The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Edgebrook Fire Station to Keep Ambulance After Alderman Objects to Move

  Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) said the move would put the safety of Edgebrook residents in "grave danger."
Edgebrook Ambulance
View Full Caption

EDGEBROOK — An ambulance that Chicago Fire Department officials had considered moving from the Edgebrook fire station will remain after Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) objected.

Had the ambulance been moved as part of a citywide effort to ensure ambulance services are distributed equally throughout the city, the safety of residents of Edgebrook and Sauganash would be put in "grave danger," according to a letter O'Connor sent to Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Wednesday the ambulance would remain at the Edgebrook station to ensure the department kept "response times as short as possible."

Heather Cherone says the alderman's influence was the key factor in Edgebrook keeping its ambulance:

Engine 79, at 6424 N. Lehigh Ave., is directly across the street from Metra's Milwaukee District North Line tracks, which run at street level in the area and bisect one of the busiest intersections on the Far Northwest Side at Central and Devon avenues, O'Connor said.

That intersection is prone to backups because of passing trains, and the traffic control signals in that area have experienced regular service interruptions that are being investigated by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Office of Emergency Management and Commission, O'Connor said.

"Taken together, these concerns have the opportunity to greatly hinder another station's [ambulance] from servicing this community in the event of an emergency," O'Connor wrote.

In addition, this area of the city is home to a large population of elderly Chicagoans, O'Connor said.

"Transport time is critical when it comes to a wide range of medical emergencies, and the risk of having to wait for an ambulance from another part of the city given the factors I've listed ... is something I find unacceptable," O'Connor wrote.

In a letter sent to residents Tuesday, O'Connor praised Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) and state Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) for helping her persuade the Fire Department that the ambulance, which she called a "vital resource," should not be moved.

O'Connor thanked Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Santiago for resolving the issue, which she said prompted many residents to contact her office to object to the move.

The Fire Department study was prompted by the decision to upgrade the lifesaving equipment on all city ambulances from basic to advanced as part of the recently approved contract with the firefighters union, Langford said.

The ambulance now stationed at Engine 79 in Edgebrook is one of those set to be upgraded, O'Connor said.

Officials studied the number of runs each ambulance made, where it traveled, what kind of emergency it was and to what hospital it transported the patients, Langford said.

The goal is to keep the city "balanced" with the introduction of additional ambulance resources, which will add paramedics, Langford said.

O'Connor has frequently said the 41st Ward, which includes Edgebrook, Edison Park, Norwood Park and O'Hare, does not receive its fair share of city services.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: