WBEZ | firefighters http://www.wbez.org/tags/firefighters Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Black firefighter follows in the footsteps of his father http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/black-firefighter-follows-footsteps-his-father-110019 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/140411 StoryCorps DeKalb Wolcotts (1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Dekalb Walcott III and Dekalb Walcott Jr. (Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)</em></p><p>For more than three decades Dekalb Walcott Jr was one of the few African Americans in the Chicago Fire Department.</p><p>His son, Dekalb Walcott III, always dreamed of following in his footsteps.</p><p>&quot;A lot of young black people didn&rsquo;t really get the pleasure of growing up with a father,&quot; Dekalb Walcott III said. &quot;You know, I&rsquo;m from Chicago where we had the Bulls back in the &rsquo;90s and Michael Jordan was famous.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Everybody wanted to be like Mike, but for me, myself, I wanted Dekalb Walcott Jr. &mdash; that was my Michael Jordan.&rdquo;</p><p>To hear more about their family history and the importance of father figures in the black community, click on the audio above.</p><p><em>Meredith Zielke is a WBEZ producer.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/black-firefighter-follows-footsteps-his-father-110019 Watching NBC's new 'Chicago Fire' with real firefighters http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/watching-nbcs-new-chicago-fire-real-firefighters-103008 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3491_firehouse-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F62917036&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Tim O&rsquo;Brien is a third generation firefighter.</p><p>He offered to gather some coworkers to watch the pilot episode of &ldquo;<a href="http://www.nbc.com/chicago-fire/" target="_blank">Chicago Fire</a>&rdquo; and give an insider perspective on how closely the show resembles the real thing.</p><p>The new NBC drama centers around the Chicago Fire Department. It premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m., but the first episode was available On Demand and online ahead of the air date.</p><p>So earlier this week O&rsquo;Brien served up some homemade beef vegetable soup. He relegated his two dogs - Shadow and Irish - into the backyard. He threw a log into the fireplace and everyone settled into his living room for the show.</p><p>Pat Duddleston, a 22-year Fire Department veteran, lives just down the street from O&rsquo;Brien. He&rsquo;s with Truck 17 on the South Side.</p><p>Rebecca Bolluyt is a paramedic from Uptown.</p><p>The real firefighters watched their fictional counterparts respond to car crashes, house fires and gunshot wounds.</p><p>O&#39;Brien said the biggest difference between real fires and the fires on television is the amount of smoke on a scene.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;A lot more smoke (in real fires),&quot; he said. &quot;But...you can&rsquo;t watch the show if all you can see is smoke.&rdquo;</p><p>No matter how intense the action got on the screen, they always seemed to be able to top the scripted stories with real life experiences.</p><p>&quot;You ever have one who was shot in the head talking to you?&quot; O&#39;Brien asked the others. &quot;I had one once. Real small caliber bullet from far away. It broke the skin but didn&rsquo;t penetrate his skull. It was the weirdest thing in the world.&quot;</p><p>Some moments got big laughs - like when when the wide-eyed rookie character gets stuck with some grunt work.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s true,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Brien said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s exactly how it goes. That would happen.&rdquo;</p><p>Duddleston said the show does a good job of showing how the fire department is like a family.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of people don&rsquo;t understand it cause everybody goes to a nine to five job and they&rsquo;re done,&quot; he said. &quot;Here we spend one third of our lives with these guys and girls. It&rsquo;s brothers and sisters.&rdquo;</p><p>Bolluyt said she likes that the show focuses on how the job bleeds into firefighters&rsquo; personal lives too.</p><p>&ldquo;I know other people have stressful jobs,&quot; she said &quot;But we&rsquo;re with each other in some of the most extreme, most stressful situations that you could ever be with someone in and it makes you become closer to other people.&rdquo;</p><p>The very unscientific focus group gave the show passing marks for its portrayal of life in the firehouse.</p><p>The NBC show, from creator Dick Wolf, has used real Chicago locations for much of its filming. Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes a cameo in the pilot too.</p><p>O&#39;Brien said even the set decorations were authentic - real calendars, posters and old photos hang on walls in the background.</p><p>But the real firefighters couldn&rsquo;t help laughing at some of the Hollywood touches - like when the first chiseled actor sauntered on screen without a shirt.