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Published: September 10, 2008 05:30 am ShareThisPrintThis
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Cop: Firefighters' response reckless
By Paul Leighton
Staff writer

BEVERLY - A Beverly police lieutenant has accused firefighters of responding to a reported house fire in a "juvenile" and "wreckless (sic) manner."
In his police report, Lt. Michael Sungy wrote that firefighters used "excessive speed" on their way to a Brimbal Avenue home on Monday night even though police had notified them that there was no fire.
"They however responded in a juvenile manner with sirens blaring and causing a public safety concern in the manner of their response," Sungy wrote. "Excessive speed. Crossing into traffic in a wreckless manner. Even after they were advised no fire at this residence."
Fire Chief Richard Pierce vehemently denied the charge and accused Sungy of having a "vendetta" against the Fire Department.
"I responded to that myself, and I didn't see anybody responding any differently than we do when we respond to a house fire," Pierce said.
Pierce said he did not know about Sungy's report until he was called by a reporter yesterday.
"That's pretty juvenile and pretty childish to write in their report and not notify me as chief of the department," Pierce said.
Sungy could not be reached for comment. Police Chief Mark Ray and Officer John McCarthy, the department's spokesman, did not return calls seeking comment.
According to the police report, two police cruisers responded at 7:43 p.m. Monday to a report of a grill fire on a porch at 88 Brimbal Ave. The report said police found a "very minor flame" under the grates of an outdoor grill. The flame was so small the food on the grill was not burnt and police were able to "blow it out like a candle," the report said.
Police disconnected the fuel tank from the grill as a precaution. Sungy described the incident as an "overreaction" by the homeowner.
Pierce said firefighters got a report of a house fire and responded appropriately. He said Engine 1, Engine 5, Ladder 1 and Deputy fire Chief Paul Cotter all responded, and Pierce responded from his home when he heard the report on the radio.
"It was given to us as a house fire," Pierce said.
The police report lists Patrolmen Ken Rollins and Erik Abrahamson as officers who responded to the fire. Sungy works at the police station as the officer in charge of the shift.
Pierce accused Sungy of having a "vendetta" against the Fire Department but offered no further explanation.
Sungy, a 20-year veteran with the Police Department, was one of two police officers who were honored last year for running into a burning building in Gloucester Crossing and alerting residents. Sungy and Patrolman Donald Call were awarded the Police Medal by Mayor Bill Scanlon and police Chief Mark Ray. One resident wrote a letter to the city saying the officers saved his son's life
 
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Come on Lt. you got to let the fire boys play with their toys once in a while. Seriously though this is something that should have been worked out Chief to Chief not in the newpaper.
 

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Working in the land of misfit toys
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The ding dings love to send the calvalry out whenever possible....don't you just love it when they come to an accident scene and take up every lane possible?? The accident is in the left lane, we don't need to block all three travel lanes AND half of the BDL
 

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The ding dings love to send the calvalry out whenever possible....don't you just love it when they come to an accident scene and take up every lane possible?? The accident is in the left lane, we don't need to block all three travel lanes AND half of the BDL
LOL, I thought that this only happened in my city. Yup, I love when the nozzle heads have every piece of apparatus out, like a kid with all their toys. There will come a time when they are blasting out to a call and told to back it down, only to crash into some poor shmuck on his way to Cumby's. That's called "Exaggerating your own self-importance".

Just as an aside, the jakes got all offended when someone flipped them off in traffic. They came to the station to report it as a crime!
 

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The ding dings love to send the calvalry out whenever possible....don't you just love it when they come to an accident scene and take up every lane possible?? The accident is in the left lane, we don't need to block all three travel lanes AND half of the BDL
Those firefighter block those lanes so you and the other firefighters are safe. It may block traffic but it provides safety for the police other firefighters and injured people.
 

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Are you saying they are trained to do that? If so, that sounds good....HOWEVER......if I have everything contained in the BDL then I don't need them to show up with trumpets, bells, a band and rockets shooting from their tail pipes and take the first and second travel lane. All that does is cause another crash when cars sweerve to avoid them. Plus, I know they need to justify their exsistance sometimes but why when I specificly request EMS ONLY do they show up with every medical supply known to man and two latter trucks?
 

