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updated: 3/22/2011 11:40 PM

Work on Fox fire station ordered to stop

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The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District was told Tuesday night to stop construction on one of its new fire stations.

And it was given more requirements than it wants on the second fire station it wants to build.

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District Chief Joe Cluchey delivered a stop-work order to the Fox River and Countryside trustees Tuesday night after he slammed the Fox River district for not participating in discussions about the construction of a new fire house in the South Elgin district's territory. The fire house is planned to be temporary until the Fox River trustees can find a home within its own borders.

Cluchey said the district has failed to keep him informed on the design and construction progress of the new station as promised. Just last week, Cluchey found evidence of construction occurring at the new station without his knowledge and without county building permits.

"We just don't know what you're doing because no plans have been submitted," Cluchey said. "The work and expense you've put into it may have to come out now. It appears that we have been ignored."

The construction work is being performed under the supervision of Chris Baldwin, the chairman of the Fox River district's Citizen's Advisory Committee.

Fox River President Jim Gaffney told Cluchey they wouldn't comment on his statement. But Baldwin followed Cluchey out of the meeting, prompting Gaffney to send the district's attorney, Ken Shepro, out after him to tell him to keep quiet.

After the meeting, Baldwin admitted he did begin construction on the new station prematurely, but that was based on his decision alone.

That was the first piece of bad news of the night.

The second piece came from Shepro, who attended a Campton Hills meeting earlier Tuesday. Fox River also is attempting to build a new fire station in Campton Hills but has run up against the village requiring the district to submit to a special-use permitting process and plan review.

As of Tuesday night, some of the requirements the village is placing on the new station are items the fire district simply refuses to pay for. Among those is a requirement for a brick facade all the way around the new fire house, and the placement of a device on nearby traffic signals that would allow emergency vehicles to switch the traffic lights as needed. Gaffney said the district simply doesn't have the money to meet those demands.

"We are way over budget," Gaffney said. "(Village President Patsy Smith) keeps fooling with us like she's doing and come May 1 we are not going to have a station. They keep asking for a little more here and a little more here. I haven't got a little more. They are pushing us to the point where the numbers are not going to work."

Gaffney and trustees did agree to several of the demands, including some of the brick facade and the creation of a pedestrian and bicycle path. They decided to continue trying to work with the village on the other demands and continue work on the station.