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  1. #1
    Forum Member cellblock's Avatar
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    Default Illinois Whackers busted Impersonating FFs

    They had a fire truck, medical gear and dressed the part but they weren't real Firefighters.
    http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/n...17lostcrek.htm

    They called themselves the Lost Creek Fire Company and they hailed from the Wadsworth/Gurnee area.

    As it turns out they were "lost" in more ways than one.

    Legislation proposed by state Rep. Michael Boland, D-East Moline, to make impersonating a firefighter a felony actually has its roots in the Lost Creek Fire Company.

    This group, which called itself a throwback to the old days when anyone could be a volunteer, bought a fire engine and a second vehicle, got uniforms, radios and medical supplies. They had some fliers printed and a Website at one point.

    According to Michael Stried, Winthrop Harbor fire chief and head of the Lake County Fire Chief's Association, they began showing up here and there in county last year saying they wanted to help out.

    "They were totally out in left field," Stried said.


    Their undoing and the reason for the new state law was their decision to self-dispatch themselves more than 100 miles to downstate Utica last spring when a tornado devasted the LaSalle County town and a statewide emergency plan summoned fire departments from across Illinois.

    The Lost Creek Fire Company apparently drove with lights flashing the whole way and just drove up to the scene expecting to get into the disaster zone.

    But the volunteers didn't have a security validation code to give to the incident commander so they were told to park to the side until authorities straightened things out.

    "They said they just came down to help. They had no reason to be there," said Ottawa Fire Department Chief Richard Scott, who was the incident commander of the tornado-ravaged site.

    "They didn't know the code. They couldn't pass the test in any way shape or form," he said. They were sent to a staging area and Illinois State Police questioned them, although state police say they don't have a report.

    Scott said they could have posed a danger to themselves, other firefighters and paramedics, and the tornado victims themselves.

    "We're responsible for everyone on the site," he said. "We just sent them home. They weren't too happy."

    Jay Reardon, the fire chief for Northbrook and head of MABUS (mutual aid box alarm system) couldn't believe it when he heard about the Lost Creek Fire Company. He said the incident commander called him and said, "You aren't going to believe this."

    "I thought I had seen about everything," said Reardon. "Just a bunch of fire buffs on a truck who rode over 100 miles. I told him, 'You got to be kidding me.' It blew me over."

    And that's when the fire chiefs discovered there is no legislation covering the impersonation of a firefighter.

    "We found out the system worked (because they were denied access to the site), but we also found a hole in the system that needs to be plugge," he said.

    Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller said the incident was the catalyst for the new law.

    Authorities also looked into reports of fire company members going to schools, but no charges resulted.

    This would have been a crime for one member of the fire company, Jay Katz, who is a convicted child molester. A registered sex offender, he lists Lindenhurst as his home on the Lake County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender Website.

    He is formally of Green Oaks and had owned a fire extinguisher company in Highland Park when he was charged with fondling two young girls, including a 9-year-old.

    Waller said there are statutes protecting police officers "and certainly there should be a similar provision for people impersonating fire officials. I think this legislation is long overdue."

    Winthrop Harbor's Stried ran into the group at last year's Jubilee Days Parade in Zion over the Labor Day weekdend and took some pictures of their rig.

    "They showed up five minutes before the parade and no one knew where they came from," said Stried. He pulled them out of the parade line when he noticed that both of their vehicles had the same license plate.

    Winthrop Harbor police were notified because they cover the Wadsworth area by contract and they impounded the vehicles for a time because of the license plate registration issue.

    Winthrop Harbor police were not immediately available to discuss the Lost Creek Fire Company as were the Lake County Sheriff's Office. The names of the fire buffs, except for Katz, were unavailable.

    "They said Utica was their first major response. It was their demise," said Stried.

    "We stopped Lost Creek in their tracks. It's nothing personal, but it's the way to do things," he said.

