Posts Tagged North Riverside Fire Department

As seen around … North Riverside

From Josh Boyajian:

Mack CF fire engine

Josh Boyajian photo

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Fatal Box Alarm in Berwyn, 5-5-17 (part 1)

This from Jeff Braun, Jr.

Here are some photos of the Box Alarm for the house fire in Berwyn at 3310 S Home Ave. The fire started at approx. 11:45 hours. Companies arrived on scene and reported heavy smoke and fire showing from the roof. The Box Alarm was initiated about 10 minutes into the incident. One victim was found deceased. Thanks. -Jeff Braun Jr.

firefighters with hose line at fire scene

Jeff Braun, Jr. County-Wide Photography

flames from the attic of a house

Jeff Braun, Jr. County-Wide Photography

North Riverside FD Piere PUC fire engine on a hydrant

Jeff Braun, Jr. County-Wide Photography

Oak park E-ONE tower ladder at fire scene

Jeff Braun, Jr. County-Wide Photography

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North Riverside Fire Department news

Excerpts from the rblandmark.com:

The president of North Riverside Firefighters Union Local 2714 announced a vote of no confidence in Fire Chief Brian Basek during a blistering and, at times, personal denouncement at the end of the village board’s March 20 meeting, and which appeared timed to inflict maximum political damage and embarrassment to Mayor Hubert Hermanek just two weeks before the April 4 election.

In a council chamber packed to overflowing with supporters of both union firefighters and the village’s administration, union President Chris Kribales said members cast unanimous no confidence votes and read a two-page prepared statement blasting Basek’s “inability to provide sound leadership and effectively manage the affairs of this fire department.”

Basek, a full-time North Riverside firefighter for 32 years and chief since 2013, announced his retirement last year and intended on walking away from the job at the end of November 2016.

He agreed to stay on through the election as a favor to Hermanek, since candidates for the job were leery of taking a new job with a mayoral election just over the horizon.

The chief sat silently through Kribales three-minute statement, during which the union president criticized him for “flagrant apathy for public safety,” “orders to use antiquated apparatus and equipment” while new equipment sat idle, “intentionally misinterpret[ing] the labor agreement, and “micromanag[ing] the day-to-day operations of his command staff.”

“This undereducated, underqualified mayoral appointee conveys an arrogance and ignorance dangerous to his position by not allowing positive, proactive decisions necessary for this department to move confidently forward,” said Kribales to the applause of his supporters.

In a phone interview after the meeting, Basek told the Landmark, “I don’t want to dignify Mr. Kribales’ remarks with a response.”

Hermanek responded at the meeting to the no-confidence announcement by rattling off a list of accomplishments, from setting department policies to securing a grant for a new fire engine, that lasted six minutes. At the conclusion of Hermanek’s remarks, many in the audience along with all of the members of the village board, responded with a standing ovation in support of the fire chief.

While the fire chief didn’t want to respond to the vote of no confidence, Hermanek called the union president’s statement “embarrassing, disgusting and uncalled for.”

The mayor also said it was an election stunt near the climax of a campaign where administration three-year effort to privatize the fire department have drawn clear battle lines.

Kribales told the Landmark that firefighters took the no-confidence vote about a month ago. Basek and Hermanek said no one from the fire department mentioned anything to them about the vote in the past month.

Trustee H. Bob Demopoulos, who stood to applaud after the mayor’s March 20 remarks, is running against Hermanek for mayor and has made the fire department his number one issue for the past two municipal elections.

In 2015, Demopoulos was re-elected trustee, leading a slate of candidates calling itself Save Our Firefighters.

Since 2013, he has supported the fire union’s proposal for the village to drop its longtime private paramedic service and use part-timers to man ambulances while union firefighters, most of whom are not cross-trained, get paramedic certification. Demopoulos and the union want the department to be staffed only by union firefighter/paramedics and Demopoulos has embraced the union’s call for additional staffing.

Paramedic Services of Illinois, the village’s paramedic service for more than three decades, has contributed $8,885 to the VIP Party, of which Hermanek and every village trustee with the exception of Demopoulos is a member. Their last contribution was for $1,500 on Feb. 14.

