay said she knew what it was like to be berated every day. She urged the village board to change the culture in the Hinsdale Fire Department.

The day after her death, the village hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate whether Hladik was the victim of discrimination. The investigator interviewed everyone in the fire department and produced a 36-page report. The board approved spending more than $100,000 on the investigator. The village said the report was covered by attorney-client privilege, the reason it has not been released. The village manager and a few select others have seen the report. The elected village trustees have not seen it.

The village is willing to share the report with the family and the public, but would redact the names of those interviewed and the investigator’s conclusions. If the family’s attorney was fine with releasing it to the public with the redactions, the village would then do so. The report shows the village did nothing inappropriate in relation to Hladik, but the village manager is willing to hear from the family and others about whether anything is wrong with the report, which could result in a reopening of the investigation.

Hladik’s mother, Sharon Zaba, said the family declined to speak with the investigator because they did not trust someone hired by the village, given what happened to her daughter. She said she has nightmares constantly about her daughter’s situation, saying she will carry it for the rest of her life.

Later in the public comments, Cicero Firefighter Brian Kulaga, Hladik’s uncle, said local firefighters, including the fire chief, lied to the investigator. He said Cauley was berating the family for not talking with the investigator.

“I personally know multiple members of your fire department, and they lied to you. Your report is horribly, horribly flawed,” Kulaga said. “It’s not your fault. The fault (was) prior to the incident. The citizens should know what’s going on in your department. It’s a culture. Your department has been doing this for decades. Nicole was told on a daily basis that she was a failure.”

Hladik’s husband, Daniel Zaborowski, told the village board that he would speak with the family’s attorney about the offer on the report. He said their lawyer advised them not to speak with the village’s investigator.

thanks Scott

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Hinsdale Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the patch.com:

The estate for a Hinsdale firefighter who took her own life is suing the village and her supervisor, alleging she was the victim of discrimination based on sex.

Nicole Hladik, a graduate of Lyons Township High School, was 25. She was the only female firefighter in the department and the third in its history. Hladik, who died July 21, 2020, started with the department in 2019. Her husband, Daniel Zaborowski, the court-appointed administrator of Hladik’s estate, is named as the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Hladik wrote shortly before her death, “Work has destroyed me” and “I cannot take one more single day. Almost everyone at work will only be relieved.” The lawsuit said she added, “P.S. You’re welcome Lieutenant, I’m gone. I’m no longer your problem. You win.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the village said it conducted an investigation into the circumstances that led to Hladik’s death, finding that the fire department treated her fairly and respectfully. During her first six months, she was assigned to the department’s Gold shift, where she regularly met and exceeded the legitimate expectations as a probationary firefighter, the lawsuit said. She was on track to complete her probation and become a permanent firefighter.

In early 2020, she was moved to the Black shift, with McCarthy as her supervisor. In that shift, the village and McCarthy engaged in a pattern of conduct to break her and force her to quit because of her sex, the lawsuit said. She faced constant hostility, hazing and abuse amounting to sexual discrimination, according to court documents. The lawsuit said the department placed terms on her employment not imposed on male firefighters. For example, it said, McCarthy publicly ridiculed her through verbal confrontations and humiliating interrogations on her knowledge of fire services, all of which was designed to make her appear inept. McCarthy also questioned her competence and told her to quit in the presence of male firefighters, according to the lawsuit.

At least one time, the lawsuit said, Hladik was required to wear a blindfold to operate a firehose in a simulated fire. She was given a failing score and told she should quit, despite the impossibility of the task, it said. As Hladik closed in on the final two weeks of her probation, McCarthy subjected her to a performance improvement plan that was calculated to embarrass her and discourage her from remaining with the department, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said the plaintiff exhausted all administrative remedies through the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, with a complaint filed in 2021. 

The lawsuit maintains that Hladik met and exceeded the legitimate expectations for employment with the fire department. The village denied that contention.

No trial date has been set in the litigation. The plaintiff is seeking compensatory and economic damages.

A couple of months after Hladik’s death, the Village Board voted to authorize $60,000 to be spent on an investigation into the fire department. That limit was later lifted to $110,000. The village ended up spending $103,252 on the investigation. It was conducted by the law firm, Chicago-based law firm Cotsirilos, Tighe, Streicker, Poulos and Campbell.

In Tuesday’s statement, the village extended its condolences to Hladik’s family. It said it hired an independent investigator to examine and try to understand the circumstances leading to her death. The inquiry included internal interviews and reviews of relevant records. The investigator requested interviews with Hladik’s family to include information for the review and for any records that may shed light on the situation. Unfortunately, it said, the family declined multiple requests.

“The evidence found in the investigation reveals that Ms. Hladik was treated in a respectful and fair manner and that her performance requirements were the same as anyone in her position,” the statement said. “While Ms. Hladik’s death is a terrible loss for everyone, the evidence and interviews indicate that Ms. Hladik’s work environment was consistent with the high standards that all employees are held to by the village. The village is prepared to unequivocally refute any allegations to the contrary and aggressively defend the lawsuit filed by the Hladik family.”

The village decided to keep the investigation’s report secret, denying a Patch public records request. It cited attorney-client privilege.

