Posts Tagged Daily Herald

Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District update

Dennis McGuire, Jr. sent a link to an article in yesterday’s Daily Herald about the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District hiring personnel.  Some excerpts:

Though the final staffing contract has yet to receive a vote, Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue trustees now have an employee roster they believe rivals or surpasses any other local fire department.

American Emergency Services completed the hiring of the district’s fire and ambulance personnel. Of the 21 full-time employees, 18 are certified to work as both firefighters and paramedics. The remaining three will have the same credentials upon completion of paramedic school. The department will employ 10 paid-on-call firefighters with lesser training as basic EMTs and two firefighters with paramedic certification. Including additional part-time staff, the district will have nearly 40 employees in the fire department.

Trustees announced Monday night the department is now a member of MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) Division II, which includes communities such as South Elgin, Elgin and East and West Dundee among others.

Trustees also said discussions are under way for auto aid agreements with South Elgin and Pingree Grove.

(Fire district President Jim) Gaffney also said he plans on having further discussions with St. Charles to see what assistance the two fire departments may be able to provide each other in the future.

Gaffney refused to answer any questions about the district’s impasses with Campton Hills and South Elgin on the progression of construction on the district’s new fire houses in those communities. Both communities have issued stop work orders to the fire district in recent weeks. Gaffney said those notices won’t slow down the fire district.

“We’ll be ready to go at midnight on May 1,” Gaffney said.

The entire article can be found HERE.

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Schaumburg Box Alarm 3-27-11

Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11

Firefighters apply foam to the garage area to contend with fuel leaking from the car. Larry Shapiro photo

The Schaumburg Fire Department received calls of a car on fire in an attached garage around 4PM this afternoon. First arriving companies found heavy fire venting from the garage and the second floor above. The volume of fire was reminiscent of another house fire for the same shift in Schaumburg two weeks ago. The alarm was immediately upgraded from a Code 3 to a Code 4 and the first two engines were instructed to lay dual lines to the front of the house. A Box Alarm was transmitted for change of quarters companies only as Battalion 5 requested the remaining Schaumburg suppression units to the scene. The threat of extension to the exposure on the west side of the house at 233 Kingsport Drive was severe though companies were able to keep the fire from impinging on the neighbor’s house.

Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11

Schaumburg Truck 53 is deployed to give firefighters access to the burned out second floor and roof area. Larry Shapiro photo

Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11

Schaumburg Engine 1 was in front of the house with several hand lines off including a foam line. Larry Shapiro photo

Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11

Schaumburg Squad 55's rig was down today so the squad company ran with the spare tower ladder. Quite an unusual scene is pictured here with three Schaumburg trucks at the fire. Larry Shapiro photo

The Daily Herald has an article HERE. According to the article, the homeowner was of aware of the fire.

Annarella, who had lived in that Schaumburg house since Dec. 14, 1978, was in her kitchen when she heard someone pounding on the front door alerting her to a roaring fire inside the attached garage.

“It was Ruth and Skip Barchfeld,” she said. “They saved my life. They are the heroes.”

Annarella safely bolted from the house, but could do little to stop the flames.

Companies applied foam to the garage and car within as leaking fuel was prevalent.


Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11 Pierce Velocity

Engine 51 runs with a 2008 Pierce Impel shown here on a hydrant in front of the house. Larry Shapiro photo

Larry Shapiro went to the scene and arrived after the fire was knocked down. He submitted several images and has a gallery HERE.

Schaumburg Fire Department house fire on Kingsport Drive 3-27-11

Damage to the house was extensive as can be seen here during the overhaul phase. Larry Shapiro photo

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District hires fire chief

The Daily Herald has a series of recent articles which reference the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District.

The new Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District has a new chief to guide its evolution. It’s a task he’s already familiar with.

District officials Tuesday announced Greg Benson as the first fire chief of the district. Benson is already associated with the district as trustees hired him last month to be the technical adviser for the selection of fire equipment and seeking bids for manpower and emergency services with private companies. That process eventually led to the selection of Wheaton-based American Emergency Services as the new fire and ambulance provider. Under the deal, Benson will be an employee of AES, not the district.

The complete article can be found HERE.

The Daily Herald has an editorial about the emergence of the new fire department HERE entitled

Fire district heads down risky path

Leaders of the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District didn’t feel they could afford to pay the rate the City of St. Charles charges to provide the district with fire service, so they decided to go it alone. They treated this too much like a simple business decision, and the result could be disastrous.

Until now, the rural district — which serves Campton and Wayne townships and portions of Wayne and Campton Hills — has existed only on paper. It has had no equipment or personnel. Merely a board and a tax levy, with which it paid the City of St. Charles for fire service and Tri-City Ambulance for rescue.

… the district fire board wants to control its own destiny by building two stations, hiring a chief, buying trucks and ambulances and contracting with a company to provide both fire and ambulance service. At the outset, at least, the deal would cost the fire district slightly less than what St. Charles wanted.