    Waukegan Fire Chief Patrick Gallagher said it was scary that they found some outdated IV equipment inside the Lost Creek Fire Company's second vehicle.

    "That was still on the rig. They could have used it on a human being," he said with disbelief.

    "These guys were bad and they were dangerous," Gallagher said, adding that anyone can buy a fire truck and that's why they had one, It was still operable because it was only about 20 years old.

    "I think we've chased them out of town," he said.




  2. #2
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Default

    Wow, the ultimate whackers.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default

    Did anyone check to see if thier Chief's name was Donna??

    What an interesting new hobby. Have truck, will travel.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    Default

    Here is the Illinois law referenced above:

    Last Action
    Date Chamber Action
    5/27/2005 House Passed Both Houses

    Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
    720 ILCS 5/32-5.4 new
    720 ILCS 5/32-5.5 new


    Synopsis As Introduced
    Amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Provides that a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be fire fighter of any jurisdiction commits a Class 4 felony. Provides that a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be a fire fighter of any jurisdiction in attempting or committing a felony commits a Class 3 felony.

    House Amendment No. 1
    Adds reference to:
    720 ILCS 5/32-5.6 new
    720 ILCS 5/32-5.7 new

    Provides that a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be an emergency management worker of any jurisdiction in this State or of the American Red Cross commits a Class 4 felony. Provides that a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be an emergency management worker of any jurisdiction in this State or of the American Red Cross in attempting or committing a felony commits a Class 3 felony.

    Senate Committee Amendment No. 1
    Provides that a person who knowingly and falsely represents himself to be an emergency management worker of any jurisdiction (instead of any jurisdiction in this State) or of the Red Cross (instead of the American Red Cross) or any other organization that provides emergency or disaster relief services commits a Class 4 felony or a Class 3 felony if the representation was made in attempting or committing a felony.

    Senate Floor Amendment No. 2
    Adds reference to:
    720 ILCS 5/2-6.6 new

    Deletes everything after the enacting clause. Reinserts provisions similar to those of the engrossed bill, except further amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Defines "emergency management worker". Makes reference to the definition of "emergency management worker" in a Section concerning false personation and aggravated false personation of an emergency management worker.

    Just waiting to be sent to the Govenor to be signed!
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  5. #5
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    It just dont pay to be a whacker!
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  6. #6
    dazed and confused Resq14's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    Did anyone check to see if thier Chief's name was Donna??
    You beat me to that punchline!






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    Default

    It is also now Illinois State Law that all firefighters, EMTs, etc., carry identification cards or letters from a bona fide fire department or fire protection district if they display a blue light on their vehicle....
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

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    Default e

    i wonder how they got the money to make such purchases, weather it was state grants, private funded, fund rasiers...etc...

  9. #9
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    The Lost Boys from Lost Creek.

    I wonder if Wendy and Peter know what they have been up to.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
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  10. #10
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    OK; we have taken care of whackers who impersonate firefighters.
    What about firefighters who impersonate whackers?
    I smell a Blago side deal.
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  11. #11
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    Default

    Aren't they just volunteers? Why are they impersonating and other vols aren't?

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by ChicagoFF
    Aren't they just volunteers? Why are they impersonating and other vols aren't?
    I was thinking along similar lines...Isn't that how all fire departments got their start at one time or other? Some citizens saw a need, got together, raised funds, and established a fire department?

    The article seems to imply that they did not start a fire department in an area that needed one, nor under the authorization of a township, county, or other entity....seems like they are a "freelance" fire department (and I use the term loosely) who actually have no district.

    Some of the details such as what area they supposedly cover are sort of sketchy...Is there such a place as Lost Creek or is it something they just made up?
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    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  13. #13
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    What an interesting new hobby. Have truck, will travel.
    ROTFLMFAO!!


    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    Did anyone check to see if thier Chief's name was Donna??

    Thought of that as soon as I saw the title of the thread HAHAHAHA! How many of you actually went hmmmmmmm & then cringed when you thought of her?
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  14. #14
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Well.......................