While state campaign contribution records don’t indicate any large donors to Demopoulos’ campaign to be from individuals or groups associated with firefighters, past Demopoulos campaigns drew financial support from local and out-of-town firefighters.

In 2015, the biggest contributors to Save Our Firefighters were a pair of Berwyn firefighters, which each gave $1,000. The campaign also received donations from the Berwyn Firefighters Union ($250), the Cicero Firefighters Union ($250) and a veteran North Riverside firefighter ($200).

thanks Dan

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North Riverside considers privatizing the fire department (more)

Excerpts from the rblandmark.com:

A 2014 bid to have a Cook County Circuit Court judge declare that the Village of North Riverside had a right to unilaterally terminate its contract with union firefighters fizzled on March 15 when the Illinois Court of Appeals upheld the circuit court’s ruling that it had no jurisdiction over the matter.

In an eight-page ruling handed down by a panel of three appellate court judges, Justice Terrence J. Lavin wrote that the village’s argument that it was merely raising a legal question about its right to end a collectively bargained contract with firefighters was patently disingenuous.

Rather, the appellate court ruled, the circuit court properly dismissed the village’s complaint. As exclusive jurisdiction lies with the [Illinois Labor Relations] Board.

It’s not clear exactly whether or when the matter will end up as the subject of binding arbitration in front of the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

But, North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. told the Landmark in a phone interview that the March 15 decision would not be appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and that the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court is now dead.

The village is now pinning its hopes on another case in front of the Illinois Court of Appeals. In July 2016, the Illinois Labor Relations Board voted 4 to 1 in favor of the firefighter union’s unfair labor practice complaint, arguing the village had no right to unilaterally terminate its contract with firefighters.

North Riverside appealed that decision and the matter is pending in the Illinois Court of Appeals. It’s unclear when a ruling will be handed down, but the case has been fully briefed and both sides are simply awaiting a decision.

If that ruling comes down in favor of the firefighters, the union would ask the labor board to set a date for arbitration, which has been on hold since January 2015.

The union demanded arbitration in September 2015, shortly after the village filed its lawsuit in circuit court. The Illinois Labor Relations Board agreed to the demand, and ground rules for the arbitration process were set at a meeting in January 2015. But the arbitrator assigned to the case held the arbitration in abeyance until all matters before the courts were cleared up.

Hermanek said he’d prefer hammering out a new union agreement with firefighters to arbitration.

Hermanek wants to limit the number of union firefighter positions because of the pension obligations that were the primary argument for the 2014 fire privatization bid. The department is short three firefighters, but the situation has led to high overtime costs, with union firefighters filling in whenever a shift is short-staffed.

The mayor would like the union to agree to allow the village to hire paid-on-call or contract firefighters to fill the gaps when shifts are short of personnel in order to reduce the overtime burden. The union reportedly has rejected the proposal.

Chris Kribales, president of North Riverside Firefighters Union 2714, said firefighters would agree to allowing paid-on-call or contract firefighters to fill out shifts in return for replacing the village’s contract paramedic service with part-timers culled from the department’s hiring list.

Kribales said the part-time ambulance staffing model has been employed by the Bensenville Fire Protection District. According to a help wanted ad from that department last November, part-timers’ starting pay is $12.50 per hour.

Despite setback after setback in the courts, Hermanek defended the village’s decision to file the suit seeking termination of the union contract, saying that someone had to take on the unions in order to control pension obligations. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, police and fire pensions account for about 12 percent of the village’s annual operating budget.

thanks Dan

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2-Alarm fire in Berwyn, 12-18-16

Photos from Steve Redick of the 2-Alarm fire in Berwyn Sunday (12/18/16)

Berwyn FD ladder truck at a fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Park FD tower ladder at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Park FD tower ladder at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Park FD tower ladder at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Park FD tower ladder at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Oak Park FD tower ladder at fire scene

Steve Redick photo

master streams at winter fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Berwyn FD fire engine at a fire sene

