Kankakee fire

Firefighters from the City of Kankakee scramble to get water on a fully involved house fire at 458 West Bourbonnais back in January. A woman and two children barely escaped the flames according to neighbors.

Kankakee is getting professional help to find its next fire chief.

At a cost outlined not to exceed $19,500, the Kankakee City Council hired the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association to search for a new fire chief at Tuesday's council meeting. The council approved the contract by an 11-0 vote. Ald. Chasity Wells-Armstrong abstained from the vote.

The fire department has been under the direction of acting Chief Phil Perkins since the retirement of Chief Ron Young at the end of November.

Mayor Nina Epstein said according to the timeline eyed by the association, advertising for the position would begin immediately.

If all goes as planned, Epstein said the new chief could be hired as early as June 1.

Asked how the city would be paying for the association's help, Epstein said the money would come out of the fire department's budget.

The mayor also was asked if any local people would be considered for the position. She replied that anyone with the necessary education and experience could submit a resume.

Young was the city's third-longest serving fire chief before his retirement. He served 12 years as chief. He had been with the department since February 1984.