Once-Convicted Arsonist Named Acting Fire Chief In Illinois

Building is On Fire. Fireman is Going Upstairs. Open Flames are Seen on Stairs.

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Some are calling it an “appalling and disgusting” move to declare a once-convicted arsonist the acting fire chief of an Illinois fire department.

It happened at the Prairie Du Pont Volunteer Fire Department in St. Clair County, Illinois. The fire district board reportedly removed Chief John Rosencrantz, and named Assistant Chief Jerame Simmons the acting chief. St. Louis, Missouri-based Fox 2 Now reports that 10 of the 13 firefighters — more than 75 % — resigned at the board meeting. Simmons was 18 years old when he apparently set fire to a vacant home and a high school. Simmons pleaded guilty, served probation and Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned him.

Still, many in town still don't want him acting as fire chief: “I think it’s appalling and disgusting,” Rosencranz told Fox 2 Now. “We’re not going to have the adequate protection here. It’s not going to be as it should be here. I’m kind of blindsided but not. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be a couple of days before Christmas.” One of the now-former firefighters also told the station on Monday (December 20): “It’s inexcusable what this district has done today to these two people and to everybody that’s sitting here that’s a part of this fire department.”

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