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WENTZVILLE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT






FIREFIGHTERS USE POND WATER TO FIGHT BARN FIRE


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District Facebook

April 6, 2016 - KSDK Sam Clancy, KSDK

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Firefighters in Foristell had to use some ingenuity to put out a barn fire Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, which the Wentzville Fire Protection District said ended up burning about 30 or 40 acres, started this afternoon in an area of St. Charles and Warren Counties were there are no fire hydrants. In order to fight the fire, firefighters from Wentzville, Lake St Louis, Lincoln County, Wright City and O'Fallon, Mo., had to use water from a nearby pond.

A post on the Wentzville Fire Protection District said the fire was wind-fed, and limited water made it difficult to fight.

There were no injuries reported. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

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FIRE DISTRICT TAKES DELIVERY OF NEW APPARATUS

April 2, 2016 - Firehouse

WENTZVILLE, MO. -Wentzville Fire Protection District has taken delivery of a 2016 rear-mount Rosenbauer pumper with a unique red and and gray color scheme. It's built on a Rosenbauer Commander cab and chassis which is powered by a Cummins ISL 450-hp engine and an Allison transmission. It has a Waterous pump, a 750-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon foam cell. It has a blacked out grille and a Marathon Diesel generator.

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MAJOR CASE SQUAD INVESTIGATING WENTZVILLE HOMICIDE

March 27, 2016 - KSDK By Jason Aubry , KSDK

WENTZVILLE, MO. - What started out as a call to put out a fire has turned into a murder investigation in Wentzville.

According to Major Case Squad, 26-year-old Ruben Roderic Martinez was found dead after firefighters put out the fire at the home he was living in Sunday morning.

Investigators are not saying how Martinez was killed just yet, but say it is clear he was murdered.

Major Case Squad has not named any suspects in the case, and say they are currently following up on leads.

However, police believe the victim knew his killer and that this was not a random act.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS WARNING OF PHONE SCAM

February 9, 2016 - KTVI

WENTZVILLE, MO. - The Wentzville Fire Protection District is warning residents about a phone scam that has been targeting the area since late last week. They want you to know that telemarketing calls requesting donations to the fire department are neither endorsed nor condoned by the fire district.

Several calls have been made to elderly residents. Police have been notified. If you got one of these calls or know someone who has, call Wentzville police at 636-327-5105.

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FIRE DISTRICT PROMOTION CEREMONY

January 8, 2016 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE, MO. - At last evening's Board of Directors Meeting, the Board held a pinning ceremony for newly promoted Deputy Chief John LeDoux, Captain Bryan Notheis, and Fire District Chaplain Phil Reagan.

Congratulations, we are very proud of all three of you.

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FIRE DISTRICT WELCOMES 10 NEW FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDICS


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

January 7, 2016 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE MO. - Our new Firefighter/Paramedics began their orientation this week. These Firefighter/Paramedics will be sworn in next week and assigned to their permanent shift.

Congratulations to Bobby Nash, Josh Linneman, Chad Heflin, Justin Hawkins, Randy Mott, Pat Szarwinski, Tim Bobbitt, Bryan Wacker, Gary Mandrell, and Nick Moushey. Welcome!!!

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WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT BREAKS GROUND ON NEW FIRE STATION

November 5, 2015 - 70 West Sentinel By: TAMARA DUNCAN

MEHLVILLE, MO. - The Wentzville Fire District broke ground on a new fire station on Peine Road at a special ceremony last week.

The fire district, which currently has just three stations serving 88 square miles, responds to as many as 4,000 calls each year, said Chief Michael Marlo.

With the new station and staff, the district should be able to reduce response time to just six to eight minutes from the current response time of up to 15 minutes.

"And even seconds can mean the difference between life and death," Marlo said.

The new station, which will be known as Fire Station No. 2, should be completed, staffed, and functional by the fall of 2016.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS DISTRIBUTE COATS TO KIDS IN NEED


Photo by 70 West Sentinel

October 13, 2015 - 70 West Sentinel By: Tamara Duncan

WENTZVILLE, MO. - This past Saturday, Wentzville Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 2665 distributed 474 brand-new coats to children in need.

The event, which was held at the firehouse on West Pearce Boulevard in Wentzville, was funded through a trivia night that raised more than $15,000. The coats were purchased through Operation Warm and the Coats for Kids Foundation.

The firefighters worked with counselors in the Wentzville School District to identify children in need. Any children who were unable to attend the event will still receive their coats, as unclaimed coats will be taken to the school counselors for distribution, said Mary LaPak, district Director of Community Relations.

This is the third year for the event.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY- FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC

August 22, 2015 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Wentzville Fire Protection District is accepting applications for the purpose of creating a hiring pool for the Position of Firefighter/Paramedic. Attached are the requirements and the application packet. The completed application packet and requested documents must be received at the District's Administrative Office located at 209 West Pearce Blvd., Wentzville, MO 63385 on September 1, 2, or 3, 2015 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Equal Opportunity Employer.

For information on testing dates and sites for the CPAT, see the following link:
http://www.candidatephysicalabilitytest.com/find-a-cpat-testing-location/

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NEW FIRE BOARD DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT IN WENTZVILLE


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

August 21, 2015 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Last evening, Board Chair Jennifer Houston and member Robert Hawkins appointed Wentzville resident Frank Grassmuck (left in photo) to the vacancy on the Board of Directors. Frank is retired and has lived in Wentzville for over 10 years. Welcome Director Grassmuck!

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FIREFIGHTERS RESPOND TO TWO-ALARM BLAZE IN WENTZVILLE

KMOV.com

July 7, 2015 - KMOV

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Firefighters responded to a St. Charles County home after a two-alarm fire broke out Tuesday morning.

The blaze occurred at a home in the 1600 block of Lily Marie Lane in Wentzville around 3:45 a.m.

According to officials, all of the home's occupants were able to get out safely.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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FAWN RESCUED FROM STORM SEWER BY WENTZVILLE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT CREWS


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

June 17, 2015 - KTVI BY JOE MILLITZER

- Emergency personnel with the Wentzville Fire Protection District rescued a fawn out of a storm sewer after neighbors called about hearing cries coming from the drain early Wednesday morning.

The fire protection district serves Wentzville, O'Fallon, Lake St. Louis, Dardenne Prairie, Flint Hill, Josephville and St. Charles County. They posted these images to their Facebook page.

Lindsae White posted a message to thank Firefighters:

I just wanted to thank the wonderful guys who came out and rescued this baby fawn out of the sewer in my back yard!!!

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FOUR RESCUED FROM HIGH WATER IN WENTZVILLE


The Wentzville Fire Protection District received a call Saturday night for four people stranded by high water. (Photo: KSDK)

June 13, 2015 - KSDK-TV Bailey E Kinney, KSDK-TV

WENTZVILLE - The Wentzville Fire Protection District received a call Saturday night for four people stranded by high water in Indian Creek Park.

The four young adults were crossing a creek in unincorporated St. Charles County when heavy rains stranded them on an island. The incident took place around 7:00 p.m. Firefighters were able to rescue the four people and a dog from the island.

No one was injured.

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SAFETY TIPS FROM THE PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS OF EASTERN MISSOURI


Photo by St. Louis Fire Department

February 20, 2015 - KTVI BY ANTHONY KIEKOW

WENTZVILLE, MO. - Firefighters are often busy during the cold winter months. Assistant Chief John Schnider, with the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri, tells us how firefighters stay prepared and how you can stay safe.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS USE NEW RESCUE EQUIPMENT AFTER 3-CAR CRASH ON HIGHWAY T


Photo by West Sentinel

January 22, 2015 - West Sentinel By: TAMARA DUNCAN

WENTZVILLE - After training on the equipment just the day before, Wentzville firefighters used newly-purchased hydraulic rescue tools to extricate two victims in a car crash late Wednesday night on Highway T.

The tools has just arrived at the fire department late last week, Assistant Chief John Schneider said. The department posted pictures of the new tools and firefighters training with them on their Facebook page on Tuesday.

Then, on Wednesday night, a head-on crash on Highway T quickly proved the worth of the new equipment and training.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 18-year-old Brianna N. Kelley of Marthasville was southbound on T just south of Route N in a Ford Ranger and attempted to pass a Kenworth tractor trailer driven by Anthony A. Glass, 48, of Troy. The Ranger struck a Ford Focus driven by Kayla Thompson, 25, of O'Fallon. Thompson's car spun and then hit the trailer.

All three drivers were wearing safety belts. Glass was not injured, and two women are reported to be in serious but stable condition.

The new Hurst extrication tools had been recently purchased with money from capital improvement bonds that voters in fire district approved last August. The district was also able to build two new fire stations, add staff, purchase equipment, and provide training with the funds, Schneider said.

