Silver Lake covered by neighboring fire depts; Pattie staying on as chief for now

silver-lake-fd-doorSilver Lake, still struggling through a manpower problem, is covered for fire protection by neighboring fire departments and interim fire Chief Roger Pattie has agreed to continue in the post for at least a little longer, Trustee Roger Johnson, who heads the Village Board’s Emergency Services Committee, said Thursday evening.

Johnson said he has contacted  the Randall Fire Department and Town of Wheatland Fire Department and Pattie has contacted Town of Salem Fire/Rescue for agreement that those departments will cover fire calls in the village if the depleted Silver Lake Fire Department cannot respond.

“We’re covered all the way around,” Johnson said. “We are totally covered.”

On Tuesday, SLFD Chief Andrew McFarlane retired citing difficulties in working with the village board and some village employees. He was replaced on an interim basis with Roger Pattie.

At a committee of the whole meeting of the Emergency Services Committee Wednesday night, Pattie said the department has just 14 members on the roster, six of which regularly respond to calls. With that staffing, he said the department was not in shape to respond to fire calls.

“This fire department is not ready to fight a fire today,” Pattie said Wednesday.

Pattie recommended the Village Board contract with Salem Fire/Rescue for emergency coverage to at least November. When most board members hesitated to endorse that action, Pattie said he was resigning as chief and from the department. Johnson then asked Pattie to stay on board for 24 hours while the board explored its legal options, and Pattie agreed to do so. The key legal issue is a pending citizen legislation imitative set to be voted on in November that seeks to ban the village from contracting for fire and emergency medical services with Salem.

Johnson said he received an opinion from village attorney Linda Gray on the matter, but he had additional research to do, and he did not disclose what Gray said.

I could not reach Pattie for an update on his status Thursday evening, but Johnson said Pattie has agreed to stay on for the time being and that the two have a meeting set for tomorrow.

35 Comments

  1. Confused says:

    As I am not a village resident, I urge some of you that are to tell me why you avoid Salem as if they are the plague? Not only are you voting in November to “ban contracting with their emergency services”, but even in a time of apparent desperation for help, your trustee contacts Randall and Wheatland, leaving Pattie to contact Salem.

    How does anyone let politics get in the way of their health and protection? Even more, how do you let politics interfere with your family’s health and protection?

  2. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well SLFD…the matter has apparently been resolved. Roger Johnson says we are “totally covered” …all the way around. Not only have all the problems facing SLFD been swept under the rug, the rug has been tossed in the “dumbster” as well. For those folks who think the MABAS system, with surrounding fire departments helping out other communities is the answer, you are forgetting one teenie important item. Neither Randall or Wheatland fire stations are staffed. That means when a call comes in, firefighters have to drive to the fire station, get into their protective gear, and drive to the location of the fire. Just how long to you think that will take from Randall or Wheatland? Or Salem, for that matter. A fire doubles in size roughly every minute. The MABAS plan ALWAYS counted on the local department having a farily quick response, to be supplemented surrounding communities. Let me ask this..if this is a workable solution, WHY do we need SLFD at ALL? Sell all the equipment and the building and let the surrounding communities provide fire protection for us. If this current “solution” is OK with citizens, what do we need a full time police chief and police department for. Let the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department provide protection and coverage for our village. We already pay for that in our taxes…why are we paying twice? Fire…ya got taken for a ride on this one.

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    For those folks satisfied with our village fire protection now coming from considerable distances, and those that think Bernard is a “naysayer”…..think about this. Roger Johnson says “we are totally covered”. OK. Think about when our fire station burned down. We had no immediate in village response(the fire station was on fire). Was ANYTHING saved by the response from the surrounding communities? Now picture your house on fire, family members trapped….where is your fire response coming from? 5 miles away?
    You SLRS folks responding to a PI/people trapped, vehicle on fire…where is your help coming from..how long is THAT going to take? You’ve “been there, done that” ..you know what I’m talking about. This plan is a band-aid approach at best. We deserve better than that. Look at your tax bill, and then consider you don’t even have a staffed fire station available to you!

