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  1. #1
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Default "Chicago BC sleeps through fire."

    A $119,064-a-year Chicago Fire Department battalion chief has been slapped with a 15-day suspension for sleeping through a South Side fire in June.

    The embarrassing incident happened after a fire bomb was apparently thrown into a home in the 8900 block of South University.

    Fire alarms sounded at Engine Company No. 72, 7982 S. South Chicago Ave. The 23rd battalion responded to the 4 a.m. call. When they got to the fire, they noticed that Chief DeKalb Walcott was not there to call the shots.

    He was back at the firehouse, sound asleep.

    Following strict guidelines in the union contract, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford refused to identify Walcott, nor would he reveal what other sources confirmed -- that the suspension duration was 15 days.

    Langford would only say, "The discipline process was followed and the member was suspended for an appropriate period. . . . The process involves a look at the charges, any mitigating circumstances, overall record and impact of the alleged offense. Also, the process is cumulative."

    No one was injured and it was not an extra-alarm fire. Since there are "always at least two chiefs at a working fire," Langford has insisted that Walcott's absence had no impact on how the incident was handled.

    "The guy could get into a traffic accident on the way, so the second chief takes over. The second chief handled the fire," he said in June.

    Another source described a more chaotic scene. When firefighters arrived and realized their battalion chief was not there, the house was engulfed in flames and victims needed to be rescued, the source said. Radio calls went out to locate Walcott and a replacement battalion chief.

    Walcott could not be reached for comment.

    ______________________________ _____________________

    First of all, the guy didn't sleep through a fire. He slept through a station alarm.

    Second of all, am I the only one that thinks a 15 day suspension is excessive? Like it or not, sleeping is allowed in the fire station and you can't really help what you don't hear in your sleep.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.


  2. #2
    Forum Member CrnkB8's Avatar
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    I'm sure there is more to the story. I agree, he slept through a station alarm and not a fire. He isn't the first and won't be the last. I wonder why didn't someone from the crew wake him before they left? Were they already out of the station when the alarm sounded? Maybe they didn't like the BC?

    Here's the key:

    Langford would only say, "The discipline process was followed and the member was suspended for an appropriate period. . . . The process involves a look at the charges, any mitigating circumstances, overall record and impact of the alleged offense. Also, the process is cumulative."
    He may have had active offenses in the file already and this incident escalated it to the next level on the progressive discipline scale.

  3. #3
    Forum Member confire's Avatar
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    $119,064 K Nice

  4. #4
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by confire View Post
    $119,064 K Nice
    yeah, which means his suspension for sleeping through a station alert was $14,883. Like I said, EXCESSIVE under any circumstances.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  5. #5
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    Whatever happened to keeping s@#t "in-house"? Guy makes a mistake and the whole world has to know it. Is suspension warranted? I don't have all the facts to make that decision and while he is losing a whole lot of money the embarrassment world wide he faces and the label that will follow him for ever is probably worse for him. He's not the first or last. Hope it works out for the Chief

  6. #6
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    I only got a penalty of $4,893.


    Could be that the chief was going to an alarm in a part of his district the companies at his house weren't on? Maybe the firehouse is segregated in a way that the BC isn't directly visible to the other companies turning out.

  7. #7
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    From what the word is out in the burbs, he wasn't fired, that's good, time to leave it alone.

  8. #8
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefuss View Post
    And a question, how do you figure he lost 15 grand? My maths not perfect but he's looking at about 10K a month gross with a 120k yearly salary. so unless the chiefs schedule only works him 15 days in a month and a half, hes only losing about 5K, 10K if it is working day suspension. Or am I wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by nameless
    I only got a penalty of $4,893.
    Well I guess that could be. I didn't take other schedules into account and I figured it was 15 work days. For me, 15 work days is a month and a half.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 09-03-2009 at 10:53 PM.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  9. #9
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    oh I just did 15 calender days and assumed he was salaried. That would suck if it was 15 work days. Definitely overboard.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    I'm sure the BC doesn't have the same sleeping quarters as the rest of the crew so it is totally possible that he could have been missed. Most are set up that way.

