Silver Lake Village Board meeting includes clash over fire call

silver-lake-fd-doorIt should not exactly have been a surprise to anyone that has attended or read about Silver Lake Village Board meetings of late, but Wednesday’s meeting included an argument over whether Silver Lake Rescue Squad personnel erroneously called off mutual aid response at a fire call at Riverview School on May 23.

Trustee Patrick Dunn alleged that a member of the rescue squad called off the mutual aid for the call after it was discovered that an alarm at the school was due to burnt popcorn. Such an action has happened before, and rescue squad leadership has said it would not happen again. Fire personnel are supposed to make that determination.

“We were assured by rescue that this would never happen again, but it has happened again for the third time,” Dunn said. “I think something needs to be done.”

Dunn also then called for village President Sue Geber’s resignation because she directed Kenosha County Joint Services dispatch to stop dispatching SLFD after the  department’s equipment was take out of service by then Fire Chief Roger Pattie  on May 21 because the tires on the vehicles were too old. Dunn contended Gerber overstepped her authority.

sl-rescue-squad-backGerber replied that she felt the communication to Joint Services dispatch was valid because the SLFD equipment was taken out of service. Fire personnel at Wednesday’s meeting said they were willing to continue to respond with their own vehicles and gear, but Gerber dismissed that contention.

“No one responded that they could respond with their own vehicles and their own gear,” Gerber said, “which would make no sense when we need a fire truck at the scene.”

Then getting back to Dunn’s first point, Gerber asked that a recording of radio transmissions from May 23 during the Riverview School call be played, which rescue squad Chief Bob Johnson did.

The recording showed a SL Rescue squad unit calling in as being on scene before the fire department. A later transmission indicated a police officer reported that he felt the alarm was pulled by a student and was false. That police officer later reports that the alarm appeared to be triggered by burnt popcorn. Pattie arrives on the scene and is heard calling off mutual aid response after verifying the cause for the alarm.

But after the playing of the recording, Pattie stood up at the meeting and challenged its accuracy.

“That is not a complete tape,” Pattie said adding that while on his way to the school he heard a rescue squad member tell the Randall Fire Department and Town of Wheatland Fire Department to stand down.

“I wasn’t the first one to do it and I was the only authorized fire officer on the scene,” Pattie said.

Eventually the debate — including audience participation — got heated enough that Gerber threatened “to clear the building” if it continued.

No action was taken on Dunn’s initial point and the meeting continued to committee reports.





  1. Branden Sellers says:

    3……..2………1……..cue the Gutless no names!!!! I clearly stand by my assessment of the Current EMS “Solution” by Sue & Company “Silver Lake Rescue Board” or Save Silver Lake Rescue Board???? or Really Save Silver Lake……….. well…you get the point.. so many Pro Rescue Squad Pages out there .. how can you keep up with them all??
    The foot shuffling and urgency to get SLFD a Chief… maintenance. and keep Blackhats and Officers up to date continues… I feel like a prom date still waiting by the phone.. to see if my Tux order should be canceled or …not… looking up and down my Inbox.. I see ..Hmmm Proflowers…. Galls, Fire Rescue 1, even the good people at Walgreens sent a Email to let me know my script is ready…. but alas .. nothing..nada ..bupkus from my Village.. weather, or not I’m on…..*Sigh* I bet Wheatland, and Randall Officers are in line with Madame President… and we know Rescue has the reigns for the good people of Silver Lake….. SMH

  2. Another Gutless No-Name says:

    I can’t believe that we are going to have to endure another 5 months of this and then another 6 months before the dissolve is done. Yep that right folks, 11 months of status quo.
    Why wait on the referendum to dissolve? Get it done now. Does anyone think waiting until November is going to change anyone’s mind? Just call for a special election and get it over with. Either the dissolve will happen 6 months after the vote or if it goes the other way, the board will decide to raise taxes until they can afford tires and everything else that the winning voters are willing to pay for.
    In the infamous words of Larry the cable guy, “Git-R-Done!”

  3. Ughh says:

    Rescue should NEVER have the power to call off a fire department for a FIRE call!!! EVER!!! Flip it around and fire tells rescue they don’t need to respond to a rescue call? The village board should be investigated! SLRS should be investigated too!

