Nashville Firefighter Charged With Interfering With Another Department’s Operations

A Nashville firefighter is facing criminal charges related to his actions at a fire scene in Rutherford County while he was off duty. Jacob Welbaum, 31, is facing five counts of reckless endangerment and one count of disorderly conduct.

According to WSMV Channel 4, Rutherford County Fire and Rescue was on the scene of a building fire when Welbaum was observed scene “barking” orders and telling firefighters they were doing things incorrectly. According to The Messenger, Welbaum approached crews and offered to assist, but his offer was declined. He then took gear including breathing apparatus from one of their trucks, entered the building, and began giving orders. Police report he had to be physically removed from the scene.

Various news outlets are providing conflicting reports about when the incident occurred, with some saying in happened in December, 2023, and others saying it occurred in January 2023.

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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