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JAMIE BUSHLIN
Courtesy Brown Eagle Tribune, Copyright 2004

WASHTOWN, Tn. -- All 11 members of the Washtown volunteer fire department threatened to submit resignations after their lieutenant was reprimanded for stopping and detaining a resident by using a flashing red light and siren on his vehicle. They are pressing county commissioners for the authority to stop vehicles, make arrests and issue tickets for anyone who impedes their response to fire or medical calls.

Fire volunteers said Washtown Fire Company Lt. Albert Hauck refused to allow Bobby James Riley to leave after Hauck stopped Riley while responding to a house fire. Washtown County Police report receiving a 911 call from Riley who said he was being blocked in by the volunteer Fire lieutenant. Riley was unable to exit his truck until all fire vehicles had passed. Riley then claims he was subjected to ridicule by Hauck and threatened with arrest. "He was hollering at me" said Riley "He told me he was gonna cuff me up".

"There have been instances when people don't get out of our way" said Rutledge Diehm, volunteer fire fighter. "My truck is an official fire response vehicle when I am toned out. We need the power to stop people for disobeying law. I can't call the police when I'm going to a fire. The police can't always be where we go. We need this to do our jobs. I just got to the point where my head is softer than a brick wall."

The Fire Company responds to fires, accidents and other calls for service in the borough and surrounding villages served by the volunteer fire company.

"We volunteer," said Junel A. Fegely, a fire member for 11/2 years. "But we didn't volunteer for the aggravation and the abuse. "

"This will affect the company, and this will affect service in the area at accidents and so forth," Hauck said of the potential resignations.

Hauck claimed that Riley drove too fast, wouldn't get over and kept going. Hauck had a red light, which does not command the same respect on the road. "Its dangerous when they won't let us pass by. We're on official fire business. Taking a few of them in might wake people up."

Diehm stressed that the mass resignation was not a ploy to gain an advantage in the argument.

"All of us feel kind of bad about making this move," he said. "There's a certain amount of satisfaction you get out of serving the public, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough."

Washtown county police Chief Theodore R. Smooty said he has recommended that the county deny the fire company's demand. "Police work is for trained police officers." he said. He will try to implement more officers to respond for every fire call but sometimes manpower is limited. "I am attempting to take the steps necessary to provide the services that we've always had," Smooty said.

The Fire company disagreed. "We're responsible folk. The police can't always be there. If I see someone breaking the law at a fire, I should be able to do something."



OH MY GOD :shock:
 

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As someone in the fire service:
We have enough to handle and worry about, we dont need your job too. Impersonation is a police matter,not enough smoke detectors is our area.
This is probally some small hick department in a pissing match with the police. Another stain on the American fire serivce. :(

Sorry guys.
 

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That is great! the fire dept is passing out tickets to people who don't get out of their way so they can get to an emergency. Mean while someone is dieing or their home is burning down. :roll:
 

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The fire department should focus on their primary focus- life, property, and the environment. There's no way they should be allowed to initiate traffic stops on individuals who dont immediatly yield the right of way. I bet most of these guys only have a single dash light and maybe some wig wags.

I don't understand why they can't record the license plate of the offender and then have the police deal with the matter.

Sitting on the road with a traffic offender for failure to yield while there is structure fire going is ridiculous. He's a firefighter and fighting the fire is what he should be doing
 

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You know whats funny. If the person wouldnt pull over for him with lights and sirens on his way to a call. What chance do jim bob and his 10 cousins have of getting someone to pull over with lights and sirens if they wont get out of his way anyway! :roll:
 

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The next thing will be school buses trying to make stops when cars don't obey the lights and big red sign. Maybe they should get sirens too... :roll:
 
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Obviously, firefighters responding to fires have a priorty, the fire. It would not be wise for them to be sidetracked into persuing vehicles that don't yield. Some bozo fleeing a robbery would be bad news if cornered by FD. I agree with writing down license #s.
 

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JAMIE BUSHLIN
Courtesy Brown Eagle Tribune, Copyright 2004

Fire volunteers said Washtown Fire Company Lt. Albert Hauck refused to allow Bobby James Riley to leave after Hauck stopped Riley while responding to a house fire. Washtown County Police report receiving a 911 call from Riley who said he was being blocked in by the volunteer Fire lieutenant. Riley was unable to exit his truck until all fire vehicles had passed. Riley then claims he was subjected to ridicule by Hauck and threatened with arrest. "He was hollering at me" said Riley "He told me he was gonna cuff me up".

