Maywood Fire Chief In Favor Of Residency Requirements; A Fire Station In North Maywood Would Be Nice, Too

Screenshot 2014-07-18 at 8.49.25 PM(Chief Bronaugh meets with NOMCO in Loretta Brown’s backyard. Photo by Michael Romain for the Village Free Press).

Friday, July 18, 2014 || By Michael Romain 

Fire Chief Bronaugh believes that increased community cohesion may come with reinstating residency requirements

MAYWOOD–At a monthly meeting of Neighbors of Maywood Community Organization (NOMCO), Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh spoke on a range of topics and fielded attendees’ questions. The meeting took place in the picturesque backyard of NOMCO member Loretta Brown.

Bronaugh divulged some personal history before moving onto more pressing matters. He was born in Chicago, at what was then called Stroger Hospital to be exact. He attended Garfield Elementary and Proviso East High School in Maywood. He wasn’t necessarily destined to become a firefighter. One of his first jobs was at a Little Caesars making pizzas. He worked on Saturdays from 3 PM to 2 AM, flipping dough while other kids his age were out creating fun. He did it for five years. The experience formed such an impression on him that to this day he cherishes his weekends off.

After pizza, he moved on to flipping patients in critical condition as an emergency tech for Capital Ambulance on the South Side. In 1994, he was hired by the Maywood Fire Department. He spent ten years riding ambulances before he was promoted to the riding the department’s big ladder trucks. On his way to captain, he became the department training officer. In 2010 or 2011, he said, he was promoted to captain of ship one before fully taking over soon afterward. Throughout his career evolution, though, Chief Bronaugh, a longtime Maywood resident, has been firmly planted in the community.

That’s something he wants to see more often with future firefighters. “We’ve got able-bodied people right here in Maywood who can be just as valuable and effective,” Bronaugh said. He believes that since the department’s residency rule has been lifted, there’s been less cohesion between the members of the department and the community they serve.

“I think it would be nice if our department were more community-oriented. We’re hoping to get back to that. At the very least, [future] members should be living in Proviso Township,” he said.

But the Chief noted that he understands and empathizes with members of his department who don’t live in Maywood, or the surrounding suburbs. He said that a major reason why many Village workers fled to greener pastures in the first place was the deteriorating condition of the schools in the area. However, he also noted that the deteriorating social conditions will only improve with more professionals moving into Maywood and pouring economic life into its tax base–which is why he supports gradually reinstating the residency requirement.

He said that more fire department members who live in Maywood would also translate into faster and more efficient emergency response. Referencing the increasingly chaotic weather events that have affected most of the country, in addition to possible disaster scenarios, he said that if members lived in the community, they would be within proximity to lend an immediate hand.

That theory was tested one day during a picnic his department had thrown in town. While he and his men were enjoying themselves, a fire broke out in a nearby apartment. A young woman had set a couch on fire and the blaze had spread throughout the building. While no one was injured, the fire proved to be a difficult lesson.

“The good thing about that day was that [we were all in town] and at the scene in minutes,” the Chief said. “With everyone living so spread out, we don’t have that same response.”

Bronaugh also addressed some NOMCO members’ concern about the fact that there is no fire station north of Lake Street.

“River Forest is our insurance,” he said, noting that fire trucks have been held up by passing freight trains numerous times.

In fact, some residents in north Maywood may be closer to River Forest’s station than to the one on St. Charles, he said. Nonetheless, he expressed support for a fire station being built north of Lake Street to mitigate that problem–even though it may be a very distant prospect. VFP

NOMCO regularly hosts extremely informative guest speakers at it’s monthly meetings, which are held every second Thursday of each month and are always FREE and open to the public. To request more information on the organization, please send any inquiries to nomco2u@gmail.com. 

Screenshot 2014-07-18 at 8.45.11 PM

One thought on “Maywood Fire Chief In Favor Of Residency Requirements; A Fire Station In North Maywood Would Be Nice, Too

  1. Maywood Fire Chief, Craig Bronaugh, sent out a memo to all members of the Fire Department. The memo stated:

    “Date: September 4, 2014
    To: All Personnel
    From: Office of the Fire Chief
    Re: Decals/Lockers/Helmets

    Under no circumstances at anytime are there to be decals/stickers on Fire Department lockers or helmets. Any decals/stickers are to be removed immediately. No inquiry will be entertained regarding this matter.

    TO BE READ AT ALL ROLL CALLS THRU SEPTEMBER 10, 2014”

    This was in response to an inquiry regarding an American Flag being put up in the fire station (replacing a torn and tattered flag that previously existed). That flag was stolen on the very next shift day. Firefighters were upset that the flag was stolen and in response placed American Flag decals on their personal lockers in the stations.

    This is not the first time that a flag incident has occurred in the Maywood Fire Department. Approximately 10 years ago, all American Flag decals were removed from all of the department vehicles and all physical flags were removed from the back of the engines. These were removed by, then, Lieutenant Scott (he has since been promoted to Captain). He is also the one that recently took the flag down from the station and has not yet returned the flag to its owner.

    An example of the decals that have been ordered to be removed are the American Flag, and ones that commemorate the FDNY 343 that passed on 9/11.

    If you would like to contact the Chief or any Officer of the Maywood Fire Department regarding this issue, the phone number is 708-343-5595

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