  4. What’s the big Secret? says:

    Roger says he won’t disclose the lawyer’s opinion? Why? No matter what additional info he gets, that opinion is what it is. Waiting serves no purpose.
    While it factors into the next move it doesn’t merit being kept from citizens and taxpayers.
    These officials seem to think that they need to protect the public from bad news. It not their job to play big brother.
    It’s their job to get answers and solutions and most importantly, to inform the citizens of what’s going on as soon as they know.

  5. Bullied in Silver Lake says:

    At the meeting this week, Roger Johnson thought fire could get by with 15 people, and stated that “many” former firefighters would be returning now that the “bad leadership” was gone. He thought that might be 5. When asked how many of them were qualified to return to duty, he was baffled. He did not know how long it would take to “recertify” them. He also stated effectively that Randall would be our primary fire coverage. Your insurance company will find that most interesting as Silver Lake is no longer able to meet the ISO standards for initial fire response coverage. When Roger Johnson asked Bob Johnson if Silver Lake Rescue could help provide fire coverage, he too was baffled. For a problem of this magnitude, the incompetency of our board was readily apparent. Being that Wilkomm and Johnson both have previous board experience, and are pretty much CLUELESS on how to resolve this situation, that is truly disappointing, if not frightening. Right now, it appears the biggest concern is if we will have enough firefighters qualified to drive the fire trucks in our Memorial Day parade!

  6. EKeen says:

    I have to say, I applaud Roger Johnson and Roger Pattie for getting together and contacting all of the surrounding fire depts to let them know we are short on staff. It doesn’t matter who contacted who here, it’s a matter being that they were all contacted. Yes, we are covered by MABAS< but we have to remember, that should only be short term. I think both Rogers should work together and call any previous members and see if they want to rejoin, as well as work hard to find new members. We can fix this. Instead of complaining and pointing fingers, let us all work together to get our village back to a village we can be proud of.
    As far as people spouting off about how our board is ruining this town, give them a chance already. Most of them are newly in office. How about some fire dept fundraising and get the water fights back on the calendar. How 'bout some volunteers to help our fire dept with it? Quit complaining that nothing is going right and be part of making it right.

  7. Al Dunski Sr. says:

    It’s not time to start over, it’s time for OUR firefighters to rise above this ridiculous infighting and get back to basics. You guys must be better than the pompous buffoons running this village right now. You men and women joined the fire department for a reason, to make a difference, to help in time of emergency. It takes time and dedication to be one of you. I know, because I too was a firefighter a member of SLFD for ten years and a professional firefighter for twenty years. Remember a few years ago when the village had to turn off a dozen street lights to save money? Now they want to contract out for fire and rescue? Where will that money come from? MORE TAXES!

  8. baffled says:

    Just wait until home owners insurance triples because of the increased ISO rating. You’ll see people singing a much different song.

  9. Local 414 Pro... says:

    Bernard…
    I wasn’t aware that the Wilmot station was staffed??? When did that occur?
    Also, what is the NFPA recommended distance for fire suppression units to travel?
    Isn’t the Trevor station is out the of recommended range?

    As usual you pontificate your superior knowledge of everything fire, but I don’t recall seeing your name of the SLFD roster…

    Two quotes come to mind:
    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem…

    and: a man who has nothing to say should not be soothed by the sound of his own voice…

    You give off much more heat than light Bernard…

  10. Bentley L. Knitwitt says:

    I vote Bernard Punsley to run the SLFD. It sounds like he wouldn’t put up with any BS from the board. I applaud Roger Pattie for his boldness. It always has distressed me that politicians know more than the men and women putting their life on the line. And if Bob Stoll thinks he can muster a group from Randall, he must be drinking the same Kool-aid as the SL Board. He has a hard time finding anybody to ride with him responding to Randall calls.