    Originally posted by ChicagoFF
    Aren't they just volunteers? Why are they impersonating and other vols aren't?
    After reading all the information that has been posted here:
    1. Training? Doesn't seem to be any.
    2. District? They do not seem to be organized to protect a particular area, such as a FPD, Village, etc.
    3. Dispatch? Someone who takes off on their own, a hundred miles, lights and sirens, without being dispatched by any recognized authority?
    4. Vehicles? Splitting a set of licence tags, one on each of two vehicles? and were these vehicles properly insured?
    And those are just a few things that I spotted, There's probably a lot more issues out there as well.

    In Urban and Suburban areas, in this day and age, people still form Fire and Rescue Organizations, but not like that. Maryland has had a couple of new VFDs start up in the past year, BUT by following the rules, not just "Jumping in the pool" like these people (allegedly) did. Here, a VFD, TO START, must be incorporated by the state, have authority from the County to operate, be properly insured, Vehicles inspected and certified, meet minimum requirements for vehicles and equipment, have a minimum number of Volunteers trained as Firefighters, (and EMT-Bs if they respond to medical calls) Officers need additional training. Our newest VFD has 40 members, with a total of 6,200 hours of training over the past three years. It takes anywhere from a year to three years to go from a public meeting to organize a VFD, up to the point where you respond to your first call.
    Here, we meet professional standards, or we don't operate.
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  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Well.......................

    Originally posted by hwoods
    Here, we meet professional standards, or we don't operate.
    I have to agree with my friend here. It is one thing for a group of local farmers or landowners to band together and purchase an old fire truck to protect thier barns and houses. This is still done around here today in areas of British Columbia that do not have any Fire Protection Agreements. The big point is that these folks, and the folks in thier area know who and what they are, and what they can do. No false sense that a professional department or rescue squad is coming.

    When you slap together a band of individuals (no doubt well-intentioned) with an old BRT, haphazard training, and no formal certification or government authority or accreditation, and proceed to roam the plains looking for action, you are freelancing, and the public/emergency response community is not in a satisfactory position to evaluate your abilities.

    If you wish to operate an emergency service in my district, on my residents, I (and the elected officials in my region) want to know you meet certain reasonable standards first.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by ChicagoFF
    Aren't they just volunteers? Why are they impersonating and other vols aren't?
    No, they are simply bystanders who purchased the equipment to run around looking like bonafide volunteers.
    To whom are they accountable?
    The article stated that there were expired IV supplies on one of their trucks, allegedly 'just for show.' Whether they are or they arent that either means its not being done right, or they really are just a bunch of whackers.
    These 'volunteers' were not being held accountable by any sort of government entities. My vollie dept is controlled by an Emergency Service District, which is organized by the county. It is comprised of a board, elected from residents of the ESD, who control the money from the property taxes.
    We aren't just some folks who bought a truck and run around like we know what we are doing.

  17. #17
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Default from todays news

    Updated: 07-01-2005 11:15:28 AM
    E-MAIL THIS STORY PRINT THIS STORY





    Courtesy of the Winthrop Harbor Fire Department
    The Lost Creek Fire Company drove their engine in this 2004 Zion, Ill. parade.



    BEN WEINSTEIN
    Firehouse.Com News


    The Lost Creek Fire Company advertised itself as a throwback fire crew, a band of citizens united to protect its community.

    It ran out of northern Illinois, in rural areas near the Wisconsin border. The company had an engine, firefighting gear, emergency medical supplies and access to emergency radio frequencies.

    But it wasn’t clear if its members had any firefighting or emergency medical training. And for area fire and law enforcement officials, it also wasn’t clear whether or not these firefighter impersonators were breaking any laws.

    As it turned out, they weren’t. And until a bill recently pushed through the state legislature gets the governor’s signature, firefighter impersonators can’t be punished in Illinois.