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Those firefighter block those lanes so you and the other firefighters are safe. It may block traffic but it provides safety for the police other firefighters and injured people.
Like it or not; the police assess the safety of the scene and block off the approriate lanes. I realize you think that is the FD's job but it isn't. The police control the scene. If we tell you not to block half the highway -- dont block half the highway. I realize you are concerned with the scene itself but we also need to measure safety vs the flow of traffic.
 

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I don't think telling them where to park and what equipment they should have is smart. We would be fuming if they did the same to us. Also, if someone in my family is in a burning house, or sick those guys can bring every piece of equipment in the station that they can if they think it would help. I think sometimes people forget most of us are out there doing the same thing. If theres some conflict between the two different jobs then it should be hashed out after everyone is back at the station, and done between supervisors as mentioned above to prevent these stupid arguments on who is in control,and who has the biggest ego.
 

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I don't think telling them where to park and what equipment they should have is smart. We would be fuming if they did the same to us.
Firstly, they have no authority, none, to tell us how to set up traffic flow, personnel protection, etc. They can make requests and we can assess from there.

Secondly, no one is saying anything about a bona fide emergency. The thread is about a grille fire that the cops had under control. So, yes, if someone is dying of a heart attack or there is a working house fire or roll over accident with entrapment, by all means bring everything that can be used.

BUT, we are talking about the majority of fender benders where maybe a radiator gets popped or the airbags go off. The response tends to be, shall we say, a tad over the top ? I mean come on, they just spread a little kitty litter or cut battery cables, I don't think that warrants a lights and sirens response, let alone running against traffic flow.

Maybe I'm a little older now, but I don't fly to calls nearly as fast as I used to. You're doing no one any good wrecked out on the side of the road.
 

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I never said they had "authority" but they certainly have right to set up their equipment as they see fit. We sometimes have to work around that and I know it's not easy. If they truly knew it was a a grill fire that was already out then they will own it if something happens to them on the way. I agree with you some of the cops we work with are just as overzealous going to dumb calls. As I get older,I also tend to slow my response unless it's an OT, or something involving a child. My point is these things need to be fixed behind closed doors. Starting a public pissing match will not resolve the problem.

Firstly, they have no authority, none, to tell us how to set up traffic flow, personnel protection, etc. They can make requests and we can assess from there.

Secondly, no one is saying anything about a bona fide emergency. The thread is about a grille fire that the cops had under control. So, yes, if someone is dying of a heart attack or there is a working house fire or roll over accident with entrapment, by all means bring everything that can be used.

BUT, we are talking about the majority of fender benders where maybe a radiator gets popped or the airbags go off. The response tends to be, shall we say, a tad over the top ? I mean come on, they just spread a little kitty litter or cut battery cables, I don't think that warrants a lights and sirens response, let alone running against traffic flow.

Maybe I'm a little older now, but I don't fly to calls nearly as fast as I used to. You're doing no one any good wrecked out on the side of the road.
 

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Are you saying they are trained to do that? If so, that sounds good....HOWEVER......if I have everything contained in the BDL then I don't need them to show up with trumpets, bells, a band and rockets shooting from their tail pipes and take the first and second travel lane. All that does is cause another crash when cars sweerve to avoid them. Plus, I know they need to justify their exsistance sometimes but why when I specificly request EMS ONLY do they show up with every medical supply known to man and two latter trucks?
It is funny to see truckload of sparkies show up to a medical call, block traffic and mill around until an actual ambulance shows up. I know they're just trying to pump up their call out stats, but please, if we need medical, we just need medical! Not what amounts to essentially a truckload of brightly-dressed bystanders.
 
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Brothers it's 9/11 I'm not feeling the love. Like I said earlier The fire chief and the Police chief should be working this out. Maybe some kind of cross training (I don't mean we should be putting out fires or them making arrest) explaining each others job.
 
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I never said they had "authority" but they certainly have right to set up their equipment as they see fit.
A legitimate fire, then leave the trucks wherever. Our FD is actually really good about that; they won't block every traffic lane unless it's really necessary.

What kind of irks me is that they apparently don't trust us; if my dispatcher says "Fire says you can cancel", then I cancel. However, they don't seem to believe us because we no matter what we tell the fire dispatcher, they keep coming balls to the wall.

