Hartford Lieutenant Fired For Comp Abuse

A Hartford fire lieutenant who was at the center of an investigation and lawsuit into the line of duty death of Firefighter Kevin Bell at a house fire in 2014, has been terminated for workers compensation abuse.

Lieutenant John Moree was the officer in command on Engine 16 on October 7, 2014, the unit to which FF Bell was assigned. Both entered the Blue Hills Avenue building together but as the fire intensified, Lt. Moree evacuated while Bell did not. Bell died of asphyxiation, and his family sued accusing the city and Lt. Moree of abandoning him. The suit was settled last year for $350,000.

In a rather strange turn of events, the toxicology report from Bell’s autopsy surfaced publically for the first time last month indicating he had alcohol and drugs in his system. It is unclear whether the results were known to the parties at the time of settlement, but they were not a matter of public record and were not available to LODD investigators.

In a statement released today, Hartford Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said;

“Today, I terminated the employment of a Hartford firefighter after an internal investigation found clear evidence of worker’s compensation abuse. The Hartford Fire Department and the City of Hartford will not tolerate fraud or abuse of programs that exist to protect employees. Anyone who abuses the worker’s compensation system diminishes the great work and dedication demonstrated by the vast majority of employees and firefighters on a daily basis.”

The Hartford Courant is reporting that Moree was captured on video loading building materials at a home improvement store. More on the story.

WFSB 3 Connecticut

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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