Chief Feels the Heat for Catching Zs

Firefighter doesn't lose any sleep over 4 a.m. emergency

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    A battalion chief was slapped with a suspension for sleeping through a fire alarm.

    A battalion chief on the South Side has come under fire for sleeping a bit too soundly.

    A fire bomb at a home in the 8900 block of South University prompted fire alarms to go off at Engine Company No. 72 (7982 S South Chicago Ave) in June. When the 23rd battalion showed up to extinguish the 4 a.m. fire, Chief DeKalb Walcott was nowhere to be seen.

    "The battalion chief rides by himself -- not on the fire engine," a source told the Sun-Times. "He gets himself to the fire. Everybody else goes on the apparatus. He didn't get to the fire."

    So just where was our brave hero?

    Back at the station, catching some Zs.

    Fortunately, the absence of the idle idol didn't affect the emergency situation. No one was injured, and it was not an extra-alarm fire.

    But that's not to say there wasn't still a bit of confusion. When lives are at risk, not a second can be wasted trying to track down a fire chief.

    Following protocol, Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford did not identify Walcott as the oversleeping offender.

    "The discipline process was followed and the member was suspended for an appropriate period," said Langford. "The process involves a look at the charges, any mitigating circumstances, overall record and impact of the alleged offense. Also, the process is cumulative."

    Walcott was hit with a 15-day suspension but could not be reached for comment.

    Perhaps he was taking another nap.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, has a fire in his belly... along with too many doughnuts.