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PERSON, DOG DIE IN WENTZVILLE HOUSE FIRE

January 15, 2015 - KTVI

WENTZVILLE, MO. - One person is dead following a house fire late Thursday afternoon in Wentzville.

The fire occurred around 6:45 p.m. in the 1400 block of Plaza Place.

The Wentzville police and fire departments are investigating, along with the state fire marshal. The fire is not suspicious.

A dog also perished in the fire.

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VIDEO: TURKEY ATTACKS WENTZVILLE FIRE TRUCK

January 4, 2015 - KMOV

ST. LOUIS - Firefighters from the Wentzville Fire Protection District posted a video on Facebook of turkey who tried to chase down and peck a fire truck. Firefighters said the bird attempted to do so for nearly four hours.

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GROUP SUPPORTING PROPERTY TAX INCREASE WENTZVILLE ACCUSED OF MISLEADING VOTERS

October 29, 2014 - KMOV by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

WENTZVILLE, MO. - A News 4 viewer claims the union representing Wentzville firefighters is using incorrect information to persuade voters to support a property tax hike.

The viewer said the flyers claim insurance rates on homes will drop if voters support Proposition S. If passed, Proposition S would increase the annual tax on a home worth $200,000 by $95. The proposition is on the ballot because Wentzville voters previously approved a bond issue to build two new fire stations, but they also voted down a separate property tax increase to pay for the new stations' staff.

"I don't think the insurance is going to go down, it will go up just like everything else," said resident Charles Viehman.

A firefighters' union representative said the union cites a reliable source.

"We met with several different agents and several different agents said insurance rates will go down," said Dave Marlo with Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri.

Marlo said insurance rates will do down because the Insurance Services Office or ISO that does risk assessment for the insurance industry will improve the area's rating.

"We've done numerous studies on where these future stations need to go and if we can put a firehouse within five miles of your house your ISO rating is greatly impacted by it," Marlo said.Some supporters said lower insurance rates do not play into their decision to vote "yes" on the proposition.

"Personally I don't care if they do or not. I'd like them to go down but I still think what little increase it's going to be for each individual family is well worth it," said resident Gail Wolfe.The insurance industry said there many factors that determine rates.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE INSPECTOR NAMED PRESIDENT OF 'MABOI'


Photo by Wentzville Fire Protection District

September 16, 2014

WENTZVILLE - Congratulations to Wentzville Fire Protection District's Inspector Steve Mosher on his recent election to President of the Mo Association of Building Officials and Inspectors (MABOI). Steve has served on the MABOI Board for several years and will be sworn in this fall.

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LAWSUIT BY FORMER FIRE MARSHAL IN WENTZVILLE CLAIMS FIREFIGHTERS FORCED HIS OUSTER

July 28, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - The former fire marshal of the Wentzville Fire Protection District filed a federal suit Monday against the district and three board members, claiming he lost his job in part because of his disagreement with union firefighters over his backing of a board candidate in 2013.

In August, Joseph Heitkamp was placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave because of his "inability to perform the essential job function required of the fire marshal relative to investigation of fires," according to a letter from the district.

But in Heitkamp's suit, he claims his backing of James Peanick for an open seat on the district's board of directors made him a target of bullying by firefighters, and ultimately led to the loss of his job.

Current Fire Chief Mike Marlo referred questions to District Attorney Dan McLaughlin. McLaughlin, reached late Monday, said that the district had not been served with a copy of the suit.

"Even if we were, it's an ongoing personnel matter, so we wouldn't be able to respond," he said.

District firefighters are members of Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters; they backed Robert Manieri for the board position, donating in excess of $38,000 to his campaign, according to court documents.

"This was done to ensure that a majority of the district's board, which among other things approves the firefighters' compensation package (wages and benefits) would support and act in the interest of the union," the suit says.

In January 2013, after Peanick filed as a candidate, two firefighters - David Marlo and Jesse Hakenwerth - questioned Heitkamp about whether he had encouraged Peanick to run for the board, the suit alleges. Heitkamp and Peanick are longtime friends, said Heitkamp's attorney, Lynette M. Petruska.

Heitkamp complained on Jan. 9 to then-Chief Randy Bornhop about the harassment, the suit claims.

On March 6, 2013, Heitkamp made the following post to his personal Facebook account after it was announced that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay was leading challenger Lewis Reed, who had the backing of the firefighters' union: "Reed trying to use the race card and all of his union 'thug' buddies went down to defeat ... so sad!"

Afterward, union firefighters stepped up their harassment, the suit alleges. Later that month, Marlo and another firefighter, Bryan Notheis, paced in front of Heitkamp's office at the district, carrying a sledgehammer, the suit says. One or both of them began smashing objects with the sledgehammer outside Heitkamp's office. One or both of them discharged what sounded like a pistol blank or firecracker outside Heitkamp's door.

In addition, Heitkamp was falsely accused of several things, including bringing a gun to work in June 2012, Petruska said.

Heitkamp was placed on indefinite unpaid leave during a purge of top officials. Bornop resigned and later took a $125,000 buyout. Assistant Chief Robb Watkins was terminated, and Fire Inspector Chris Newbold was laid off.

At the time, the district said a drop in district revenue had been caused by changes in the Missouri Legislature that affected permit fees generated from single-family residential inspections. As a result, the district was restructuring the Fire Prevention Bureau.

After Bornhop left, the district hired Mike Marlo, the father of one of the firefighters who allegedly harassed Heitkamp, as chief. The district hired union secretary John Schneider as the assistant chief, the suit says.

Heitkamp's suit claims that firefighters tried to force him to retire at age 56, and when he refused, he was removed from every committee he served on with the district.

In addition, Heitkamp claims he was discriminated against because he was diagnosed in January 2012 with a mild case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The suit does not specify what damages he is seeking.

Since leaving the district, Heitkamp has been hired by the Monarch Fire Protection District as a fire inspector, where he earns about $48,000 less than his $97,352 salary with Wentzville.

Jane Cunningham, director at Monarch, said Heitkamp has been doing an excellent job for the district.

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FLAMES ENGULF LAKE ST. LOUIS APARTMENT COMPLEX CARPORT; 32 CARS DESTROYED

July 28, 2014 - KTVI

LAKE ST. LOUIS - Residents at an apartment complex in Lake St. Louis woke up to their cars on fire Monday morning. Shortly before 3 a.m. police say 32 cars at the Cedar Lake Apartments near I-64, were damaged and or destroyed after a massive carport fire. The first fire truck on the scene struck a first alarm which brought out roughly seven units including 21 firefighters.

The Wentzville Chief and Assistant Chief also responded to the scene.

No one was hurt and the adjacent apartment buildings were not damaged.

The state fire marshal has been called to investigate.

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WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS PUSHING 2 AUGUST BALLOT MEASURES

July 1, 2014 - KMOV

WENTZVILLE - Firefighters in Wentzville will be going door-to-door this week asking residents to vote for two propositions on the August ballot.

If passed, Prop I would increase property taxes by 25 cents to hire firefighters. Prop F is a $30 million bond issue created to build two new fire stations.

Firefighters with the Wentzville Fire Protection District say they will be canvassing to get the word out about why they need the money.

Officials say Wentzville itself grew more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2010. That has led to a seven-minute response time for firefighters, with the national average being about four minutes.

All funding for their campaigning is coming from an outside organization many of the firefighters contribute to.

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WENTZVILLE KIDS LEARN FIRE SAFETY

June 25, 2014 - KSDK

WENTZVILLE - Stop, drop and roll.

More than 30 kids learned the basics of fire protection in Monday's Wentzville Fire District Kid's Camp.

The 8 to 12 year old campers were there for six hours. They learned what to do when trapped in a burning building. They also practiced firefighter strategies, ranging from simulated rope rescues to hose stream demonstrations.

They also learned the importance of working as a team when it comes to putting out a fire, according to the fire district's assistant chief.

You can learn more about the kid's camp here: http://bit.ly/1iqYF1K.

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FORISTELL FIRE STATION GETS AROUND-THE-CLOCK STAFFING

May 30, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - The Wentzville Fire Protection District started constant staffing of its Foristell station this month.

Battalion Chief Michael Scott said Station No. 3 at 1146 Clinton Prinster Memorial Drive now has three firefighters on duty 24 hours a day, year-round. Previously, the fire station was staffed by two shifts of firefighters from 7 a.m. Monday until 7 p.m. Friday.

The district asked voters for a tax rate increase in 2008 to help staff the station full-time. At that time, the cost was estimated at $1 million. The tax increase failed.

Chief Randy Bornhop said the district's earlier plans called for four firefighters on duty at all times, which would have required 12 paid positions. Instead, he said, the district is staffing the station with nine firefighters, enough for three to be on duty at all times.

The estimated annual cost is $400,000 to $450,000 per year, Bornhop said.

Bornhop said the district tightened its budget without cutting services in order to staff the fire station. For example, he said, the district purchased its propane tanks so it could bid contracts to fill the tanks instead of having them filled only by the companies that owned them.

Scott said six paid firefiighters had been working at the Foristell station along with three unpaid firefighters who were called reserves.

The three reserves -- Eric Hakenewerth, Angel Rubio and Mike Szarwinski -- were hired as paid firefighters. Firefighter Chris Browder was promoted to captain after completing a written test and two interviews.

Bornhop said the district has 38 paid firefighters and 35 unpaid reserves.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT SEEKS TAX INCREASES FOR UPGRADES

May 27, 2014 - KMOV

WENTZVILLE - The Wentzville Fire Protection District is seeking a tax increase to make improvements to response times, buy new equipment, and improve training.

Officials told News 4 the area the district covers is growing. It currently covers 88 square miles. Wentzville grew by more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2010. Currently there are plans to build 14 new subdivisions.

Officials said the growth has lengthened the time between when someone calls 911 and when the emergency responder arrives. The district said the current average response time is seven minutes, but in some parts of the city the wait is twice as long. Authorities hope to cut the average response time to four to six minutes.

Taxpayers will be asked to vote in favor of a tax hike that would cost the homeowner of a $200,000 home an additional $95 per year; that money would cover personnel and training costs.

Voters are also being asked to support a bond issue that would raise property taxes by an average of $13 per year to pay for two new fire stations and new equipment. Wentzville has three firehouses and officials said a fire truck with a ladder does not fit into Firehouse 1.

Both the tax increase and bond issue will be voted on August 5. The tax hike requires a simple majority to pass, but the bond issue requires a 4/7 majority to pass.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT PUTS PROPERTY TAX HIKE, BOND ISSUE ON AUG. 5 BALLOT

May 23, 2014 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - The Wentzville Fire Protection District board wants voters to approve a $30-million bond issue and a property tax increase at the Aug. 5 primary.

The extra revenue would be used to build two new firehouses, add 24 firefighters to staff them, buy new equipment and improve training.

Assistant Chief John Schneider said the two propositions are needed to help the district deal with expected continued residential and commercial growth in the Wentzville area.

For example, he said, there are plans for 14 new subdivisions in the district's 88 square miles. "We have some pockets of our district that just have unacceptable response times," Schneider said.

He said the tax hike - 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation - would be in addition to the district's current 50-cent tax levy. That measure, called Proposition L, would require simple majority approval and cover items such as the personnel and training upgrades.

The bond issue, Proposition F, requires four-sevenths majority approval and would trigger an additional property tax increase of 2 to 3 cents per $100 assessed valuation, he said.

The district's pitch to voters follows a year of turmoil, which included the purge of the former chief and three other senior officers.

The leadership shift followed a financial audit that said the district could be out of money by the end of this year if changes weren't made.

Schneider said the two new fire stations financed by the bond issue would be in the district's north end near Flint Hill and south end near Highways Z and N but specific sites have yet to be chosen.

They would be in addition to the district's three current houses, two of which would eventually be replaced. The bond issue also would pay for three new pumper trucks, two new ladder trucks and other equipment.

Plans also call for the new firefighters to be hired to be cross-trained as paramedics. The goal, Schneider said, is to outfit all the district's fire trucks with advanced life support equipment.

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UPSET CHILD GETS NEW BIKE FROM FIREFIGHTERS

May 20, 2014 - KTVI

WENTZVILLE - A Wentzville child is happy Monday night after Wentzville firefighters buy him a new bike.

Earlier Monday afternoon, Wentzville firefighters were called to a scene where a child's leg was trapped in a bike. The only way firefighters could free the boy, was cut the bike's frame.

The little boy was very upset over losing his bike, but firefighters Captain Preis, firefighter Marquart, and firefighter Broeder saved the day by going to nearby store and bought the child a new bike.

Needless to say, the child and his mother were extremely happy when the firemen showed up with a new bike.

