Equipment, Fire Department, News

Barrington (IL) Fire Service Split Leads to Gear Dispute

The Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District went their separate ways as scheduled New Year’s Day — but not without some last-minute miscommunication.

Even though the 48-square-mile fire district received 19 firefighters laid off by the village of Barrington at the stroke of midnight, those firefighters weren’t allowed to bring their individually fitted safety gear with them.

This forced the fire district to borrow gear from the Fox River Grove Fire Protection District a few days before the split, and to begin making arrangements to lease gear from elsewhere during the coming months.

Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said the issue arose from the fact that the district didn’t hire the laid-off firefighters directly, but through the private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

“It is taxpayer property and we can’t just give it to someone else without the proper legal mechanism to do so,” Lawler said.

He added that this issue was addressed in a conversation with fire district officials in early December and he didn’t understand how they could have overlooked it.

Barrington Countryside board President Tom Rowan said the conversation Lawler referred to is one only the village of Barrington seems to recall.

Because the fire district and village of Barrington co-owned all the equipment they shared during their decades-long contractual relationship, it was meant to be divided evenly at the end as all the vehicles were, Rowan said.

For more information, view www.dailyherald.com