My Girlfriend Is On Fire and More

Four cases top the fire law news today, one worse than next. Three involve EMS personnel, two involve criminal activity, one is international, one involves digital imagery and one involves a dispatcher.

In Tennessee, the former EMS director of Bledsoe County has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 34 counts of forgery and drug related charges. Former Emergency Medical Service Director Larry Billingsley is facing 17 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and 17 counts of furnishing false information in a controlled substance record. More on the story.

In Australia, paramedics are under investigation for allegedly staging overcrowding in an emergency room for a photo op. Paramedics from Ambulance Victoria allegedly lined patients up in a corridor in Frankston Hospital to depict overcrowding. Photos of the overcrowding were published in the media. More on the story.

In New York, a paramedic has been arrested and charged with burglarizing the homes of patients he transported to the hospital while they were in the hospital. German A. Lobation, 48, who worked for several different EMS providers in Hudson Valley, has been implicated in at least three burglaries and is suspected in several others. More on the story. BTW – I hope there is a particularly warm location in hell for anyone who pulls a stunt like this.

And in Arizona, a dispatcher who apparently chuckled when a caller said “Yerr my car just kinda caught on fire and my girlfriend caught on fire” is under investigation for unprofessional conduct. The caller, Lalo Delgado, has complained to local media outlets and the Pima County Sheriff’s department about the giggling, and the story is quickly becoming a national story. In fact some folks are calling for the dispatcher to be fired.

SERIOUSLY? Dispatchers are not permitted to chuckle at work? They can’t giggle at the stupidity of people? Even at a guy who calls 911 as calm as if he’s ordering a pizza and starts talking about his car “kinda” catching on fire… and then blurts out almost as an after thought that… oh yeah … by the way, “my girlfriend caught on fire” too… Not that she is injured, not that she is burned, not that she needs an ambulance… or a fire truck to put her out…. but that “my car just kinda caught on fire” and BTW so did my girlfriend… 

I don’t know… Maybe it’s me, maybe I’ve been doing this too long… but sometimes I think as a society we need to tell people to “get real”. We are human… firefighters, police officers, medics and dispatchers included. Where do people get off expecting us to be perfect. Unbelievable…. Here’s more on the story.

Here is even more and note how in this clip the news media is doing a wonderful job of fueling Delgado’s moral outrage.

And BTW (just to head off some wise cracks from the peanut gallery!!!!) Delgado would get exactly the same advice if he came to me looking to sue…

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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