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CHIEF MARLO SELECTED AS ACADEMY CLASS HONOREE

March 28, 2014 -

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Congratulations to Wentzville Fire Chief Mike Marlo on being selected and honored as the 92nd St. Louis County Fire Academy Class honoree . Chief Marlo was chosen for his past accomplishments, achievements, and contributions to the fire and EMS service. He addressed the recruits as the keynote speaker at their graduation ceremony this week.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT HIRES NEW ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF

February 20, 2014 - Wentzville Fire Protection District

WENTZVILLE - The Wentzville Fire Protection District has announced the hiring of John Schneider as the Assistant Fire Chief for the District.

In their announcement they stated "Assistant Chief John Schneider is a motivated, personable fire service professional with a successful 18-year track record in both fire district operations and various other firefighters' leadership positions. He began his career with the City of Ferguson Fire Department in 1996 and joined the Metro North Fire District in 2002. He held several different positions with both agencies and was also the Political Director and Secretary/Treasurer of the Professional Firefighters of Eastern MO until December 2013.

His position with Wentzville Fire Protection District will include assuming the duties of the Fire Chief in his absence, assisting in preparing and administering the District budget, management of all employees (staff, firefighters, reserve), assisting with input during disciplinary action, terminations, promotions, and hiring of new employees. Educating and informing the public through community relations and speaking engagements, building relationships with local businesses, local and state elected officials, and attending civic community meetings will also fall under his responsibilities. The Assistant Fire Chief will respond to emergency situations, operate within the Incident Command System, develop policies and standard operating procedures for emergency and routine situations, solicit, negotiate, and manage contracts as they pertain to the business of the District. Additionally, he shall develop the long term plans and goals of the District and attend and conduct training, as necessary, to enhance the professional development of the members of the District.

Assistant Chief Schneider has two children, one son and one daughter and resides in the City of Wentzville."

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LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS ASSIST IN SNOW REMOVAL IN THEIR FREE TIME

February 6, 2014 - KMOV

WENTZVILLE - Clearing away all the snow the St. Louis area has been getting is no easy task. Firefighters in Wentzville are helping out those in need on their own time, in between shifts. News 4's Steve Harris caught up with some of the firefighters to find out why they choose to do this.

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SPARACINO-HAKENEWERTH WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT

August 26, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

Bill and Donna Sparacino of Dardenne Prairie announce the engagement of their daughter, Gina Sparacino, to Jesse Hakenewerth, son of Rick and Betty Hakenewerth of Wentzville.

The bride-to-be earned a bachelor's degree in finance at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a senior business analyst and community affairs liaison with Laclede Gas Co. Her fiance is a firefighter with the Wentzville Fire Protection District. The couple plans an Oct. 5, 2013, wedding

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PURGE AT WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT DUE IN PART TO FINANCES OFFICIALS SAY

August 21, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - A recent purge of four senior officers with the Wentzville Fire Protection District was partly in response to a budget deficit, according to the district board.

The personnel changes, which came last week, included the resignation of Chief Randy Bornhop, the termination of Assistant Chief Robb Watkins, the placement of Fire Marshal Joseph Heitkamp on indefinite unpaid leave and the layoff of Fire Inspector Chris Newbold.

The district decided to restructure the Fire Prevention Bureau after a special financial review showed the district had been operating under a deficit, according to a press release the board issued Wednesday. The release further stated the review showed the district has been "trending on" a deficit for several years.

Board Member Bob Mainieri declined to comment. Chairwoman Jennifer Houston, Board Member Bob Hawkins and district attorney Dan McLaughlin could not be reached for comment.

However, former longtime Board Member Mark Kaiser, who resigned because of the action taken against the senior officers, said he was baffled by the district's statement.

"At no time that I am aware of was the district in a position to have deficit spending," he said. "I will always defend the past administration of the department and the past board members for their fiduciary responsibilities to the customers of the district."

The release says the drop in revenue were partly due to changes by the Missouri Legislature in 2012 that affected permit revenue generated from single family residential inspections.

The restructuring of the Fire Prevention Bureau included the lay off of Newbold and the decision that the fire inspector vehicle will only be used during business hours, the release said.

As for the other personnel changes, the release called them difficult decisions and said they were made "in the best interest to the stability and future of this district and most importantly with the fiduciary responsibility that we hold to our taxpayers."

Kaiser called the handling of the personnel issues "outrageous at best."

