Author Archives: 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.

Family Seeks LODD Status for 1935 FDNY Death

The family a New York City firefighter who died after a fire in 1935, is seeking to reopen the department’s decision to treat the death as not in-the-line-of-duty. Firefighter Thomas O'Brien passed away in October 1935 at Engine 3’s quarters on West 17th Street hours after he returned from a two-alarm fire

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Counting Vacation and Sick Time As Hours Worked

Today’s burning question: If a collective bargaining agreement requires a fire department to count vacation time and sick time as hours worked for overtime purposes, do these hours have to count toward hours worked for FLSA overtime purposes? Answer: No. The Fair Labor Standards Act only requires ...

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Cleveland Firefighter Accuses FD of Reverse Discrimination

A Cleveland firefighter who claims he was forced to resign after his complaints about a hostile work environment were mishandled, has filed suit claiming the department leadership discriminated against him because he is white. Samuel Livingston claims he was threatened and assaulted while on duty by a colleague who is described in the complaint as “non-Caucasian”.

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What Should A Salary Be Divided By To Determine Hourly Rate

Today’s burning question: Our city calculates our hourly pay by dividing our salary by 56 hours, not 53 hours. In other words, our hourly rate for overtime purposes is calculated by dividing the weekly salary by 56 hours. Shouldn’t they use 53 hours since the FLSA states that is the maximum allowable number of hours per week for firefighters?

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Shreveport Fire Chief Settles Wrongful Termination Appeal

A painful chapter in the Shreveport Fire Department has finally come to a close with the announcement of a settlement in the wrongful termination appeal of former Fire Chief Craig Mulford. You may recalled in 2014, five Shreveport firefighters were charged criminally with abusing mentally challenged men who frequented their firehouse.

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Texas Responders Sue Chemical Plant

Seven first responders to the disastrous chemical fire in Crosby. Texas last month have filed suit against the chemical company and three of its top managers seeking damages in excess of one million dollars in damages. The explosions and fire occurred after Hurricane Harvey struck the region.

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Florida Firefighter Accused of Running Fundraising Scam

A Tallahassee firefighter and his wife, a Tallahassee police officer, have been charged in connection with the theft of proceeds from a fundraiser they ran last year. Joseph “Mike” Amison and Jennifer Amison are facing charges of organizing a scheme to defraud, failure to apply contributions in a manner substantially consistent with the solicitation, and two counts of grand theft.

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Part-Time Firefighters and the 207k Exemption

Today’s burning question: Our fire department recently hired its first full-time firefighters to supplement our volunteers and part-time personnel. Historically we paid our part-time personnel overtime after 40 hours a week. Our new full-time personnel have been designated as being subject to the 207(k) partial exemption...

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