Barrington fire agencies finally reach aid agreement

Nearly six months after their acrimonious breakup, the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department have reached an automatic aid agreement governing when, how and where each will respond to emergencies in the other's jurisdiction.

The deal, ratified by both sides Monday evening, calls for the district to respond to all commercial fire alarms in the village of Barrington that occur west of Route 59. In return, the Barrington Fire Department will provide fire and emergency medical service coverage to sections of the district that are near the village's fire station at 400 N. Northwest Hwy.

The agreement was negotiated by district Fire Chief Jeff Swanson and Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie.

Elected officials who oversee both sides sang the plan's praises at separate meetings Monday night, held minutes apart from each other.

Village President Karen Darch said the deal has been a long time coming.

"It's been a little bit in getting it in good order, but we're really happy that we have that auto-aid agreement," she said.

Village Trustee Robert Windon said the agreement is important to public safety in the area.

"I think the agreement we have is very good," Windon said. "We are going to continue to evaluate as the information comes in, but I think it's a very good step moving forward."

At the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's special board meeting, board President Thomas C. Long commended Swanson for his part in bringing about the auto-aid deal.

"We are confident that (the agreement) improves public safety for residents of both the district and village, and ensures that the aid we provide will be reciprocated when we need it," Long said.

Before Jan. 1, the fire district paid the village of Barrington to provide fire protection services to its 48-square-mile jurisdiction, which includes Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. But after disputes over staffing and equipment needs, the fire district ended the relationship and launched its own department at the start of the year.

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