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    I’ll ask 2 of our former Fire Chiefs(Drinkwine and Tanski)… call comes in at Riverview Grade School. First on scene units include a SL police officer, an ambulance with 2 people, and a SL firefighter(who Sue Gerber does NOT want responding…”it would make no sense when we need a fire truck at the scene”).
    OK….so what is YOUR “on scene size up”. Where WERE the fire trucks? You wouldn’t at least want have a SLFD member on scene for a size up? So I’m the Fire Chief, call comes in, Sue does NOT want me to respond directly to the scene in my personal vehicle ? Are you catching on yet? Our village firefighters were SHUT OUT of responding to calls in our own village. Didn’t see either one of you express any concern about that. Enlighten us how long you think it will take a rig to get from Randall and Wheatland. And as you both should know, 3 firefighters pulling up by themselves to any type of “working” fire will pretty much have their hands full, until the other 100 MABAS troops arrive. 20 minutes later.

  5. Billy Bob says:

    4 min 30 seconds for Randall, A few more ticks for Wheatland and Wilmot…1000 gallons and a deck gun can put a LOT of fire out…only takes one for that. Average house fire with single room takes about 250 gallons…try it some time Jeff…

  6. Bad Decision says:

    It was a bad decision by Roger Johnson to have Randall and Wheatland as first responders to Silver Lake. He could have asked Salem who is closer and staffed to help out. They would have lent SLFD a Pumper to use until they got their up and running. Salem is a good neighbor. They are the only ones that are helping with the library and spraying the lake. We are now three weeks without local fire and EMS protection from our fire department and no word on when it will be fixed. We are not going to talk about the dispatch problems that Sue and Roger have caused because they do not know what they are doing.

  7. Cindy Tanski says:

    Mr. Bernard Punsley, aka Greg Galich…You did not talk to former CHIEF TANSKI and I doubt if you talked to Ralph Drinkwine. Just another lie coming out of the SLFD… You people pulled yourselves Out- Of- Service… Going to respond in your own personal vehicles? Ok where the water? Before you put Dan’s name on anything it best be the truth…

  8. Concerned says:

    Silver Lake Rescue did not tell the FD to stand down. Dispatched asked them but they did not. Fire chief Patti did. Sounds like another round of false trumped up charges by Trustee Dunn. I think he wants the board to take action on the charges before they are substantiated. In this case Dunn clearly was wrong. And he said he said “I stand corrected” after the recording was played. Yet another attach on the Rescue Squad.
    Chief Patti was the only fireman on scene. Where were the others, I thought they were responding in their personal vehicles. They were toned out, it is right on the recording.
    Dunn and others should spend more time on fixing things and making them work rather than destroying everything.

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Billy Bob. Nice try. Randall FD will be on scene at Riverview School 4 minutes and 30 seconds from dispatch tone out. REALLY? Did you INCLUDE the time it takes them to DRIVE to the fire station, enter the building, put on their turnout gear get on the rig, wait for the overhead door to open up, and drive out onto the road? How far away(average) do the closest Randall firefighters live to the fire station? I don’t care if they lived across the street, it’s going to take them at least 2 minutes to run across the street and get a rig out the door. According to you, 1 firefighter with a deck gun and 1000 gallons of water can put out a lot of fire. Really? “Average house fire with single room takes about 250 gallons”…golly…that single firefighter should be able to put out 4 rooms of fire with their 1000 gallons. That single firefighter can also do a walk around size up, vent the building before entry, ladder the buiilding, shut off utilities, attend to any injured victims who might have escaped the fire, force entry, perform a right side/left side search for possible victims, locate the fire, and extinguish it. That single firefighter can also act as the RIT Team (no need to follow the “2 in 2 out” rule…..I’m SUPER HERO FIREFIGHTER) staging, operations, logistics, rehab, and probably COMMAND as well. Silly me, Billy Bob, I forgot to factor in the “FARKLE FACTOR”. Sorry.