Steve Redick photo

Stickney fire engine pumping

Steve Redick photo

Cicero FD fire engine pumping

Steve Redick photo

North Riverside FD tower ladder pumping

Steve Redick photo

Berwyn FD ladder truck at a fire scene

Steve Redick photo

Berwyn FD Pierce Dash CF PUC at a fire

Steve Redick photo

firefighters working in frigid temperatures

Steve Redick photo

This from County-Wide Fire Photography:

Here are some shots of the 2nd Alarm fire in Berwyn at 1411 Highland Ave. These photos are from about 45 minutes into the incident. Thanks.

Bedford Park FD Snorkel

County-Wide Fire Photography

North Riverside FD fire truck

County-Wide Fire Photography

Berwyn FD fire engine on a hydrant

County-Wide Fire Photography

Berwyn firefighters at fire scene

County-Wide Fire Photography

aftermath of apartment fire in Berwyn IL

County-Wide Fire Photography

Berwyn fire truck at fire scene

County-Wide Fire Photography

Berwyn firefighters at fire scene

County-Wide Fire Photography

Bridgeview fire engine

County-Wide Fire Photography

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North Riverside Fire Department news

Excerpts from the rblandmark.com:

It’s been seven years since H. Bob Demopoulos first ran as a political candidate in North Riverside. He ran as an independent for  mayor, and lost by a whopping 71 percent to 21 percent margin.

A lot has happened in the village since that time. The village struggled through the economic recession that hit as voters cast their ballots in 2009, and Demopoulos later emerged as a competitive candidate, winning two elections that followed.

In 2011, he ran again as an independent and was elected a trustee. He won re-election to the job in 2013 at the top of a slate of candidates, calling themselves Save Our Firefighters, which nearly pulled off an upset against the VIP Party.

He’s seeking the mayoral post again in 2017.

“Our main focus is fiscal responsibility,” said Demopoulos, who is calling for any year-end budget surpluses to go toward paying long-term liabilities such as pensions and post-retirement health insurance obligations.

“A certain faction of the budget needs to be earmarked toward paying off our debt,” Demopoulos said.

The village has earmarked certain funds toward such purposes. Red-light camera revenue in recent years has gone toward paying police and fire pension obligations. Meanwhile, sales taxes have been pledged to pay off debt issued to finalize a deal that brought Costco to North Riverside and more recently have been pledged to finance bonds sold this fall to fund road improvements.

But the village doesn’t have a dedicated stream of revenue other than general operating funds to pay for post-retirement health insurance costs, for which the village will be on the hook for many years at an estimated total cost of more than $35 million, according to the village’s most recent financial audit.

Demopoulos also said he wants to end the infighting between village government and the North Riverside firefighters union, which have been locked in a more than two-year-long court battle over privatizing firefighting services.

It’s unclear exactly how much the battle has cost the village, but records indicate the village, by the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, expected to spend more than $500,000 in legal fees since 2014 on matters pertaining to the fire department.

“The legal stuff with the fire department has to end,” Demopoulos said. “It’s a losing battle.”

 thanks Dan

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New tower ladder for North Riverside (more)

This from Drew Gresik:

Here is a shot of the new North Riverside tower ladder, a 2016 Pierce Velocity 2000/300/100′ RM. It was a demo, and it is not in service yet. Pierce serial number #28875.

North Riverside FD Tower Ladder 806

North Riverside Tower Ladder 806. – 2016 Pierce Velocity 2000/300/100′ RM so #28875. Drew Gresik photo

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North Riverside Fire Department news

Excerpts from the RBLandmark.com:

Brian Basek could never say his three-plus years as fire chief in North Riverside were dull. Promoted shortly after the election of Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. in 2013, Basek’s tenure was challenging almost from the start and marked with resentment from firefighters hostile to the village’s attempts to crush their union and privatize the department.

Now, with firefighters and village officials back at the negotiating table and the relationship between firefighters and the village administration slowly repairing itself, Basek is retiring. The 55-year-old Basek, downplayed the role of more than two years of labor strife in his decision to retire now.

