What They Learned About The New Fire Chief Got The Whole Department To Quit At Once…


A convicted arsonist has been named the acting fire chief in a small Illinois, and since the appointment, 10 out of 13 members of the fire department have quit.

The fire district board in East Carondelet removed John Rosencranz as Chief of of the Prairie Du Pont Volunteer Fire Department and replaced him with Assistant Chief Jerame Simmons. Both men were seated at the table when the change was made.

Board members said they had good reasons for making the change but they have not made those reasons public. That wasn’t good enough reasoning for most of the department’s firefighters. Ten of the department’s 13 firefighters quit on the spot.

Simmons pled guilty to arson in 1999 after setting fire to ceiling tiles in his high school basement and an abandoned home when he was 18 years old. He was given a four-year probationary term. Simmons was eventually pardoned by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. Rosenkranz told the station, “The town remembers the school being set on fire, the town remembers the house set on fire [where] we had firefighters fall and be injured,” according to FOX 2.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch stated in 1999 that Simmons’ father, Herb Simmons, was mayor of East Carondelet in St Clair County at the time of his son’s imprisonment. Herb Simmons is currently the county’s emergency management agency’s director.

Eight of them wrote a letter to the board on Monday, stating that they were quitting their jobs “with regret and sorrow”. The decision was described as “appalling and disgusting” by former head Rosenkranz.

As a result of the numerous resignations, he does not feel the town will have appropriate fire protection. He had not expected the replacement choice to be made so close to the holidays. Rosenkranz said that he was not provided with a reason for his dismissal. Nearby fire chiefs have stated that their departments will assist in filling any coverage gaps caused by the resignations.

Ousted fire chief John Rosencranz

“These people feel like they have absolutely no other option,” said ousted fire chief John Rosencranz (above) of the departed firefighters.

More details of this story from ‘AWM’ report:

Rosenkranz knew he was getting ousted back in August when the town boards held an unusual meeting. During that meeting, they announced that they wanted to promote Simmons, the son of the long-time director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Herb Simmons, to the acting assistant fire chief.

Although Rosenkranz works as a teamster and spends about 40 hours per week in the fire station, he was never notified by the board that they were planning a coup to remove him from power. Because the fire department is a volunteer, Rosenkranz believes the small Illinois community is in grave danger now that a convicted and confessed arsonist is in charge of the department.

“It’s not important that I’m the chief or not the chief,” Rosenkranz said. “It’s about … making sure everything’s taken care of.”

Locals were furious with their town board for ousting Rosenkranz and installing the arsonist.

“All of our houses could burn down!” one woman shouted after ten firefighters quit.

A self-proclaimed retired firefighter told the board, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Simmons was charged with starting two fires. The first was in a vacant home, and the second was at Dupo High School in 1999. Because his father was mayor of East Carondelet in Saint Clair County at the time of the arson, it is possible Simmons got off easy.

Simmons was recently pardoned for his arson by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

“It’s a pardon. Still, the town remembers the school being set on fire,” said former fire captain Laura Rosencranz, wife of the former chief. “The town remembers the house set on fire where we had firefighters fall and be injured.”

Watch the video report here: FOX2/Youtube

Sources: AWM, FOX 2

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