    I am guessing he was being made an example of due to the harsh punishment but at least he still has a job. Who knows, maybe the station bells malfunctioned too? No mention of it but still, we can't pass judgment. At least the good chief is still around. Everyone makes mistakes.

    It's hard to keep that stuff in house when someone doesn't show up on a scene, especially a chief that way. Yes, some sort of punishment is needed but that is kinda hard.

    Like my brother from the burbs said, time to leave it alone now.
    Jason Knecht
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  11. #11
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    I believe this was discussed in another post some time back. I also think there was mention of a medical condition which can cause extremely deep sleep, almost catatonia, usually brought on by stress conditions. Can't comment on thisparticular case but seems CFD handled it. with all the cutbacks, more hours, smaller crews, this could be another potential hazard for some depts.

  12. #12
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    I'm not sure how the CFD union contract is worded in regards to disciplinary actions, but there's a possibility that his suspension period is defined as 15 standard eight-hour days, as opposed to fifteen shifts. I know that many city governments (mine included) do not necessarily tailor things to their fire departments.

    So, 15x8=120 hours, or 5 shifts.

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    Understanding that all we have to go on is one poorly written news article, but there is one thing that really disturbs me here.

    If the BC was unaccounted for at the scene, a RIT would have been activated to search for him.

    The BC is unaccounted for BEFORE he gets to the scene. Was anyone assigned to go look for him? To make sure he didn't get into a crash? To make sure he didn't get into a situation coming out of quarters? To make sure he wasn't lying dead in his bed?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post

    Another source described a more chaotic scene. When firefighters arrived and realized their battalion chief was not there, the house was engulfed in flames and victims needed to be rescued, the source said. Radio calls went out to locate Walcott and a replacement battalion chief.
    First, it sounds like they did go find him.
    Second, this part of the article (or maybe the whole thing) is horribly worded. Makes it seem like it was a rumpus room without the BC. "AHH, No BC! What's that red stuff?! Holy S, this is intense! We should call somebody."
    I'm pretty sure CFD, like most good department's have enough tasks pre planned such that the officer's can step up and get things done.
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  15. #15
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    Seems fair to me. You are allowed to sleep when there is nothing to do. When the alarm goes off you need to participate or it is a dereliction of duty. In most occupations if you get caught sleeping on the job you have no job. While it doesn't mention it in the article we also do not know if there was a history of this.

  16. #16
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    There seems to be a lot missing in this story. I think the punishment is way overboard.
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  17. #17
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    In most occupations if you get caught sleeping on the job you have no job.
    Yeah, but this isn't one of them.....retard.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  18. #18
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    Their is a lot missing from the report. Based on what I heard from credible sources he is lucky to be working, nothing more needs to be said, speculated, etc.

    Let it die and leave him alone.

  19. #19
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Some one in that house wasn't looking out for the BC! I too have missed tones and either my crew or some one in the house came and checked on me and got me up. Some one must had in for him or didn't care.


    Did anyone check to see if he had made the scene? He could have had a accident enroute and no one would have known.


    What would have happen if the BC had suffer a life threathing emergency??


    My question is what did the companies do on that job, sit on the apparatus and do nothing because the BC wasn't there???? When I rode the car very seldom I ever ran hot. I let the companies get on the scene and get into action as I had good officers and knew what they could or couldn't do.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member TNFF319's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Understanding that all we have to go on is one poorly written news article, but there is one thing that really disturbs me here.

    If the BC was unaccounted for at the scene, a RIT would have been activated to search for him.

    The BC is unaccounted for BEFORE he gets to the scene. Was anyone assigned to go look for him? To make sure he didn't get into a crash? To make sure he didn't get into a situation coming out of quarters? To make sure he wasn't lying dead in his bed?
    I was wondering the same thing. Even if the knew he never responded, they still should have gone back to check out why.
    FF/Paramedic

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