  10. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Cindy Tanski: Ah, sorry sister……read my post again. WHERE did I say I talked to former fire chief’s Tanski or Drinkwine? I never spoke with them and I never said I did. That’s your “lie”. I asked for their expert opinion on how they would have handled the fire call at the grade school given the limitations placed upon the SLFD. What specific “lie” are you referring to in my post? The “water” you asked about is sitting back at the SL fire station, in 16 year old water tanks sittling on 16 year old tires. The fire chief DID pull the rigs out of service. That’s the TRUTH! The “water” was coming from Randall and Wheatland. Maybe before you put Dan’s name on anything, you should follow your own advice and make sure it’s “the truth”. To quote Laugh In’s Ruth Buzzi “THAT”S THE TRUTH”
    PS….you’ve really confused me….I’m supposedly “Greg Galich”. I thought I was another popular former board member…..

  11. Greg Galich says:

    Cindy I am honored that you think I am Bernard. I sorry to report I am not. Keep trying you may be getting warmer.

  12. Captain Courageous says:

    @Billy Bob: “word on the street” is that Randall FD responded to a structure fire in Twin Lakes awhile back with 1 firefighter driving the rig. No other crew on board. Probably in 4 minutes and 30 seconds too. Hope it was “SUPER HERO FIGHTER” that was sent.

  13. Billy Bob says:

    Salem is NOT closer than Randall…take a drive and measure the distance and time…
    Randall had a FULL truck crew (4) an engine and a Chief responding to the school mess. Called off by SLRS (again) before they got to the end of the driveway…

  14. Captain Courageous says:

    @Billy Bob: From the initial dispatch tone out, until the time RFD pulled out onto the ramp……how many minutes was THAT? Is that part of your magical 4 minute 30 second response time? And where was Salem FD ever mentioned? I must have missed that. If RFD was “called off” before they got to the end of the driveway, that means SLRS was ON SCENE before RFD even got on the road. Just like SLFD would have been if they hadn’t been BANNED! Keep the FARKLE FACTOR coming….we’ll try to stifle our snickers.

  15. @billybob says:

    Randall station is not closer to silver lake. Wilmot is just over 1mile to the nearest SL boarder and Randal l is over 2 miles to the nearest boarder plus randall has to go through the town of salem to get to silver lake.

  16. @cindy says:

    Either you need to learn to read or quit twisting things and spinning them into your little so called truths.

  17. Mutual Aid Firefighter says:

    I was at the Twin Lakes fire in May. Randall FD rig DID show up with one firefighter driving. Maybe it was their “Super Hero Firefighter” with his 1000 gallons of water and deck gun. My department does not allow a fire rig(engine, tender/tanker, quint,)to roll out the door with 1 person on it. Probably ‘cuz we’re not as sharp as Super Hero Firefighter. But we’re working on striving for that status.

  18. Concerned says:

    Billy Bob,
    You say SLRS called off fire. Did you hear the dispatch recording? Apparently not. If you listen to it you will clearly hear SLFD chief call them off. At no point did SLRS call them off or ask they stand down. Detractors here like to spread false information. Let’s stick to facts.
    At the board meeting it was stated the recording was not complete. It was stated that SLRS told fire to stand down before SLFD chief did. It was only played up to when SLFD chief called off fire rigs. Are they saying someone edited the recording? Somebody was going to obtain their own copy of the recording. Let’s see if they play it at the next meeting. My guess is they will not bring a recording to be played. But they will keep fueling the false accusations. I hope the board puts playing of the new recording on the agenda. Then we can see them decline to play it. I bet they don’t have one to play after all it would just expose them as wrong again.

  19. you guys are crazy says:

    The recordings are public record. If everyone is so concerned fill out the paperwork and get it. You guys are ridiculous. Sound like a bunch of toddlers throwing a tantrum.

  20. cry babies says:

    Its nice to see my comment was removed. You all sound like a bunch of toddlers throwing temper tantrums. The recorded tape for that call falls under public information act. If you wanna know what happened fill out the paperwork and get it. This stuff is absolutely ridiculous. I worry about the village residents who are paying taxes for a fire dept that the current 4 members of said fire dept are trying to destroy. Changes are coming

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