  11. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Local 414 Pro…….I never said the Wilmont station was staffed. Where did you come up with that in my post? Trevor station is also out of recommended range. My point was that even with MABAS departments responding, without an initial “first due” fire company to respond quickly, that “room and contents” wastebasket fire will be a raging inferno by the time a mutual aid company arrives. And in no way, shape or form did I disparage those departments. They know what I am talking about…..if your house catches on fire and you have to wait for a first due engine company from Wheatland, Randall, or ANY Salem station, I repeat, have good working smoke detectors and a fully paid up homeowners insurance premium. NFPA recommendation is 1.5 miles for the nearest engine company. Any of those stations mentioned even close to being 2 to 3 more times FARTHER than that?
    2 quotes come to mind: Never pet a burning dog, and never put out a campfire with your face. Apparently, you tried both. If you can’t stand the heat…….pontificate. Your “farkle factor” is starting to show again.

  12. KB says:

    Lived in Bristol for 10yrs, always worired about a fire in the old house i had. Moved to SC where my worst fear happened. Fire in the middle of the nite, by the time volanteers from 5 departments showed up two people were dead&2dogs. Still carry the scars from being burned. I was the only one got out alive. You need these People

  13. Bernard Punsley says:

    To any firefighter or rescue people…..you folks respond to calls, you know the difference that minutes can make in life or death situations. If you live in Salem, Randall, or Wheatland, can you honestly say that if you had no fire department available, that a fire rig coming from Silver Lake for a structure fire or people trapped in a burning vehicle would get there in time to make much difference? If you are on any of the 3 departments listed, can you honestly say you could get to Silver Lake in time to make a difference as ‘first due”? That’s not a knock on anyone….it’s reality. And during the daytime, when response personnel are usually not as readily available as nighttime, are you going to get out of the station in a timely fashion? How many people on the rig…1? 2? 3? Remember…you are “first due”..nobody else will be on scene when you pull up. The Silver Lake village board(most of them!) are trying to convince folks “we are fully protected”. If you are a fighter or rescue person….you KNOW that’s BULL! And if you don’t, you must belong to the “Fantasy Fire Department”!

  14. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Knitwitt: Thanks for your confidence in me, but I don’t think I would be able to meet the qualifications for Fire Chief that the Silver Lake village board is looking for. They are looking for someone to continue the “Ostrich Approach” that they have adopted to addressing any problems in the village. You know, stick your head in the sand, the problem will go away. Both Chief McFarlane and Chief Pattie refused to adopt that philosophy… Chief Andy paid the price for it, Chief Pattie probably already has “seen the light”. I would be more inclined to tell the board to “pound sand”. And having Colleen pull my strings via Roger J. would be hard to fathom for me. I’m thinking they probably have a much more “seasoned” person in mind….you know…one of the “good old boys” who will “return” and immediately restore beer in the fire station. When that happens, I will seriously consider joining the SLFD…I’m thinking we’ll go back to riding the “tailboard” as well. I think I just heard the Kor-bell ring!

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Local 414 Pro………..as you are the self described “pro”…..dont’ take my word for anything…just check with your insurance agent. See what they have to say. I already “know”…and I’m not a “pro”. Insurance rates WILL go up. Folks, just call your agent and see if I’m making this up! see if I am “pontificating”. I KNOW what my insurance agent told me. I’ve taken out an additional rider clause on my homeowners policy….Roger Johnson’s assurance that “we are fully covered” wasnt’ enough for me! I remain…Bernard..the “shining light” of the village!

  16. Library Lessions says:

    OK…we just had the library fiasco…which is currently under investigation by the Kenosha County DA…..now we cannot get any information from our legal counsel as to what we can(or cannot )do with our fire department. Well, the board might have the information..but they won’t release it to anyone! Sounds like “deja vu all over again”! Has anyone heard a WORD from our Village President over this issue? Nope..it’s the Roger(Colleen)Johnson show…everyone else clear out! I chuckle at the observations that Salem FD will be involved in the “contingency plan”. Think anyone from our village board spoke with them? Think again. Randall and Wheatland are the “players” here.
    Salem will be considered like a “plague” upon us!!! Those same folks that are prepared to give us $50K for our “illegal library”. Thanks Salem..but no thanks.

