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Fire district honors retired deputy chief

LAKE BARRINGTON – Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees approved a new engine purchase Monday evening after celebrating a surprise dedication for Illinois Fire Chiefs Association consultant and retired district deputy chief John Feit.

Trustee Paul Heinze made a public address to dedicate the district headquarters conference room, at 22222 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington, to Feit in honor of his service. The room was named the Deputy Chief John J. Feit Center.

Starting his work in the district 35 years ago as a paid-on-call firefighter, Feit said he "certainly did not expect" this sort of recognition.

Heinze said Feit has always pushed for the highest level of district service, knowing every part of the district.

"His standards for performance and quality are legendary," Heinze said. "He doesn't accept any gray areas or levels of uncertainty."

Feit has most recently been consulting the district through its separation from operations with the village of Barrington, planning the development of a third district fire station and talking trustees through apparatus purchases.

With April 10 being the district's 100-day mark of independent operations, its 70 firefighter-paramedics have responded to 124 emergencies in the month of February, alone; transporting 61 patients to a hospital, Chief Jeff Swanson said.

Setting celebration aside, Feit advised trustees to purchase new apparatus for district's second station in Barrington Hills.

The rescue-pumper-squad engine, currently a demo piece at Fire Service, Inc., in Florida, is expected to be delivered in just over 40 days.

District spokesman Ryan McKeon said the purchased apparatus will serve as a frontline fire engine, water pumper, and tool-equipped squad vehicle, as well as deliver advanced life support for severe accidents.

Trustee Marvin Hill expressed his budget concern before trustees approved the purchase.

"We've already spent quite a bit on equipment and are doing a lot pretty fast," Hill said. "We need to be mindful."

Feit said the planning committee is well aware of the district's budget and has been preparing to replace older apparatus, while reusing already purchased tools and attached equipment, since its separation from the village fire department in January.

District President Tom Rowan said he feels confident that the $318,550 engine purchase is a good deal.

Feit and Station 2 Captain Nick Asta said the new engine is meant to alleviate an overcrowding issue at the Barrington Hills station, where apparatus is now housed bumper-to-bumper, and generate more water at fire emergencies.

By making this single EMS, heavy rescue and fire engine purchase, officials said they will be able to replace three whole vehicles causing an overcrowding issue in the second station.

Feit said with this purchase, the district will be able to arrive at a fire with 10,000 gallons of water on its own apparatus.

"We've never done this before," Feit said.

If you go

The next Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 14 at district headquarters, 22222 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington. Visit for information.

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