Snapschat From Fatal Fire Scene Prompts Media Request

A Polk County, Florida fire captain is facing tough questions about his actions at the scene of a fatal house fire last November. Loretta Pickard, 77, died in the fire on November 23, 2018. She was on the phone with dispatchers for approximately 20 minutes, including at the time she became unconscious.

Polk County Fire Rescue Captain James Williams was suspended for sending a Snapchat video from the scene. It is unclear whether the Snapchat was sent during the time Pickard was fighting for her life, or later in the incident. He was the IC at the scene.

WFLA Channel 8 is reporting they have filed a public records request for Captain’s William’s video. Given how Snapchat works, one would think the chances are slim that the recording would still be available. However, it appears the video has been retained.

Dave Statter has more on the breaking story.

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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