"The only motivation I can see is they put their own personal agendas first without any regard for how it would affect the morale in the department or how it would affect, what was once, a positive image the customers, the taxpayers, had of the fire district in general," he said.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE CHIEF RESIGNS, 3 OTHER OFFICIALS ARE OUT

August 20, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - Three senior officers who were put on leave for three months are now out at the Wentzville Fire Protection District and a fourth has been laid off.

Last week, the district board approved sweeping changes that included:


- The resignation of Fire Chief Randy Bornhop.(photo)

- The termination of Assistant Chief Robb Watkins.

- The placement of Fire Marshal Joseph Heitkamp on indefinite unpaid leave.

- The lay off of Fire Inspector Chris Newbold.

The leadership of the fire district has been in limbo since May when Bornhop, Watkins and Heitkamp were first placed on paid administrative leave.

Board members have continued to decline to comment about the reason for the action.

However, longtime board member Mark Kaiser resigned his seat in May because of what he said was an attempt to change the district's power structure.

Fire district attorney Dan McLaughlin said in an email Tuesday that Bornhop's resignation included a settlement agreement, but he has yet to release the details.

The district has an ad on its web site for the position of fire chief and is accepting applications through Aug. 30.

Bornhop earned $108,553; Watkins $98,390; and Heitkamp $97,352. Newbold's salary was unavailable.

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APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE POSITION OF FIRE CHIEF

August 19, 2013 - wentzville.org

WENTZVILLE - Applications for the position of Fire Chief will be accepted August 14, 2013 until August 30, 2013. Resumes will be accepted between the hours of 9am and 4pm at the Law Office of Spector, Wolfe, & McLaughlin, located at 117 West Woodbine Avenue, Kirkwood, MO 63122.

Salary will be based on qualifications.

Minimum Qualifications
Missouri Firefighter I & II

Job Responsibilities:
1) Direct and manage the overall administration and operation of the District.
2) Overall management of the fixed assets of the District, including buildings, equipment and apparatus.
3) Maintain positive community relations and provide a safe environment for the community through fire prevention, code enforcement, education, suppression, investigation, rescue, EMS and mitigation of hazardous materials incidents.
4) Represent District at various functions and in various organizations.
5) Responsible for management of all employees (staff, firefighters, reserve). Final input to disciplinary action, terminations, promotions, hiring etc. Counsel ?employees as needed.
6) Educate and inform the public through community relations and speaking engagements.
7) Respond to emergency situations and function within the Incident Command System.
8) Develop policies and standard operating procedures for emergency and routine situations.
9) Attend and conduct training as necessary to enhance the professional development of all members of the District.
10) At times may be exposed to various elements of nature and hostile environments, either manmade or natural.
11) Maintain a working knowledge of the District's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
12) Responsible for all equipment issued to them by the District.
13) Responsible to always present a professional appearance and attitude when representing the District.
14) Other duties as assigned.

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WENTZVILLE FIRE BOARD MEMBER QUITS AFTER 3 ARE PUT ON PAID LEAVE

May 17, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - Board member Mark Kaiser has resigned from the Wentzville Fire Protection District following two meetings where three senior officers were placed on paid administrative leave.

Kaiser resigned during a closed session Monday. The board had just voted 2-1 -- with Kaiser being the sole opposition -- to placing Fire Chief Randy Bornhop and Assistant Fire Chief Robb Watkins on paid administrative leave.

At a meeting May 9, the board had voted unanimously to put Fire Marshal Joseph Heitkamp on paid administrative leave.

The district has declined to comment further about the changes.

But Kaiser said Friday that he believes that actions against Bornhop and Watkins were an attempt to change the district's power structure.

"This is a carefully or carelessly, I guess, orchestrated attempt to change the administration in the fire district, and whether they wanted me out or not I don't know, but I think there are some shenanigans going on," he said.

Kaiser said that the other two board members -- Jennifer Houston and Robert Manieri -- were both backed by the firefighters union, and he believes a few firefighters put pressure on Houston and Manieri to make the moves.

Nether Houston nor Manieri could be reached for comment.

Kaiser said he couldn't discuss the specifics about why Bornhop and Watkins had been placed on leave, but in general, it had to do with their alleged lack of leadership ability, something Kaiser said had no substance.

"I strongly believe that Randy Bornhop and Assistant Chief Watkins have done a fantastic job for this fire district," he said.

Kaiser, who has been on the board since 1998, said he resigned because he didn't feel like he could be an effective board member.

"It's a three-member board, and two of them have completely opposite ideas that what I have," he said. "My vote's always going to be a wash."

