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Illinois firefighters give up after arsonist is suddenly named chief

Sebastian Hughes

Ten fireman The Washington Post has resigned from the Illinois fire department after a man convicted of arson was named acting director, the Washington Post reported.

Jerame Simmons, assistant fire department chief, replaced John Rosenkranz as superintendent on Monday without explanation, The Post report. The department’s governing board said “a change in leadership of the Fire Department is needed” in a statement following Monday’s meeting.

Simmons pleaded guilty to arson in 1999 after laying bare bricks in the basement of his high school and an abandoned house on fire, the Post reported. He was 18 years old at the time and was sentenced to 4 years of probation, though Democratic Illinois Governor JB Pritzker later pardoned him, Fox 2 report.

Eight of the volunteers who quit their jobs sent a letter to the board saying it would leave its position “with regret and grief.” There are a total of 13 firefighters at the department, the Post reported.

“The town misses the school being built on fire, the town remembers the house burned down [where] we let the firefighters fall and get injured,” Laura Rosenkranz, the division’s captain and wife of the former sheriff, told the Post. She also submitted her resignation.

The mayor of the town in which Simmons grew up was his father at the time of his sentencing, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in 1999, according to The Post. The former mayor is now the director of the county’s emergency management agency.

“These people feel like they have absolutely no other choice,” the former executive told the Post. He said the board held an “extraordinary” meeting in August, where Simmons was appointed as assistant department head.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m the chief or not,” he said. “It’s about… making sure everything is taken care of.”

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https://www.tampafp.com/the-town-remembers-illinois-firefighters-quit-after-arsonist-suddenly-named-chief/ Illinois firefighters give up after arsonist is suddenly named chief

DUSTIN JONES

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