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updated: 1/20/2012 2:44 PM

Palatine promotes eight, welcomes six firefighters

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Whenever attendance for Palatine village council meeting is standing room only, it's typically due to a controversial topic.

That wasn't at all the case Monday night, when Fire Chief Scott Andersen led a badge-pinning ceremony for eight newly promoted Palatine firefighters and six recent hires.

Effective Jan. 7, 16-year veterans Bill Gabrenya and Pat Gratzianna became deputy chiefs. Both are assigned to days at Station 85, with Gabrenya responsible for operations and Gratzianna responsible for administrative and support services.

Doug Hoyt and Fred Johnson, both 23-year veterans, were promoted to the rank of battalion chief.

Randy Dowell and Anthony Lavacchi were promoted to captain. Dowell is a 20-year veteran of the department, while Lavacchi will celebrate his 15th anniversary next month.

Dave Huemann, a 12-year veteran, and Keith VonderHeide, who'll celebrate 15 years next month, were promoted to lieutenant.

Six new firefighters also were recognized during the badge-pinning ceremony, filling vacancies dating back to February 2011. They are: Matt Vonau, Beau Buhs, Chris Farnsworth, Russ Hammer, Alan Stenger and Dallas Hoag.

Afterward, Chief Andersen was pleased with the extensive, yet concise, presentation.

"Not only is that a sharp-looking group, but I did that in like 10 minutes," he said.

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