  17. Bernard Punsley says:

    @EKeen……..waterfights and fire department fundraising. Your ideas, not mine! The SLFD was told by village legal counsel they could not raise their own funds and keep the $$(100% incorrect advice). THEN…the board wanted to tell the Firefighters Association what they could do with the money that the FIREFIGHTERS had raised!!! Think I’m “pontificating…Local 414 Pro….check out the village board meeting minutes. WATERFIGHTS? Let me ask you this…do our cops have to sell kool aid and brats or raffle off items so they can buy bullet proof vests or bullets for their guns? Or equipment for their squad cars? Why should our firefighters have to?

  18. For What its Worth says:

    I live 1,000 feet, yes that’s 1/5 of a mile from the Salem Fire Station and not too many years ago there was a house fire just three doors down from my house, at 5 in the morning.

    As I drove by on my way to work I looked at the trucks and they all came from Trevor. Not one from the station literally a minutes’ walk from the fire. You could see the Station from the guys front yard.

    It’s not just about the location of the station, it’s about who shows up.

    This is not a knock on Salem but it is and always will be a testament to the
    ‘Fire-Men from Trevor’. They don’t miss a thing.

  19. Volunteer in the County says:

    This is the type of proof of the pressures of volunteers in the EMS service. Adding the additional training required after 9/11, and then the strain from the local government and citizens, it is no wonder that volunteers are no longer interested in helping due to the extended work load and the lack of support from the community.

    As a volunteer in the area for over a decade, it can be said that the problems in SL are not the exact same in other communities, but there are issues in many Kenosha County communities from governments and citizens that are causing volunteers to not want to help anymore because of fatigue and a feeling of lack of support. Even with a lack of growth in the area, at this rate of attitude change on every side, you will see ALL the county departments in the area going to a paid fire company and then lets see how the taxes look.

    While not saying any of the volunteers are anywhere near perfect, everyone has a breaking point, and citizens and governments seem to be finding it, and the local communities will be the ones to suffer

  20. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Volunteer in the County. Well said. Thanks for your dedication and service. Your observations are right on the money.

  21. Lies says:

    @For What It’s Worth. I know you said your not trying to knock anyone but it sure sounds like it. Maybe your confused on your dates and times but for at least 6 years Salem fire Trevor fire Wilmot fire and Salem rescue have collectively been known as the Town of Salem Fire/Rescue, and with the exception of 3 apparatus say Town of Salem Fire/Rescue on the sides. And I seem to remember not so many years back as you would put it, the “fire-men from Trevor” buried one of their engines in the lake… Guess they missed that.

  22. Why would you say I’m lying? says:

    OK, so it was more than a few years ago. I’ve lived in Salem damn near 20 years now and in Trevor for 10 before that. There are enough old timers out there that might remember that fire. It was up the hill from the car wash in downtown Salem. I think it was electrical. More smoke than fire but it was at 5 in the morning. And now that I think about it there was even a yellow truck there. And we all know where that came from.

    If you want to say I was cutting down Salem, go ahead. As I drove past their station they didn’t even have a door open.

    But my comment was about the response time and distance from the station. Sure Silver Lake residents need to be concerned. But with Wheatland, Randall and Salem treating all calls to SL as first response, at least they will know someone’s coming. The questions should be ‘Did those SLFD guys think about where that barn fire was and knew that they were just support and not first line? Is that why they stayed home thinking that if just ‘one’ less guy didn’t show, what would it matter? I guess they didn’t take into account the chance that they were all thinking the same way. And that my friends is the root of the problem. Attitude. Actions speak louder than words and those SL firemen were speaking loud and clear.

    Think about the aforementioned consolidation of Salem, Trevor and Wilmot. Did those ’towns’ lose their identity when that happened? No. People, who live in Wilmot, still live in Wilmot and are proud of it. And the same goes for Trevor and Salem. They consolidated to be more efficient. To save money. And in the case of a fire department, bigger is better.