Another recent article quotes Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay as saying that the fire district board members should be elected instead of appointed.

McConnaughay says fire board should be elected, not appointed

Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay suggested Wednesday that St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte should look in the mirror when trying to figure out how the city lost the fire and ambulance service contract for the Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District.

In the aftermath of fire district trustees voting to create a new fire department and drop the city, DeWitte said McConnaughay is responsible for the department’s success or failure. McConnaughay appoints four of the five trustees.

But on Wednesday McConnaughay said DeWitte is the guy responsible for district President Jim Gaffney’s appointment.

The Kane County Chronicle has an article HERE about the new chief.

Fox River and Countryside district names Wayne resident as chief

Benson has served as the district’s technical adviser since January. Previously, he worked for fire departments in St. Charles, Aurora, Batavia and Elgin, where he served as battalion chief, according to a news release.

Benson will be employed by the district’s service provider, American Emergency Services.

AES, along with input from district trustees and the Citizen Advisory Committee, selected Benson from more than 50 applicants and five finalists, AES President Gary Jensen said.

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District update

The Daily Herald ran an article last week about the new Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District. Some excerpts from the article which was an interview with fire district president Jim Gaffney.

The creation of a new fire department by the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District will create a ripple of consequences that could impact infrastructure and property taxes. But district President Jim Gaffney believes vindication will come when he said 911 services improve.

The district voted last month to end its long-term relationship with the city of St. Charles. That blew a $2.2 million hole in the city’s budget, though city officials already announced a plan to cut costs. Those cuts include eliminating one fire company and participation in the tactical emergency medical services unit that supports the Kane County Sheriff’s SWAT team.

MGaffney’s vision for creating an “economical” solution to improve fire and ambulance service in the district’s coverage area speeds forward. He said adding two more ambulances and water tanker trucks as well as a total staff of about 57 firefighters and paramedics to the area can only improve service. Gaffney said private company manpower, including paid-on-call employees, may even be an upgrade to what citizens have experienced in the past.

“Paid-on-call and volunteer firefighters are much more dedicated than full-time firefighters,” Gaffney said. “It’s not a job to them; it’s a commitment.”

…the district will keep its eyes on the new plan Campton Hills is considering to start its own fire department. In theory, that would undercut much of the service area Fox River and Countryside relies on for tax dollars. Gaffney said he isn’t worried.

“They can’t afford to set up a fire department,” Gaffney said. “It’s a pipe dream as far as we’re concerned.”

The district’s trustees expect to name the department’s first chief within the next 10 days.

The complete article can be found HERE.

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St. Charles mayor predicts failure for new fire district

The following is from an article in the Daily Herald earlier this week.

St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte on Monday predicted failure for the new Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District because neither the finances nor the promises for better response times make sense to him.

“We think these are some drastic, definitive decisions the fire protection district is making,” DeWitte said. “We believe them to be ill-conceived. The ultimate result will be a reduction in service to the people we have served in the outlying areas for going on four or five decades.

“We just don’t believe much forethought has been put into this process. This is going to be a bad situation, and we’re going to have to watch it slowly implode.”

DeWitte and St. Charles Fire Chief Pat Mullen believe the district’s main problem is a tax rate that is simply too low to provide the level of fire service everyone wants in the district. At 19 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, the rate is about one-third as much as any other nearby fire district.

“They have a revenue problem,” DeWitte said. “They don’t have an expense problem.”

Fire district officials are expected to soon finalize a contract with Wheaton-based American Emergency Services to provide both firefighters and paramedics at about $1.7 million a year. But the additional infrastructure cost to establish two firehouses in the district and an uncertain cost for personnel in the second year of the contract is what makes DeWitte and Mullen skeptical of the finances.

DeWitte and Mullen also demonstrated on a map of the service area how they believe the new firehouses in the district represent a false promise of better response times. Mullen said the location of the new houses, at the far southwest and northeast portions of the district, mean homeowners with the best response times under St. Charles will now wait longer when they experience fires and medical emergencies.

Mullen said the district, having only two firehouses and a large geographical coverage area, will be spread thin whenever more than one emergency call occurs. A chart the city created using GIS maps predicts a response time of up to 16 minutes for the district’s station near South Elgin to arrive at the Kane County Judicial Center if needed.

Aside from those predictions, DeWitte said the new fire district creates a financial problem for each of the Tri-Cities. The district’s separation from St. Charles and the Tri-City Ambulance Service means each community must now pay a larger share for the cost of having paramedics show up when residents need them. St. Charles, for instance, will shoulder an additional $200,000 of that price tag.

The complete article can be found HERE.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District – update

The Kane County Chronicle has an article which outlines a new deadline for the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board to choose a service provider for the new fire department.