I can think of at least two incidents just when I was working where the FD was involved in vehicle crashes after we tried to tell them they were not needed. To me, that's the antithesis of public safety.
 

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Like it or not; the police assess the safety of the scene and block off the approriate lanes. I realize you think that is the FD's job but it isn't. The police control the scene. If we tell you not to block half the highway -- dont block half the highway. I realize you are concerned with the scene itself but we also need to measure safety vs the flow of traffic.
Not always the case: 527 CMR 1.03

(8) Duties of the Head of the Fire Department. Whenever the maintenance, operation, or use of any land,
building, structure, material or other object, or any part thereof, including vehicles used in the transport of
hazardous materials constitutes a fire or explosion hazard which is dangerous or unsafe, or a menace to the
public safety (including, but not limited to, fires, explosions, hazardous material incidents, motor vehicle
accidents, structural collapses, mass casualty incidents and emergency extrication incidents) and the action to
be taken to eliminate such dangerous or unsafe condition or conditions which create, or tend to create, the
same is not specifically provided for in 527 CMR, and unless otherwise prohibited by law, ordinance, by-law,
regulation, the head of the fire department is hereby authorized and empowered to take such action as may be
necessary to abate such dangerous or unsafe condition or conditions (directing employees of other city or
town departments and agencies) and including the evacuation of buildings and/or the transport or hazardous
materials, the speed, routes, amounts, and hours of transport through the city, town or district shall also be
regulated
 
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I've started to just let the FD do what they want. The argument that follows serves no purpose and the trucks cover my butt & cruiser. I've became friendly with some and they have helped me with the scene when the other patrols are tied up. Sometimes we need them and somtimes they need us. Don't burn your bridges. Traffic will get tied up due to the rubber neckers anyways and drivers prone to crash will eventually crash. The only asset that drives me crazy are some of the private amblance operators. They park so that the ambulance is fully exposed to traffic, even though there is plenty of protected space, ie in the middle of I-93 when only the BDL & right lane are taken. This isn't a dig on all private EMTs, but I've seen more than one Ambulance damaged at a scene.
 

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Good move Lt. Michael Sungy (LMS). I suppose you could have called the Chief directly (man to man) and spoke to him. You were at the station so how exactly do you know what happened. I can't imagine Rollins and Abrahamson made the complaint. Well it's in the news paper now. Nothing like throwing your Chief under the bus. You of all people. Remember everyone has skeletons in the closet. Good luck
 

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not to pile on... but ambulances are also trained to block the scene with their truck to protect from cars.

an ambulance doesn't take up 3 lanes, though.

I've started to just let the FD do what they want. The argument that follows serves no purpose and the trucks cover my butt & cruiser. I've became friendly with some and they have helped me with the scene when the other patrols are tied up. Sometimes we need them and somtimes they need us. Don't burn your bridges. Traffic will get tied up due to the rubber neckers anyways and drivers prone to crash will eventually crash. The only asset that drives me crazy are some of the private amblance operators. They park so that the ambulance is fully exposed to traffic, even though there is plenty of protected space, ie in the middle of I-93 when only the BDL & right lane are taken. This isn't a dig on all private EMTs, but I've seen more than one Ambulance damaged at a scene.
that idiocy isn't what i mean. I see that too. That's ridiculous. One thing to be part of the protection from traffic... it's another to be an idiot about it and leave the back doors of the truck exposed or to just park it at random
 
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This isn't a dig on all private EMTs, but I've seen more than one Ambulance damaged at a scene.
The damage caused by an ambulance can't compare to a fire engine loaded down with hundreds of gallons of water. I saw one (actually the aftermath) send a Buick Skylark airborne through the window of a tire shop after running a red light.
 

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Its interesting to see how different fire depts respond DIFFERENTLY. One FD would constantly send out engines when only an ambulance was needed and purposely block a travel lane when the minor rear end crash was in the BDL. I asked, asked again, was ignored, then informed the fire captain I was going to tow his engine, lock up the driver and list him as personally responsible for anyone who so much as blew a tire trying to avoid his engine, on a curve in the rain. That got his attention.

Conversely, at fuel spills, car fires in other towns, I have purposely taken an extra lane just for them to work in realizing those are more involved events and those FD's used the BDL.
 
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