    The discussion here should be about Silver Lake giving up their “Village” and let Salem absorb them. Not to get bigger and say ‘We’re better”, but to consolidate services, to become more efficient. To save money.

    Silver Lake will always be called Silver Lake. The only mention of ‘Salem’ would be on the tax bills, which by the way would be lower for them. (And NO, we won’t put up a water tower with SALEM on it) As I suggested last year here, the Salem board could add two new seats and have them be for Silver Lake residents. Along with three from Salem, one each from Trevor and Wilmot, Silver Lake would be well represented. While nobody wants to see government get bigger, in this case by adding to the town board, (maybe soon the ‘VILLAGE’ board), things will get better for all.

    Come to the Salem meetings. Listen to Casey and Slover. They are real people with real jobs and depending on who you talk to, pretty damn good at them. I’ll say it again; Silver Lake will always be Silver Lake. Nobody can take that away from you. Just think about the big picture and let us help you.

    Oh, I did miss the truck in the lake story. It must be a good one. Right next to the story about those same Trevor ‘FIRE MEN’ who died in Camp Lake many years ago trying to save some fools who stole a snowmobile.

    Chris Skrzynecki Salem

  23. Dissolve says:

    One solution for all the government in Silver Lake, is to dissolve. See Save Us Silver Lake Kenosha, and Moving Silver Lake Forward on facebook. We need to end this government!

  24. Slow Burn in Paddock Lake says:

    I’m not sure I fully understand what’s going out in Silver Lake with their fire department, but here is what I am reading into it. Silver Lake cannot adequately run a fire truck because of low manpower. Salem has agreed to provide fire protection for no cost to Silver Lake. Ok. Then WHY are we here in Paddock Lake paying Salem hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide our fire protection? Why can’t we get the same “sweet deal” that Silver Lake is getting. I’m steaming. What am I missing here?

  25. Just sayin says:

    @lies. Did you know silver lake buried their truck in the lake and only up to a few years they wore the patch with a sunken fire truck on it like it was badge of honor just sayin

  26. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Just saying………..it’s a little known fact in the fire service, that the only authorized fire department vehicle that CANNOT go down a one way street the wrong way in an emergency is a FIRE BOAT. In addition, another little known fact(I’ll ask our PD to back me up on this)….pretty much most folks know that it is against the law to stand up in a crowded movie theater and yell “FIRE”. However, did you know it is NOT against the law to stand up in a crowded fire station while watching TV and yell “MOVIE”. Folk….I dont’ make the laws..I just report ‘em.

  27. to Slow burn says:

    Paddock Lake has a fire department. It is under the name of Salem.
    They attend your parades. They service your special events. They give you paramedic rescue and they fight your fires. They certify your buildings and they do inspections. And some in your community take all of it granted ((you??) and don’t know that we in Salem are doing a slow burn (for the last 15 years or so) that you pay less in your taxes for our services. It is not hundreds of thousands of dollars. You get s super sweet deal! ANd each of your citizens pay less than those in Salem for great services…In fact, you get better services that Silver Lake Fire and their separate Rescue Squad can offer you as a complete and issue free, organization. And if you don’t like it, then you get your own Paddock Lake fire department…Building, apparatus, equipment, certified FF and medical teams and all the drugs, uniforms, and property needed to be fully functioning (good luck with that)… That all said, IF you had a fire department with Paddock Lake on the trucks, you too would be responding to the calls of Silver Lake just like anyone else in the business does. And you would do it for free…You would be part of MABAS and you would be expected to carry your load. And you would do it because that is what your oath was all about. As it is, Salem is carrying your load tax wise and service wise and part of that load includes MABAS calls. This should be temporary. If it isn’t temporary, then discussions will be had for exactly what you are talking about… Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get. But when you know, then you can act accordingly.