Some excerpts from the article:

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board did not choose an emergency service provider as expected on Thursday but said they would negotiate a contract with two potential providers and choose one by Feb. 1.

The two are the City of St. Charles Fire Department and AES, American Emergency Services. The board met at a special meeting in a basement training room at St. Charles Fire Station 1.

“We brought them in, gave each one three minutes to answer questions and the citizens advisory wrote down their comments,” Baldwin said of the potential service providers. “AES met pretty much down the line in regards to the [request for proposal] we had and St. Charles suggested pretty much staying status quo.”

A third potential service provider, Metro Paramedic Services, was dropped from consideration because its proposal response was not complete.

The entire article can be found HERE.

The Daily Herald had an article last week (January 10) which stated that American Emergency Services (AES) will almost certainly get the contract. That article can be found HERE.

American Emergency Services will almost certainly be the new 911 service provider for the former St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District.

On January 14th, The Daily Herald had a followup article.

Residents grill Fox River Countryside fire district over dumping St. Charles firefighters

Feedback during Thursday’s meeting at the St. Charles downtown fire station made it clear that some residents remain wary of what it will all mean to the emergency services in the St. Charles, Campton and Wayne township areas served by the district.

“Perhaps some of us missed some of the details in the past as to what was going on, but we are confident in the St. Charles Fire Department, and your plan slipped by us,” (resident Dennis) Marquis told fire district trustees. “There is no excuse for not watching more closely in the past, but we will be watching more closely now. We wish you success with your plan and hope you come through on your goals of better response time and cost controls.”

“We have a centrally located fire station in St. Charles, so why would we build and staff two separate offices, supposedly for better protection? It seems very unusual to me,” (resident Becky) Lenard said.

The complete article can be found HERE.

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Carpentersville to build memorial with 9/11 steel

The Daily Herald has an article with a story about the Carpentersville Fire Department‘s request for an artifact from 9/11.

Fire Chief John Schuldt wrote a letter in 2009 on behalf of the Carpentersville Fire Department requesting an artifact from the World Trade Center.

… out of more than 900,000 … applicants … The village will receive a piece of steel, which the fire department plans to incorporate into a memorial outside of Fire Station 1 at 213 Spring St.

No village funds will be used for the monument so Schuldt and the fire department will be accepting donations. Money can be sent to the fire department care of Village Hall, 1200 L.W. Besinger Drive. Donors should make sure to specify the money is for the memorial.

Read the complete article HERE.

Thanks to Dennis McGuire, Jr. for spotting the article.

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Fatal plane crash in Wheeling – update

The Daily Herald has an article updating information about the injured pilot from the crash on December 22 as well as statements from witnesses. Previous posts about the crash are HERE and HERE.

Below are excerpts from the Daily Herald article. The complete article can be read HERE.

Pilot in Wheeling plane crash remains critical after surgery

Todd Cole, 36, of Jacksonville, Ill., underwent surgery Monday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to repair broken ankles and transplant skin grafts to his face and hands after suffering burns to 30 percent of his body …

“Apparently he was on fire in the cockpit, but was able to get out,” …

Instantly killed in the crash was Cole’s passenger, 18-year-old Benjamin VanHyning of Jacksonville. VanHyning, an employee at Jacksonville Municipal Airport, had volunteered to keep Cole company on the flight …

Though the investigation continues, the NTSB this week released a preliminary report on the crash.

The report states Cole contacted air traffic control shortly after his 2:45 p.m. takeoff saying he needed to return to Chicago Executive Airport because the single-engine Beechcraft Sierra was vibrating and losing power.

“Witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be having difficulty gaining altitude after takeoff,” the report reads. “They stated that the airplane leveled off at an altitude of 50 to 100 feet above the runway. The airplane remained at that altitude until it entered a left descending turn prior to impact. The witnesses reported they heard the engine running and that it was normal.”

(the plane’s owner) … said he’d learned from the plane’s previous owner that its engine was defective and in need of a major overhaul. This overhaul took place at a repair shop in Michigan before being returned to Wheeling and reinstalled, according to the statement.

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Interoperability coming to DuPage County

The Daily Herald has an article today about a $28 million contract with Motorola to provide an interoperable emergency radio network.

County board member Pat O’Shea, chairman of the emergency telephone system board, said in a statement that establishing an interoperable communications system “is perhaps the most important project that has ever been undertaken in the history of DuPage County public safety.”

“This system will undoubtedly save lives,” …

… the interoperable system will allow “seamless communication” among police and fire departments that doesn’t exist now.

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Palatine Fire Department honors civilian lifesavers

The Daily Herald has an article today about three individuals at a health club that are credited with saving the life of another.

“We fully understand the great personal pride and satisfaction that comes from saving a life, usually that of a stranger,” Fire Chief Bob Falardeau said. “So whenever we come across an incident where members of the general public selflessly and courageously step up and act to save a life, we certainly want to recognize it and celebrate it.”

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