He said some might see his resignation as the easy way out, but he felt it was the right thing to do.

"I didn't want to continue to stress over this, and I didn't want to get involved in a political nightmare," he said.

Before serving on the board, Kaiser had served as a volunteer firefighter for 22 years.

Fire district attorney Dan McLaughlin said in an email that Kaiser's resignation will be publicly announced at Wednesday's scheduled meeting, which will be at 3 p.m. at the Foristell fire station, 1146 Clinton Prinster Memorial Drive.

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FIRE MARSHAL ALSO ON PAID LEAVE AT WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT

May 15, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - Fire Marshal Joseph Heitkamp was placed on paid administrative leave at a special session of the Wentzville fire board, the Post-Dispatch learned Wednesday.

Heitkamp was placed on paid leave at the meeting on Monday and Chief Randy Bornhop (Photo right) and Assistant Chief Robb Watkins were placed on paid leave at a meeting Thursday.

The motion about Heitkamp's job was approved unanimously. The motions regarding Bornhop and Watkins were passed 2-1 with board members Jennifer Houston and Robert Mainieri voting in favor of the move and Mark Kaiser voting against it.

The district has declined to comment about the changes. Attorney Dan McLaughlin said they were on-going personnel matters.

The actions regarding the officers were obtained through a Sunshine Law request.

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TOP CHIEFS PUT ON PAID LEAVE AT WENTZVILLE FIRE DISTRICT

May 14, 2013 - St. Louis Post Dispatch

WENTZVILLE - Board members approved a major shakeup in the administration of the Wentzville Fire Protection District at a special session Monday.

Chief Randy Bornhop (photo right) and Assistant Chief Robb Watkins were both placed on paid administrative leave, according to Acting Chief Mike Scott.

Scott declined to comment further. He referred all other questions to the fire district's attorney, Dan McLaughlin, who could not be reached immediately for comment.

Bornhop has been chief since August 2002. He started his career with the district as a volunteer firefighter in 1986 and was one of six members hired in 1991 when the district hired its first paid firefighters, according to the district web site.

Watkins has been assistant chief since November 2011. He previously worked for 17 years with the St. Charles Fire Department.

Bornhop, Watkins could not be reached for comment.

The Wentzville Fire Protection District has a staff of 75 employees and protects a population of 60,500. The annual budget is $8.3 million and personnel run more than 3,500 calls for service annually.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Fire Marshal Joseph F. Heitkamp was terminated.

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IN FIGHT FOR WENTZVILLE FIRE BOARD SEAT, MAINIERI GAINS $38K FROM FIREFIGHTERS

March 29, 2013 - Wentzville Patch

WENTZVILLE - Documents show that Robert J. Mainieri, Jr's campaign committee has outraised opponent Jim Peanick, Jr's by nearly $40,000.

In the race to become a director on Wentzville Fire Protection District's board, one candidate clearly has the support of firefighters from Wentzville and elsewhere.

That's according to campaign finance reports filed with St. Charles County Election Authority and Missouri Ethics Commission. Documents show that Robert J. Mainieri, Jr's campaign committee has outraised opponent Jim Peanick, Jr's by nearly $40,000. Both are vying for a vacant seat on the board.

Mainieri's committee is being funded primarily by donations from firefighters in the district, which covers parts all or parts of Lake Saint Louis, O'Fallon and Wentzville, among other areas in west St. Charles County.

All told, Wentzville Professional Firefighters donated $38,600 to Mainieri's committee this election season, according to documents.

That's in addition to donations from IAFF Firefighters and Paramedics of St. Charles and Lincoln County ($500); Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665 ($325); Citizens for Steve Stenger ($250); North County Firefighters PAC ($100); and smaller donations from at least 13 other firefighters or EMTs who work in Wentzville, Maryland Heights or Lake Saint Louis.

In comparison, Peanick's committee raised $2,535 in total. Major contributors include St. Charles County Association of Realtors ($500); Carpenters Help in the Political Process PAC ($250); Matt Bross ($250); Bill Luetkenhaus ($250); and Peanick Investment Company ($400).

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AT IT AGAIN: WENTZVILLE FIREFIGHTERS SHOVEL SNOW FOR THOSE IN NEED

March 26, 2013 - Wentzville Patch

WENTZVILLE - Wentzville firefighters didn't fight a blaze Monday morning. They fought snow for neighbors who were elderly or who had mobility problems.

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