Willis Passes Legislation out of House to Protect First Responders

05/04/2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Firefighters and emergency medical service personnel face dangerous situations every day in their line of duty, but legislation passed out of the House last week by state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, would encourage property owners to ensure their buildings are safe for first responders in case of an emergency.

“When a property owner creates a dangerous condition in a building or allows code violations to go unresolved, this is not just irresponsible – it’s potentially life-threatening to first responders should a fire or medical emergency occur,” Willis said. “Anyone who tries to cover up dangerous structural issues rather than fix them must face the consequences if their actions result in the death or injury of a first responder.”

House Bill 531, the Daniel Capuano Memorial Act, was created in reaction to the tragic death firefighter Dan Capuano as he was responding to a fire in a vacant Chicago warehouse. The owners of the building failed to install adequate protections in the structure while renovations were occurring. This oversight ultimately resulted in Capuano falling two stories through an open elevator shaft. Under Willis’ legislation, this action would result in a Class Four felony charge.

“First responders and their loved ones know that life-threatening situations can occur at any time– as the wife of a retired firefighter, I remember this anxiety,” Willis said. “We must be doing everything in our power to ensure these brave men and women can come home to families at the end of the day.”

For more information, please contact Willis’ constituent service office at (708) 562-6970 or email RepWillis77@gmail.com.