Fire Law Podcast – Episode 3: California Police Fire Wars

On February 4, 2014, Chula Vista firefighter Jacob Gregoire was arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer at the scene of a roll over on Interstate 805. Curt Varone and FF Gregoire’s attorney, Dan Gilleon, discuss the arrest and the civil suit they have brought against the officer and CHP.


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As we pointed out in previous posts about police officers arresting firefighters at incident scenes, most states have laws that make it a criminal offense for anyone to interfere with firefighters in the performance of their duties.

California Penal Code 148.2 states as follows:

Every person who willfully commits any of the following acts at the burning of a building or at any other time and place where any fireman or firemen or emergency rescue personnel are discharging or attempting to discharge an official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor:

  1. Resists or interferes with the lawful efforts of any fireman or firemen or emergency rescue personnel in the discharge or attempt to discharge an official duty.
  2. Disobeys the lawful orders of any fireman or public officer.
  3. Engages in any disorderly conduct which delays or prevents a fire from being timely extinguished.
  4. Forbids or prevents others from assisting in extinguishing a fire or exhorts another person, as to whom he has no legal right or obligation to protect or control, from assisting in extinguishing a fire.

California Penal Code 148.2 does not make an exception for members of the California Highway Patrol. “Every person”…. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!!!! Including members of the California Highway Patrol.

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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