Illinois Firefighter Sues Fellow Firefighter for Injuries

An Illinois firefighter injured during a controlled burn has filed a negligence suit against a fellow firefighter and his fire department.

William J. Wirtel was injured on January 29, 2011 during a controlled burn in the Village of Washington Park when a pumper driven by Odell Smith drove away while still connected to a hydrant. Wirtel was struck by the hose.

The complaint alleges: “As a direct result of defendant, Odell Smith’s, operation of The Fire Engine, the hose line became taut and disconnected from the hydrant” and “As a direct result of defendant, Odell Smith’s, operation of The Fire Engine, the hose line struck plaintiff William J. Wirtel.”

The suit was filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court and also names the Washington Park Volunteer Fire Department. Wirtel claims his medical bills alone exceed $200,000, and is seeking an award “in excess of $100,000”.

More on the 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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