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.

Twenty Illinois Fire Departments Sued for Wrongful Death

The family of a man who died in a fire last year has filed suit against twenty Illinois fire departments and two chief officers claiming they failed to effect his rescue. Aric Evan Tashjian McClure died on August 4, 2017 in a fire that trapped him in a second floor apartment.

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Oregon Chief Awarded $500k for Wrongful Termination

An Oregon fire chief who was terminated in 2013 after refusing to unilaterally reduce staffing was awarded $500,000 in damages last week. Fire Chief James Wenzel brought the lawsuit claiming that Klamath County Fire District No. 1 breached his employment contract and retaliated against him.

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Fatal Fire Prompts Suit Against Illinois Fire Department

A volunteer fire department in Illinois is being sued over a fatal fire where firefighters were allegedly slow to respond and the department did not request mutual aid from a career fire department that was actually closer to the scene. The Village of Bartonsville is being sued by the estate of a four-year-old child who died in a house fire on July 17, 2018.

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Fine Against Washington Fire Department For Understaffing Upheld

An OSHA fine against a Washington state fire department for understaffing has been upheld by the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. The Camas-Washougal Fire Department was cited for violating OSHA’s two-in two-out requirement at a house fire last March. The first arriving engine was staffed with two firefighters.

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Dayton Sues Foam Manufacturers Over AFFF Related Contamination

The City of Dayton is the latest community to file suit against the nation’s largest firefighting foam manufacturers, blaming them for the contamination of the area surrounding Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The contamination is due to two toxic byproducts of AFFF, namely perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid.

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US Supreme Court Considering Fire Service Case

In my world it is a special day when a fire service case reaches the US Supreme Court. Yesterday, oral arguments were heard in Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, an age discrimination case out of Arizona. John Guido and Dennis Rankin were full-time captains, and the two oldest full-time employees at the Fire District when they were terminated in 2009

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Ohio Chief Sues Bosses for $1 Million

An Ohio fire chief has filed a $1 million suit against his employer and his bosses alleging breach of contract, age discrimination and disability discrimination. Bucyrus Fire Chief Jay W. Keller filed suit last week naming the City of Bucyrus, Mayor Jeffrey Reser, and Safety-Service Director Jeffrey Wagner as defendants.

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Arizona Fire District Sued Over Sexual Assault Allegations

Allegations of sexual assault and a hostile work environment have been swirling for over a year in the Rio Rico Medical & Fire District, but this week two former firefighters filed suit against the district, a former fire chief and his wife, and a current captain and his wife.

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FDNY Hearing Loss Case Reinstated

One hundred and fifty FDNY firefighters who filed suit in Pennsylvania against American LaFrance and Federal Signal Corporation, got good news yesterday as the Pennsylvania Superior Court reinstated their hearing loss claims. The firefighters were grouped into seven separate cohorts that filed separate lawsuits in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in 2015.

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Michigan Firefighter Facing Evidence Tampering Charge

A Michigan firefighter is facing criminal charges for picking up and allegedly removing a prescription pill bottle from the scene of a fatal motorcycle accident. Harrison Township firefighter Steven Hart has been charged with one felony count of tampering with evidence.

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Texas Firefighter-Soldier Claims City Fired Him Over Wage Claim

A Texas firefighter who was terminated after complaining about the way his fire department was calculating his hours and compensation while on Army reserve duty has filed suit alleging retaliation under both the USERRA and the FLSA. Bradley R. Casey was a captain with the Horseshoe Bay Fire Department.

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