Bad Week For Fire Law Headlines

While it is rare that we see good news in the Fire Law headlines, last week saw a number of particularly unfortunate headlines for the fire service. I noticed this as I was putting together this week’s Fire Law News newsletter, and searching for today’s Fire Law headline story.

Rather than focus on a single story today, consider the following cases individually, and perhaps more importantly, collectively.

Let’s start with a story out of Indiana where two firefighters have been charged in connection with beating a third while at a party to celebrate a rookie’s first fire last November (BTW… what ever happened to the concept of “pretend like you’ve done this before…”). Apparently, an inappropriate video was somehow at the center of the dispute. Ah.. well, more correctly alcohol was at the center of the dispute, which also involved an inappropriate video. The case led to the dismissal of the fire chief and deputy chief days after the incident occurred.

Also in Indiana, a veteran firefighter is facing termination for displaying a noose in the firehouse:

In Seattle, a firefighter has been charged with cyberstalking, computer trespass, and identity theft for emailing threats to a member of the Seattle City Council member last month. Councilmember Kshama Sawant reported that the threats came in an email from a Fire Department email address. It appears the firefighter sent the email from another firefighter’s account – not to threaten the Councilmember – but to get the other firefighter in trouble with the chain-of-command.

In Tennessee, an intoxicated firefighter apparently tried to break into a sleeper cab of an eighteen-wheeler parked at a truck-stop off I65. He was armed at the time.

In Alabama, a former fire chief was sentenced to probation following a plea agreement.

In Idaho, a former Nevada battalion chief accepted a plea deal that will avoid jail time for assaulting a college student who reportedly had slept with the chief’s daughter.

And in San Francisco, a trans paramedic filed suit claiming harassment and discrimination.

San Francisco Failed To Stop Harassment Of Trans Paramedic, Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges

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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