Well mission acomplished, if he stopped and detained him as that states. If you look at it from a civil standpoint and the lesser standard needed to prove at a civil trial, which I am sure is inevitable in this litigious society, the firefighter unlawfully detained him...that should be a pretty good civil lawsuit. That sounds like a false arrest to me.

"There have been instances when people don't get out of our way" said Rutledge Diehm, volunteer fire fighter. "My truck is an official fire response vehicle when I am toned out. We need the power to stop people for disobeying law. I can't call the police when I'm going to a fire. The police can't always be where we go. We need this to do our jobs. I just got to the point where my head is softer than a brick wall."

Need to able to stop cars on the way to fires/accidents/medicals to do their job? How about going to save the person in the burning building or do CPR on person at that medical that just got toned out numbnuts!! Just drive the car off the road like 95% of the other whackers out there. (I said whackers, not referring to the firefighters that realize you have to get to the station or call alive to be able to help)

"We volunteer," said Junel A. Fegely, a fire member for 11/2 years. "But we didn't volunteer for the aggravation and the abuse."

Neither did I, but I still love my job. The best in the world

The Fire company disagreed. "We're responsible folk. The police can't always be there. If I see someone breaking the law at a fire, I should be able to do something."


If you see a violation on the way to a fire write the plate number down and call it in on the radio (we all know that the FD likes to flood the airwaves, why not call in listings) If you see someone breaking the law at a fire then tell the police officer that is on scene you donkey...put the fire out dammit!!

USMC Trooper,

Thanks for posting that one. That was one of the funniest posts I have seen on this site. I was on the local on-call fire department and certainly value the training and experiences, but I can definately see several firefighters in the towns around and all across the state reading this article and getting that bright idea. Hopefully this one does not get into any fire magazines... Does anyone have common sense anymore??
 

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:lol: That one was great! If the fire department wants to aid law enforcement I suggest they do the same that I instruct school bus drivers to do when they witness motorist failing to obey their lights. Write down plate number, color, make, model, description of driver, time and place, then forward the information to the PD so the violator will at least get a phone call :twisted:
 

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I posted this on firehouse.com. Link

Like I have said, these people are defently a minority. An 11 person minoroty. :roll:
 

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Frankly though, I wouldn't mind seeing a statue allowing a cop to write a citation to the registered owner of the vehicle based on the complaint of a firefighter.
 

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Back home, the local volunteers had a thing called "fire police": they were allowed to direct traffic at a fire call...to prevent citizens from driving across the hoses, etc...anybody who has ever worked a fire can imagine what driving across the hoses would result in!

This duty is usually reserved for senior firemen: like, old people!

They don't write tickets...or arrest people: but they can prefer charges for 'failure to'
 

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The Fire Dept personnel should not be stopping people because they did not pull over. How much sense does it make to have a Fire LT stop someone then a house burn down because no one is around to be the incident commander.

What should be allowed an enforced if the firefighter reports the locations and plate # of the vehicle(s) to the police and a warning or citation is mailed to that person.

It is my understanding that as a responding Fire/EMS unit you can only stop if you come upon another fire, accident or medical call otherwise you should resond to what you were dispatched to.

Posted 07 Nov 2004 02:02:

You know what I love (just remebered) When I was an active EMT I ran with one of the Berkshire Ambulance Services. They were told by the companies owner to stop using the siren to get people to move over becuase it was scaring them. Great so here you are responding to a stroke or heart attack and you can not move because hitting the yelp will scare someone.

What every happened to using your lights, siren and if need be the PA to get people to pull over. They get scared screw 'em.
 

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Couple of thoughts:

1) I have police powers and still have not found a way to stop and detain someone while I'm responding to an emergency. As a sgt I would have to question if one of my officers really needed to use lights and siren if he can take the time to stop someone on the way to his "emergency".

2) In Mass police can write a citation based on anyone's say so. Most officers refuse to acknowledge this and often claim there is nothing they can do if they didn't see the violation. If you read 90-2 it clearly says an officer shall record the occurence of any violation that is brought to his attention. I do this all the time with school bus violations and people who don't stop for crossing guards. I've also used it once with one of the chronic speeding complainers. Wrote the cite and had the "complainant" come in for the hearing, the continuance of the hearing and the mag appeal. Not responsible. She never called to complain again.

3) I would call the dedication of this group into question. If they'll quit over something like this maybe it's time to contract with another town for fire service.
 

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I issue cites based on school bus driver's reports. I check the vehicle owners KQ, give them a phone informing them of the complaint and mail a warning or cite if they have extensive history. The cites usually do not hold in court if the defendant claims they were not operating the vehicle and it is tough to rebut without a witness as the bus driver usually is doing what he is supposed to focusing on the children's safety not what the violator looks like.
 
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