Vallejo Firefighter Awarded $2.3 Million for Wrongful Termination

A California firefighter who was fired after a fatal fire in 2011, was been awarded $2.3 million for wrongful termination by a Solano County Superior Court jury.

Todd Milan was terminated from the Vallejo Fire Department in November, 2012. His problems began on September 29, 2011 at the scene of a mobile home fire that claimed the life of a disabled man. Milan claims he was ordered to force entry by a battalion chief, and upon entering found himself alone because his officer apparently forgot his gloves on the apparatus.

Milan sustained second and third degree burns trying to effect the rescue but was “forced to leave the structure without removing the victim from the structure, because the fire intensified to extremely high temperatures presenting imminent threat of death.”

Milan’s burns kept him out of work for an extended period. He claims department officials misrepresented what occurred at the fire, and blamed him for the man’s death. He was disciplined and ultimately terminated in part over comments he made to Cal OSHA about the fire.

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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