Seventeen Firefighters Leave Chicago Area Department

Seventeen firefighters have left a Chicago area fire department following a command shake up by a new fire chief.

Firefighters in Merrionette Park are upset with Fire Chief Tom Wendt’s decision to replace three high-ranking officers – a deputy chief, a captain, and a lieutenant. Those officers were appointed by former fire chief Len Edling, who retired at the end of April.

Merrionette Park Mayor Dennis Magee issued a press release stating:

The Village of Merrionette Park is dedicated to serving and protecting every resident with excellent police and fire protection.

The Village Board and I, following the retirement of Chief Edling, appointed Chief Thomas J. Wendt fire chief. Chief Wendt has years of leadership experience and is a dedicated resident of our fine community.

We are thankful to outgoing members of our fire protection community for their service, and are confident that our 21 active firefighters along with the addition of 7 new firefighters, all of whom are also emergency medical technicians, will serve and protect our village without interruption. We also continue to participate in the mutual aid system that ensures we will help our neighboring communities as needed, as they will support us as needed.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer’s Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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