Posts Tagged Peoria Fire Chief Jim Bachman

Peoria Fire Department news

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After nearly three decades with the Peoria Fire Department, Chief Jim Bachman will be retiring on March 18. He began his career with the Peoria Fire Department in May 1994, and was named chief in May 2021 after previous Chief Tony Ardis retired after 27 years with the department.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

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Peoria firefighters are calling for the resources cut to the department to be restored.

On Oct. 1, 2020, Peoria Fire Station 4 on SW Jefferson Street was closed due to COVID-19 budget projections, but that decision was reversed about six weeks later.

“So many calls come from that area of town and that’s when we made the decision as an administration that we probably need to reopen station 4,” said Chief Jim Bachman of the Peoria Fire Department.

As Station 4 reopened, Station 8 on West Hurlburt street, along with Engine 2, were put on the chopping block.

Due to cuts made dating back about 18 months, Ryan Brady, the president of Peoria Firefighters Local 50, said the city has lost nine firefighters on the streets.

“Trying to respond to multiple emergencies [while] keeping fire to room of origin honestly has become a daunting task,” Brady said.

Brady is calling on city officials to restore Engine 2, which he said was included in a balanced 2019-2020 budget.

One councilwoman said she agrees that the city should go back and review cuts made to public safety.

The city has earmarked COVID-19 relief funds to address job cuts, but the city council has not decided which areas would be impacted.

“If the end result comes at the loss of a civilian, another civilian, because we’ve had four civilians that have died as a result of fires this year, or even a firefighter, we’re going to have some serious problems,” Brady said.

A new Fire Station 4 is being built on Western Avenue and though the new location will be better to serve the community, they still expect response gaps.

The Peoria Fire Department is on pace to answer 22,000 calls this year, which would be the most in the department’s history.


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Peoria Fire Department news

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Peoria fire officials are again, asking for public safety resources to be restored after back-to-back weekend house fires where three firefighters were injured, two of which briefly ended up in the hospital.

“There wasn’t a crew on Saturday night, early Sunday morning that works in the city of Peoria that wasn’t involved in these two fires,” Jim Bachman, Peoria fire chief, said. “We used every resource we had and in fact, we called in five extra people.”

Two of the five extra bodies were to replace captains who were burned while battling the fire and had to be taken to the hospital. All of the injured firefighters are home recovering.

Two homes were deemed a total loss and this brought the number of emergency demolitions due to fires this year to about 14 compared to only 10 from last year. The fires are starting to get ahead of firefighters and the reduced staffing makes it harder to get to them in a timely manner.

He recognizes the city’s financial issues, but said having more manpower would help.

“We understand that that’s really difficult this time the way the city’s finances are, but certainly another fire machine could’ve made a difference in putting a quicker stop on this fire,” Bachman said. “We wouldn’t be saying we’d like to see Engine 2 come back just for the sake of saying we’d like to see engine 2 come back.”

Thirty three fire suppression positions have been lost since 2019.

The firefighter’s union wants city leaders to consider allocating some of its Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, from the American Rescue Plan, to the fire department.

CA councilman is advocating for this but said the decision on how to spend the remaining $36.7 million from the fund comes down to the council as a whole.

Back in June, the city manager said the funds can be used to support public health response, to address negative economic impacts, to replace public sector revenue loss, for premium pay for essential workers, for water and sewer infrastructure, and broadband infrastructure.

However, he mentioned it’s not an ongoing stream of revenue and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Council members discussed taking time to figure out the most efficient ways to use the money.

All the funds have to be obligated by until Dec. 31, 2024 and spent by Dec. 31 2026.

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