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updated: 10/4/2013 5:04 PM

Barrington, fire district divide up the equipment

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The Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District on Friday took the last major step before they separate on Jan. 1, by dividing up the vehicles and equipment they co-own.

Though they couldn't yet provide a monetary estimate of what they got, both sides expressed satisfaction with the division.

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"I thought it was a very amicable meeting," Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said. "The outcome was exactly what we'd hoped for."

"We're pleased with the way things are going," agreed Barrington Countryside board President Tom Rowan.

Officials of the 48-square-mile fire district just outside of Barrington also found out this week that 16 of the 19 laid-off Barrington firefighters to whom it offered jobs have applied with them.

Barrington Countryside offered these firefighters their current union salaries and vacation time, but not a continuation of their pensions.

Rowan said it is important to the fire district to retain firefighters with as much experience and institutional memory of the fire district as work there now.

The rest of the fire district's roster of 33 full-time firefighters will be filled with staff provided by private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

"I think the residents are going to be really pleased," Rowan said. "We have the equipment we need and the personnel we need."

On Jan. 1, the fire district will terminate its long-running contract for service from the Barrington Fire Department.

Fire district officials initiated the split, unhappy that village officials declined several requests to boost staffing and equipment in Barrington Countryside's jurisdiction.

Barrington village officials said it was unfair to their own taxpayers to risk the financial liability for lifelong disabilities on more firefighters than the village itself needed.

The newly divided equipment should be moved to its new locations among the village's fire station and the fire district's two stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington about a week or two before the Jan. 1 split, Rowan said.

The contractual relationship between the village and fire district will be officially finished at the shift change at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, he added.

The fire district serves parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

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