10 Illinois firemen quit after their chief gets replaced by convicted ARSONIST!
As many as 10 volunteer firefighters with the Illinois department have quit their job after their chief was replaced by a man previously convicted of arson. The decision to appoint a new chief was taken after a board meeting on Monday, December 20. Captain Laura Rosenkranz, who also resigned, told that the board's decision was unacceptably harsh. Laura was previously married to John Rosenkranz, the chief of the Illinois fire department. In a video that has now gone viral, an Illinois volunteer fireman could be seen hurling his helmet, jacket, and other heavy equipment onto a table. "Here's my gear," the firefighter informed the board of trustees of the Prairie Du Pont Fire Protection District.
Jerame Simmons, the fire department's assistant chief, was appointed as the chief of the department. In a statement released by the board of trustees, it stated that "a change in the Fire Department's leadership is required," and that it had complete confidence in Simmons' ability to oversee the department.
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Simmons pled guilty to arson in 1999 after setting fire to ceiling tiles in his high school basement and an abandoned home when he was 18 years old. He was given a four-year probationary term. Simmons was eventually pardoned by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Rosenkranz told the station, “The town remembers the school being set on fire, the town remembers the house set on fire [where] we had firefighters fall and be injured,” according to FOX 2. The St Louis Post-Dispatch stated in 1999 that Simmons' father, Herb Simmons, was mayor of East Carondelet in St Clair County at the time of his son's imprisonment. Herb Simmons is currently the county's emergency management agency's director.
In response to Jerame Simmons' appointment as interim chief, ten of the department's 13 firemen resigned. Eight of them wrote a letter to the board on Monday, stating that they were quitting their jobs “with regret and sorrow”. The decision was described as "appalling and disgusting" by former head Rosenkranz. As a result of the numerous resignations, he does not feel the town will have appropriate fire protection. He had not expected the replacement choice to be made so close to the holidays. Rosenkranz said that he was not provided with a reason for his dismissal. Nearby fire chiefs have stated that their departments will assist in filling any coverage gaps caused by the resignations.