After nearly 32 years as a full-time firefighter and three more as a paid-on-call firefighter in the early 1980s, his last day on the job will be Nov. 30. Basek was hired as a paid-on-call firefighter in 1981 and became a full-time firefighter in 1985. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1997 and served in that capacity until he was named chief on May 13, 2013. He succeeded Ken Rouleau, who is also Basek’s brother-in-law.

His father Charles, a longtime machinist for Commonwealth Edison, was a paid-on-call firefighter in the village before the department went full time and stayed on as a paid-on-call firefighter until his death in 2006.

Charles Basek’s commitment to the department served as an example for both of his sons, Brian and David, who is retired from his position as battalion chief for the Tri-State Fire Protection District. 

Hermanek said finding a replacement for Basek will be a bit of a challenge, because he can only ensure the job through April 4, 2017, which is Election Day. Hermanek is running for a second term as mayor. He’s unsure whether he’ll face a challenge; so far, no one has stepped forward.

“It’s going to have to be a six-month solution,” Hermanek said. “I’m keeping all of my options open, but the best solution is probably to get someone from the outside.”

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North Riverside Fire Department news

Excerpts from the RBLandmark.com:

On Sept. 14, the village charged North Riverside Firefighters Local 2714 with surface bargaining and improperly bargaining, saying the union has forced an impasse in negotiations by insisting on the elimination of the village’s private paramedic service provider, Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI).

“The union has demanded the village terminate its contract with PSI as condition of any agreement,” the village’s complaint states.

The village filed the complaint with the state labor board after the two sides met on Aug. 31 and Sept. 8.

But the union’s attorney waved off the complaint, saying those two meetings weren’t bargaining sessions at all and that the village has not complied with last month’s state labor board’s ruling … that required the village to post notice of the violations, rescind the termination notices, and bargain in good faith. But the village has not posted the notice or rescinded the termination notices, according to the union’s attorney.

Instead, the village has appealed the labor board’s ruling to the Illinois Appellate Court.

There are now two matters involving the two-year old contract dispute between North Riverside and its firefighters before the appellate court. The first is the village’s appeal of a Cook County Circuit Court judge’s ruling that she did not have jurisdiction over the village’s call for unilateral termination of the firefighters’ union contract.

That matter has been in the appellate court’s hands for 11 months. Now the village has appealed the state labor board’s unfair labor practice ruling.

Meanwhile, the North Riverside mayor said that despite the pending court matters, he wants to come to an agreement with firefighters and that the meetings on Aug. 31 and Sept. 8 were part of that effort.

“[The fire union] knew those were serious sessions,” said Hermanek. “We went there fully ready to bargain and get an agreement.”

Yet, correspondence between the two sides in the run up to those negotiating sessions indicate that they were approaching those meetings carefully.

In an Aug. 19 letter to village officials, union President Rick Urbinati requested a meeting with the village’s bargaining team, but made it clear discussions would include implementation of the labor board’s order.

When the two sides met, the village handed the union discussion items related to a new contract, but the village’s attorney made clear that it was not considered a contract offer or proposal.

The mayor called that language a legal formality because of the pending litigation. He also complained that the union wouldn’t budge from its insistence on replacing PSI paramedics with low-cost part-time employees for a time while firefighters are trained to be paramedics.

The union contract and PSI’s contract with the village are separate deals, the mayor said. He pointed to a new, unprecedented five-year contract with police officers and a new deal with police dispatchers as examples of the village’s interest in negotiating union contracts.

Berry acknowledged that the firefighters’ union was seeking termination of the PSI contract, “but as a part of a negotiated settlement.”

The union wasn’t about to let go of its wish to terminate PSI’s contract, Berry said, when the village still won’t rescind termination notices it has issued to union firefighters.

“They are still proposing to replace us.”

thanks Dan

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New tower ladder for North Riverside

This from Josh Boyajian:

North Riverside’s new Tower Ladder 806

North Riverside Fire Department

Josh Boyajian photo

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