The village has said little about the inquiry. In a September 2020 interview, Brad Bloom, the village’s assistant manager, said “some operational issues came to light. We thought we would benefit from an independent review. There are no allegations at this time against any particular member of the organization. There are no integrity issues.”

thanks Scott

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Hinsdale Fire Department news

Excerpts from wgntv.com:

Twenty seven-year-old Nicole Hladik was the only female firefighter at the Hinsdale Fire Department, and the third in the town’s history, died by suicide Tuesday.

Nicki was a bright rising star in the fire service, she was beloved by all of us of course and very happy early on,” Brian Kulaga, Hladik’s uncle, said. Then she traded shifts and suddenly just a lot of negativity and then leading up to today which was obviously a complete surprise to all of us,” he said.

The family said it doesn’t make sense. Our goal is, we just want someone to look into this, it’s not an accusation. It’s just the facts are, how could someone who was so happy and loved what she was doing go from one spectrum to the other end? It just doesn’t make any sense,” Joseph Hladik said.

The Village of Hinsdale released the following statement:

The Village of Hinsdale is heartbroken over the death of Firefighter/Paramedic Candidate Nicole Hladik, who took her life today. This is a devastating loss for her family and friends, the fire department, and the entire village.

We have been in contact with Nicole’s family; and, brought in grief counseling for our fire department. In the coming days, the village will seek an external evaluation to better understand what happened to one of our own.

We are grateful for having Nicole as a part of our village family. Her death is a loss for all of us, and we will keep everyone in our prayers. If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance, please call 800-273-TALK (8255).

DuPage County Coroner said autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday and no official ruling has been made on  the death.

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Hinsdale FD apparatus

Hinsdale FD Engine 84

Hinsdale Engine 84 – 2014 Pierce Saber 1500/750. Jeff Rudolph photo

Hinsdale FD Engine 85

Hinsdale Engine 85 – 2000 Pierce Dash 1250/750. Jeff Rudolph photo

Hinsdale FD Truck 84.

Hinsdale FD Truck 84 – 2008 Spartan Gladiator/Rosenbauer General/Metz 1250/300 105′ Raptor tower ladder. Jeff Rudolph photo

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New ambulance for Hinsdale

Found on instagram

new ambulance for the Hinsdale Fire Department

thanks Daniel

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3-Alarm fire in Hinsdale, 4-11-18

Hinsdale FD had a 3-alarm fire in a house at 329 E. 6th Street 4/11/18. Tim Olk photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Tim Olk photo

Pleasantview FPD truck at fire scene

Tim Olk photo

Pleasantview FPD truck at fire scene

Tim Olk photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Tim Olk photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Tim Olk photo

Oak Brook FD engine at fire scene

Tim Olk photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Tim Olk photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Daniel Hynd photo

Tri-State FPD fire engine

Daniel Hynd photo

Argonne Fire Department squad

Daniel Hynd photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Daniel Hynd photo

Oak Brook FD Squad93

Daniel Hynd photo

3-Alarm house fire in Hinsdale

Daniel Hynd photo

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New home for Hinsdale fire truck

Clearwater Paper Mill Fire Department

thanks Dennis

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Hinsdale Fire Department news

Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

When the Hinsdale Fire Department launched its first citizens fire academy this spring, it was designed as a fantasy camp for anyone whoever wondered what it’s like to be a firefighter/paramedic.

Over six weeks, the participants learned the skills firefighters and paramedics use, as well as got a behind the scenes look at life in the firehouse.

They practiced life-saving techniques, such as inserting an IV into dummies with arms., and had to put nuts and bolts together while wearing gloves to see how their dexterity was reduced.

On the final evening, firefighters filled the training tower with theatrical smoke and let the participants practice the way they enter a smoke-filled room. They could use a thermal imaging camera to find firefighters inside. Without the camera, the men were invisible through the smoke, although they were standing just a few feet away.

Participants used different extinguishers to put out fires that firefighters started for demonstration. They also learned and practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Firefighters hope to run the citizens fire academy again, but another session has not been scheduled yet.

thanks Dan

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2-Alarm fire in Elmhurst, 1-26-17 (part 7)

This from Steve Redick:

Thursday afternoon, an Elmhurst truck company returning from an alarm came upon this job at a bridal shop that was apparently closed at the time of the fire. I arrived after the 2nd alarm units. Three elevated master streams were used as well as a unique in-line operation between two quints supplying a multiversal. Conditions were overcast with frequent snow squalls and shifting winds caused a wide variation in the smoke conditions throughout the incident. The fire building was a total loss, with to my knowledge, little or no damage to any exposures.

fire trucks at commercial fire scene

Steve Redick photo

firefighters in street battle fire with which smoke

Steve Redick photo

Elmhurst fire truck at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Elmhurst fire truck at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

firefighters in street battle fire with which smoke

Steve Redick photo

Bensenville fire truck at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

firefighters in street battle fire with which smoke

Steve Redick photo

firefighters in street battle fire with which smoke

Steve Redick photo

Addison fire truck at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

firefighters in street battle fire with which smoke

Steve Redick photo

Hinsdale FD tower ladder at a fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Brook FD quint on a hydrant

Steve Redick photo

Oakbrook Terrace FPD fire engine on a hydrant

Steve Redick photo

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Hinsdale Fire Department news

This from Daniel Hynd:

I found this in the DuComm call log … a send off for Hinsdale Fire Chief Ronovsky

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