Archive for May 10th, 2016

CFD collecting bunker gear from paramedics

Excerpts from the

Two years ago, self-contained breathing apparatus were removed from all 75 Chicago ambulances. In addition, 70 paramedics graduating from the fire academy were not issued bunker gear. Now, the fire department is collecting bunker gear from all paramedics.

“Local 2 believes the removal of the bunker gear from our paramedics is not in the best interest of our membership,” Tom Ryan, president of the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 wrote in a text message.

The decision to strip paramedics of equipment bought just for them was announced in a May 4 memo signed by Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen, who runs the Bureau of Operations.

The memo outlines a schedule of pick-up locations and dates starting May 15 and ending June 5.

“Items to be returned are: (1) bunker coat, (1) bunker pants, (1) bunker suspenders. In addition, paramedic field chiefs shall return their … face pieces,” Nielsen said.

“Members who are missing equipment shall follow current policies and procedure for lost/stolen equipment and shall submit a Form 2 through the chain of command to District Chief Juan Hernandez. Members shall be held accountable for the replacement cost of missing items per collective bargaining agreement.”

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford acknowledged that the decision to collect bunker gear from veteran paramedics marked the end of an era for the Chicago Fire Department. But, he categorically denied that it was a dangerous decision.

“They have had it for a long time, but it’s clear they did not need it because they are NEVER sent into an area where they need to wear such gear,” Langford wrote in an email to the Chicago Sun-Times.  “If a situation comes up that requires a paramedic in a fire area or dangerous location, they will send in a fire/paramedic not a single-role paramedic. Since ambulance paramedics don’t go into those situations, they do not need that type of gear.”

Langford said there’s a big difference in role and equipment between paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

“EMT’s are firemen and they do have full bunker gear because they work on engines and trucks. Only paramedics now work ambulances. That has been the case for over a year. Paramedics have bunker gear, but do not use it because they do not enter fire areas. So, we opted to replace bunker for paramedics after the current stuff expired,” Langford wrote.

“They will now get clothing that is better suited to what they do. Stuff that is lighter in weight and designed to be protective against fluids and such. Ambulance paramedics never go into fires or nasty areas.. so why put them in full bunker gear?? Same goes for breathing tanks. Ambulance paramedics did not have a need, so that was eliminated as well.”

A veteran paramedic, who asked to remain anonymous, argued that the policy change means that paramedics “can no longer go near a fire building or car extraction. A few years ago, a single-room [occupancy] hotel at Jackson and Kedzie caught fire. People were jumping and paramedics had to go the building to get them. Glass was falling along with other debris.”.

The veteran paramedic called the policy change evidence of the second-class status paramedics have been forced to endure under the four-year regime of Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago. That’s even though two-thirds of the calls are for emergency medical services.

Two years ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel hammered out a new, five-year contract that called for Chicago firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians to get an 11-percent pay raise over five years, but ends free health care for those who retire between the ages of 55 and 65.

The agreement also called for a dramatic upgrade in ambulance care. All 15 of Chicago’s basic-life-support ambulances were converted to advanced-life-support, giving Chicago 75 ambulances capable of administering the most sophisticated level of care.

The contract helped Emanuel win the surprise endorsement of Local 2 four years after the union endorsed mayoral challenger Gery Chico over Emanuel.

But a newly-formed political action committee created by 100 paramedics endorsed Jesus “Chuy” Garcia after the vanquished mayoral challenger promised to bolster Chicago’s fleet of 75 advanced life support ambulances, create an emergency medical services commissioner on par with the fire commissioner, and make the job of paramedic officer a tested position.

thanks Dan

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Chicago firefighter under investigation

Excerpts from

… Rochelle Callaghan’s  home burned after a power line fell on her deck and ignited a propane tank in 2014. She says fire restoration and board up companies lined her street hoping to get her business, but one man stood out.

“He came up to me and said, ‘My name is Tom Brown. I’m a Chicago fireman. I can help you out in this situation,’” said Callaghan.

She hired Brown and says he signed her repair contract claiming to own fire restoration business Pleasant Hill Construction, Inc.  She later figured out Brown does not own Pleasant Hill Construction, Inc. A company lawyer says he does sales for them.

She says Brown and the company collected $63,000 of fire insurance money before she fired them for numerous alleged building code shortcuts and shoddy work.

“He absolutely used his position as a fireman to gain my trust,” said Callaghan.