</p><p>&quot;That&rsquo;s the way I looked when I came on the job,&quot; O&#39;Brien said. &quot;And I used to walk around with my shirt off. But now that I look like this, I leave it on.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 10 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/watching-nbcs-new-chicago-fire-real-firefighters-103008 Emanuel unsure whether he will fire firefighters accused of misusing taxpayer money http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-unsure-whether-he-will-fire-firefighters-accused-misusing-taxpayer-money-90083 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/firehouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday that he hadn't decided yet whether to fire 54 firefighters accused in a published report of misusing taxpayer money.</p><p>The firefighters allegedly received reimbursements for miles they didn't drive in personal cars to inspections. The <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> reports that Inspector General Joe Ferguson is asking Emanuel to terminate the firefighters.</p><p>But the Mayor said the problem is too systematic to solve by laying off the workers.&nbsp;</p><p>"There's actually a grievance process in the contract, and if I fire all of them, it's all going to end up in a grievance process that drags on, and it may end up costing the taxpayers more than the $100,000 in violation," said Emanuel.</p><p>Stating that he had "zero tolerance...for any abuse of taxpayer money," Emanuel explained that he had directed Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Robert Hoff "to deal with it, roots and all."</p><p>Citing unnamed sources, the <em>Sun-Times</em> reported this morning that members of the Fire Prevention Board fraudulently spent over $100,000 of taxpayer money in just 2009.&nbsp;</p><p>The Fire Department is keeping quiet over the issue; it's conducting an investigation into the allegations but is refusing to release details at this time.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 20:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-unsure-whether-he-will-fire-firefighters-accused-misusing-taxpayer-money-90083 Potential payday for firefighters highlights city's long-term pension problem http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-09/potential-payday-firefighters-highlights-citys-long-term-pension-problem <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Chicago fire Getty Scott Olson.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It looks like today might be a big payday for Chicago firefighters. Earlier this week the Finance Committee recommended ponying up nearly four years of back pay&mdash;some $94 million in total. Meanwhile as the city scrambles to find money for that bill, it faces an even greater financial IOU &mdash; municipal employee pension obligations.<br /><br />And the city is operating under a tight deadline. If funding of pension obligations doesn&rsquo;t increase by 2015, the city will have to raise property taxes, according to a new law signed by Governor Quinn.<br /><br />DePaul University Economics professor <a target="_blank" href="http://samson.comtech.depaul.edu/faculty/member/Thomas/Mondschean/S/">Thomas Mondschean</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to break down the math.</p><p><em>Music Button: Capsula, &quot;Mindfulness Intention&quot;, from the CD Sense of a Drop, (Waveform) </em></p></p> Wed, 09 Feb 2011 15:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-09/potential-payday-firefighters-highlights-citys-long-term-pension-problem Daley calls on General Assembly to change police, firefighter pension plans http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-calls-general-assembly-change-police-firefighter-pension-plans <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/daleypresser_19.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Richard Daley called on the Illinois General Assembly to change the pension system for new police and firefighters. He said he wants them to take action during the present fall veto session.<br /><br />The mayor said he wants legislation similar to the bill that changed the pension system for other new municipal employees.<br /><br />&quot;A lot of people don't want to talk about it. They want to avoid it,&quot; Daley said. &quot;In some way they think someone's going to fly along with all this money and save all these pension plans, and that's what I'm concerned about. I can say this is not my concern; we try to educate people about this. This is a very serious crisis for them, and it's not going to go away.&quot;<br /><br />Daley said he wants to see a bill that reduces the level of pension benefits for new hires as of the first of next year, while raising the minimum age at which an employee can retire with a full pension. And he said changes should lessen the effect of end-of-career salary increases on pension amounts by measuring the final average salary over a longer period of time.<br /><br />Daley said changes to under-funded pensions can't be achieved through negotiations and instead must come from state statute.</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-calls-general-assembly-change-police-firefighter-pension-plans