  28. @to Slow Burn says:

    I understand the services that are provided to Paddock Lake by the Town of Salem. I have no problem with the fine services provided to us by Salem Fire & Rescue, and I really don’t have a problem with what is being charged by us. Your contention that Salem Fire/Rescue responds to Silver Lake for “free” under the MABAS system is based on the fact that Silver Lake has a fire department. My contention is that if that have a fire department that is dysfunctional and cannot meet their own needs, ala Paddock Lake, why do they get free fire and rescue service? If Paddock Lake bought a garage and stuck a couple of old fire trucks in in, painted Paddock Lake Fire Department on the front of the building, but would be unable to respond to calls because “Fireman Gus” could not get up out of his rockin chair sitting in front of the fire truck, would we then qualify for “free” fire service from Salem? I think we would.

  29. @to Slow Burn says:

    You also state: ” you would be part of MABAS and you would be expected to carry your load. And you would do it because that is what your oath was all about”. Really? Shouldn’t that apply to the Silver Lake firefighters? Do they have a special oath they take? Don’t they have to”carry their load”? I must be missing something here.

  30. Bullied in Silver Lake says:

    If you saw the tv coverage of our unmanned fire station in Silver Lake, you will see dozens of waterfighting trophies sitting on the floor inside the front door. Our new board “visited” the fire station, and decided the shelves the trophies were sitting on were “illegal”. No initimidation there.

  31. To Slow Burn says:

    This statement (your statement) below might constitute a fraud.
    Perhaps you are suggesting that the Village of Silver Lake is perpetrating a fraud?

    Perhaps the demise of the SLFD is exactly what the trustees are thinking when they only gave them a few thousand to operate? Perhaps using MABAS as their emergency services was the intention?

    “My contention is that if that have a fire department that is dysfunctional and cannot meet their own needs, ala Paddock Lake, why do they get free fire and rescue service? If Paddock Lake bought a garage and stuck a couple of old fire trucks in in, painted Paddock Lake Fire Department on the front of the building, but would be unable to respond to calls because “Fireman Gus” could not get up out of his rockin chair sitting in front of the fire truck, would we then qualify for “free” fire service from Salem? I think we would.”

  32. To Slow Burn says:

    Chief McFarlane attempted to remove those who took the oath but didn’t work at the job and the Silver Lake Board decided he had overstepped.
    Furthering illustrating an opinion/question below:

    I return also with a comment that hasn’t been posted….

    This statement (your statement) below might constitute a fraud.
    Perhaps you are suggesting that the Village of Silver Lake is perpetrating a fraud?

    Perhaps the demise of the SLFD is exactly what the trustees are thinking when they only gave them a few thousand to operate? Perhaps using MABAS as their emergency services was the intention?

    “My contention is that if that have a fire department that is dysfunctional and cannot meet their own needs, ala Paddock Lake, why do they get free fire and rescue service? If Paddock Lake bought a garage and stuck a couple of old fire trucks in in, painted Paddock Lake Fire Department on the front of the building, but would be unable to respond to calls because “Fireman Gus” could not get up out of his rockin chair sitting in front of the fire truck, would we then qualify for “free” fire service from Salem? I think we would.”

  33. Jackson says:

    I just want to say that this weekend was busy for our Fire Department even running three calls on a Saturday with fully staffed and people in reserve at the station for any extra calls that fire department is kicking ass and stepping out to help everyone in the time of need

  34. Slow Burn in Paddock Lake says:

    Don’t l know how you came up with my statement constituting a fraud. Pretty far stretch……..isn’t the Kenosha County DA investigating the library purchase out in Silver Lake? The observation was made that Silver Lake receiveds MABAS fire and rescue for “free” because they have a fire department. Paddock Lake has to contract with Salem because we do not have a fire department. I’ll stand by my contention. Keep stetchin’ yours out!

  35. Fighting Bob says:

    To Bullied in Silver Lake:

    A friend of mine is a member of SLFD and he told me that a recent ” training ” for SLFD was to clean the waterfight trophies. Now that is a progressive fire department. Cleaning 30 or 40 year old trophies is just a bit stupid. Why not junk them and cut down on the cleaning expense. He also told me that the association bank account has more than a $7500.00 balance. Would Mr. Punsley care to comment on this mountain of cash?

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