Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights fire departments settle differences
Residents in parts of Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights can expect quicker responses to emergencies after the two communities' fire departments set aside long-standing differences this week to forge a new mutual aid agreement.
The deal, ratified this week by the Mount Prospect village board and Prospect Heights Fire Protection District, is the first between the two in five years. Such deals lay out when and where one department would respond to an emergency in the other's jurisdiction.
"There was, I guess you would say, a difference of opinion," Prospect Heights Fire Chief Donald Gould said. "We withdrew from the (previous) agreement, and now there is some new administration."
The key point of dispute over the years, Gould said, concerned what part of each community an agreement should cover.
Gould said the new agreement should mean faster response times.
"Some of the area of Mount Prospect is actually almost right across the street from our fire station (at Camp McDonald and Route 83)," he said.
Mount Prospect Fire Chief Brian Lambel told the village board Tuesday that he began reviewing agreements with neighboring communities when he took over as interim chief last summer. Since then, department representatives have met with the Elk Grove, Elk Grove Township, Des Plaines and Prospect Heights departments, he said.
Lambel said that one area where he believed improved coverage is needed is the north side of the village, which borders Prospect Heights, as well as the south side.
The new agreement came about after regular meetings between Mount Prospect Deputy Chief John Dolan and Prospect Heights Deputy Chief Drew Smith. Those laid the groundwork for Mount Prospect firefighters joining their peers from Prospect Heights and Arlington Heights in training exercises, and ultimately the aid agreement.
The deal is expected to improve fire response in neighborhoods near Camp McDonald and Elmhurst roads, as well as between Wolf and River roads, north of Kensington Road.
Mount Prospect village Trustee Michael Zadel said he was happy to see the aid agreement reinstated.
"I really appreciate the work that went into this, because I don't know what happened six years ago, but we had an agreement with Prospect Heights and something occurred," he said. "It will really benefit both residents of Mount Prospect and of Prospect Heights."