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Without fire district, SCFD handling fewer calls

Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Fire Department handled 4,217 incidents last year, the first full year it didn’t respond to the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District, according to the department’s 2012 annual report.

When the fire district ended its contract with the city in May 2011, the city expected to lose an average of three calls a day, Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet said.

“That’s consistent with the amount of calls that we are running,” he said.

St. Charles logged more than 5,000 incidents in six of the eight years before the fire district started its own fire stations, according to the report. The calls peaked at 5,215 in 2006.

To adjust for the fewer calls, the city’s fire department shut down a fire company and terminated 18 paid-on-call firefighters, Schelstreet said. He noted the city now operates three companies a day instead of four.

About 60 percent of the calls in 2012 were for rescue and emergency medical services, according to the report. Of the 2,544 rescue incidents, the report showed, 2,247 were EMS calls, excluding vehicle accidents; 195 were for vehicle accidents; 62 were for medic assistance; 26 were for extrication incidents; 13 were for pedestrian versus vehicle accidents; and one was for water rescue.

Nearly 4 percent of the fire department’s calls were for fires. Of the 157 fires, the report showed, 60 were structure or building fires; 33 were grass or brush fires; 29 were appliance, cooking or chimney fires; 18 were dumpster or rubbish fires; 10 were vehicle fires; and seven were fires of other types.

The total fire loss was $602,745 – more than a 40 percent decrease from 2011, according to the report.

“We didn’t have many dramatic incidents,” Schelstreet said. “Our responses were consistent with our expectations and our planning. We’re fortunate to have a very effective fire prevention program here that keeps our fire losses to a minimum.”

Visit www.stcharlesil.gov/departments/fire to download a copy of the full 2012 annual report.

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