Once Again Too Many Fire Law Cases

We started this week with too many fire law stories to cover them all and that is exactly how we will end it!

In New York, a volunteer fire company has been hit with a $25,000 fine and ordered to pay a female firefighter $60,000 for some pretty outrageous sexual harassment. Among the allegations against the Elmont Fire Department are:

  • A lieutenant slapping the woman on her butt while exclaiming “badonkadonk”
  • Officers and members repeatedly making crude remarks
  • Comments being routinely made about the woman’s anatomy
  • A member sending a sexually explicit text message during a meeting that other members were privy to

Here is Dave Statter’s take on the case, and more from the NY Post.

In Los Angeles, an independent assessor is calling for new rules to address nepotism in the hiring process of the LAFD. Here is more on that story, including the 55 page report.

In Cleveland, two firefighters are facing criminal charges for falsifying a report following an apparatus accident last June. Captain Ronald Vargo and Firefighter Richard Nickerson originally claimed a white car cut them off resulting in $20,000 in damage to their rig. Unfortunately for them a security camera showed what actually happened and they are now facing misdemeanor charges. Dave Statter is on this one as well, taking a somewhat humorous approach by noting: “Just 11 days before the 40th anniversary of the resignation of the President of the United States over a little incident that brought us the phrase “it’s not the crime it’s the cover-up”, two Cleveland, Ohio firefighters make it clear they were dozing during the Watergate portion of their history class.”

And in Connecticut, the family of a woman who was killed in a fire on June 22, 2014 has filed a claim against the town of Southington and the Southington Fire Department.

Kristen Milano died in the early morning fire as she was asleep in her mother’s bedroom. Police have accused 18 year old Eric Morelli of throwing lit fireworks into Milano’s brother’s bedroom as a prank. He stands charged with first degree manslaughter and three counts of first degree reckless endangerment.

The family’s claim alleges that firefighters failed to “perform their duties as would reasonable firefighters” in rescuing Milano. More on that story.

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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