[Tom Brown] is under investigation by the Chicago Fire Department’s Internal Affairs Division for allegedly soliciting fire victims.

She says she reported to the Chicago Fire Department’s internal affairs that Brown and the crew failed to pull the proper permits for the repairs. Outlets were missing wires and other problems led a different electrician to tell her it was not up to code.

Callaghan says she fired Brown and his company and used her life savings to make repairs.

“My kids’ college money, my 401K, every savings, loans from my mother, from family – everything’s gone,” said Callaghan.

A Pleasant Hill attorney says Callaghan’s shoddy work allegations are untrue. They are suing her for breach of contract, defamation, and filed a lien against her home.

Callaghan says she is countersuing for fraud and all she lost.

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DUI driver strikes CFD apparatus

Excerpts from the

Anthony Ramos, 35, crashed into a (CFD) ambulance and a firetruck that were at 1570 N. Milwaukee Ave. for an unrelated incident about 4:20 a.m. Saturday, said Matt Howroyd, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney. Ramos was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 after a bond hearing Sunday.

The ambulance’s rear driver’s side was damaged and the firetruck’s front bumper was damaged.  Ramos’ Jeep ended up facing north, wedged against the firetruck’s front right bumper.

Ramos claimed that he, “ was trying to go around the ambulance and firetruck,” according to an arrest report.

Ramos was found with bloodshot, glassy eyes and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. He has no valid driver’s license and said he had four beers in the past hour when was asked if he had anything to drink, according to the report. Field sobriety tests indicated he was under the influence of alcohol and he refused the Breathalyzer.

He was charged with failure to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle, failure to reduce speed, driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated DUI with no valid driver’s license.

thanks Dan

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Schaumburg firefighter loses battle with cancer

Excerpts from the

Schaumburg firefighter Mike Solberg died Friday at the age of 34 after a 3½-year battle with brain cancer.

“It is with a heavy heart, we announce the passing of one of our own, Mike Solberg,” the Schaumburg Professional Firefighters Association posted on its Facebook page Friday night. “Mike fought until the end and lived every minute to the fullest. He was not only courageous, but an example of how we should live our life day to day. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this time.”

Schaumburg Fire Chief David Schumann said his department is in mourning and that firefighter honors will be a part of Solberg’s funeral services.

“It’s always difficult when you lose a co-worker and friend,” Schumann said on behalf of the department. “But they’re going to get through it. Firefighters are resilient.”

Solberg, a Park Ridge resident and son of Palatine Councilman Greg Solberg, joined the Schaumburg department on Oct. 12, 2012. Two weeks later, debilitating headaches led him to an emergency room where a CT scan and MRI revealed a brain tumor the size of an orange.

Just days later, he underwent surgery to remove the grade four tumor, an advanced malignancy known as glioblastoma.

The cancer went into remission and Solberg was able to return to the department in full capacity. But the tumors returned last June, moving him to light duty as he went to rehab for occupational and physical therapy.

In December, the colleagues who rallied around him held a benefit for Solberg and his family at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine.

Solberg is survived by his wife Maureen, young daughter Emma, his parents, a brother, two sisters and extended family.

Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at Cumberland Chapels, 8300 W. Lawrence Ave. in Norridge.

Funeral services will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, at the funeral home and then proceed to St. Eugene Church, 7598 W. Foster Ave. in Chicago, for Mass at 10 a.m.

Interment will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1400 S. Wolf Road in Hillside.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity for which Solberg dedicated so much time — the Schaumburg Firefighter’s Fighting Cancer Pink Tie Ball, 950 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg IL 60194 or

thanks Paul

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CFD MVA with extrication, 5/7/16

This from Steve Redick:

I took in a pin in accident Saturday morning (5/7/16)  on the EB JFK@Sayre. Tragically the outcome of this was one fatality. I was able to get some good images of much of the extrication and the overall scene with apparatus placement. I have never really seen the battery operated spreaders and tools in operation before. It seems like they used two sets of the spreaders and a sawzall. Despite this being a tragic incident I feel that the training potential of some of these images is worth sharing.


crash scene on highwa

Steve Redick photo

firefighters extricate driver after crash

Steve Redick photo

firefighters extricate driver after crash

Steve Redick photo

firefighters extricate driver after crash

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Squad 7

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Ambulance 2

Steve Redick photo

firefighters extricate driver after crash

Steve Redick photo

firefighters extricate driver after crash

Steve Redick photo

crash scene on highwa

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Engine 119

Steve Redick photo

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