    “They were trying to do good,” Winthrop Harbor Fire Chief Michael Stried said. Stried, whose department shares Lake County with the village authorities believe Lost Creek was based in, added that Lost Creek members believed they were going “back to the olden days when citizens could jump on a truck and help their neighbors.”

    But while Stried sympathized with Lost Creek’s intentions, he didn’t hesitate to do what he could to shut it down.

    “They weren’t called for, they weren’t wanted,” Stried said.

    Before Lake County authorities confronted Lost Creek last September, word started to spread about a group of fire buffs that was responding to emergencies around the county. People also reported seeing Lost Creek at fairs and other gatherings, raising funds to help run their company.

    Stried said he learned of Lost Creek after someone passed along a brochure he found at a parade.

    “It said something [like] ‘Firefighting the way it used to be,’” Stried said. The brochure also mentioned a response call Lost Creek made in spring 2004 to a tornado-ravaged site downstate in Utica, Ill. That response call triggered Lost Creek's unraveling.

    According to information given by Stried and other Illinois fire officials, Lost Creek dispatched itself to Utica, its members driving with lights flashing more than 100 miles from their base in response to a statewide call for Illinois fire departments. But authorities stopped them at a checkpoint and kept Lost Creek from the disaster scene because they couldn’t provide a security access code.

    “We told them to make sure they stayed isolated [from first responders],” Ottawa Fire Department Chief Richard Scott said. “They were not very happy with us.”

    Scott, who was incident commander at the Utica scene, then told Northbrook Fire Chief Jay Reardon about Lost Creek. That’s when they learned Illinois had no law against impersonating a firefighter. State police questioned and released Lost Creek members.

    Word spread throughout Lake County fire departments about Lost Creek. So when the company showed up with their vehicles last Labor Day weekend at a Zion, Ill. parade, Stried knew something was off. He snapped a picture of their 20-plus year-old Mac and called area law enforcement.

    Police impounded Lost Creek’s two vehicles because both split the same license plates and, according to Stried, weren’t properly insured. (The Winthrop Harbor Police Department did not return calls in time for this article.)

    Officials say Lost Creek’s vehicles contained outdated IV equipment, which Lost Creek members allegedly said was just for show.

    Stried said that one of his main concerns about Lost Creek was that one of its members is a convicted child molester whose name – Jay M. Katz of Lindenhurst, Ill. – appears on the Lake County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender List. There were reports that Lost Creek visited schools, which would have been a violation for Katz. But it’s unclear whether he was present at any such events.

    Lake County-area fire officials say there haven’t been any Lost Creek Fire Company sightings since that parade.

    “I think it’s taken care of,” Stried said, adding that the “rag-tag organization” represented a real danger. “This was just serious, serious business.”

    Reardon said of Lost Creek: “We love fire fans … but these guys have taken it to an unacceptable level.”
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  18. #18
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    i think their heart was in the right place, they just went about the whole thing wrong
    Firefighting is not just a job, its a way of life........
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  19. #19
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MEckert129
    i think their heart was in the right place, they just went about the whole thing wrong
    Except one of their members (named in the article)is a former CFD member who was convicted as a sexual predator.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  20. #20
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    Default Menace to Society...

    Jay Katz has been a menace to society for many years...he was absolutely useless when he was on the Chicago Fire Department, which was where he FIRST got arrested for fondling a patient in the back of the ambulance...the victim was bought off, resulting in no prosecution. He the n went and broke into the home of a second person whom he had transported in the ambulance days before, and attacked her as well. This resulted in his termination from the CFD. His final act, which was mentioned here previously, involved one of his stepchildren. The last time I spotted this whacker deluxe was at the La Salle Bank fire walking around in a CFD paramedic work jacket. After pointing him out to the boys in blue it was nice seeing him back in handcuffs where he belongs for a while. This latest act shouldn't surprise ANYBODY that has seen this guy's act before. Maybe he'll be stupid enough one more time now that this new law is in effect and he can be locked up for a LOONNNNGGGGG time, like he deserves.

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