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Poor Decision in Sugar Grove, PA

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  • #16
    I side with the chief and the chief only. Taking a fire truck to a funeral, why? What does that do for anyone? The only trucks that should be there are the department whose member has paid the ultimate price.The family of this brother would get a lot of support from the brotherhood of attending firefighters, not from fire apparatus. Besides the chief is your boss and the boss is there to do one thing and that's run his business as efficiently and effectively as possible and in this case save lives with all the equipment and resources available. In fact he was already at a loss by having 5 of his "top responders" committed to paying their respects never mind he has lost his front line engine as well.

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    • #17
      Disobey a direct order from the Chief - get fired. Not a hard concept to follow. They didn't expect it? Give me a break.

      Maybe the Chief should have tried to make other arrangements for coverage. We don't know all of his reasons for issuing the order but the bottom line is he did issue the order and they chose to disregard it.

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      • #18
        iwood,
        I modified my original post. I misread the article and had thought it was one of their own members, which is why I questioned them only sending 5 members in POVs.



        [This message has been edited by sponge (edited 01-30-2001).]

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        • #19
          An Order is an Order is an Order. The Chief is the CHIEF. A direct order to not take an engine means just that. You just don't do it. What part of NO didn't these five renegades understand. My hat is off to them for showing respect to our fallen brother...but...right is right...wrong is WRONG. And this bunch was dead wrong.

          And...for those of you who have replied who have zero reading comprehension, the article clearly stated that the truck was taken to the funeral of a member of ANOTHER Department. At least comprehend the story before shooting off your mouths.

          And for those who would have sought suspension first...what the article didn't say was that this was the five firefighters first offense....who knows...they could have a history of disobeying orders.

          Just my .02.

          [This message has been edited by FFShooty (edited 01-30-2001).]

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          • #20
            As a Fire Chief I find it extremely hard to question the actions taken by this Chief. For those who would have suspended instead of terminated can you tell me how many times you would allow a firefighter to be insubordinate? One, three, five? Sometimes the job of Chief can be very hard. I am sure it was in this case. Bottom line is one boss and one boss only. Rules are followed or changed.

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            • #21
              Send your first-out pumper on a day trip for a funeral, and you may be having a fire fighter funeral in your own town. We don't know the condition of their second-out engine, but I know that our's is in such bad shape that I would not feel safe with it as the attack pumper. Many volunteer departments struggle with these kind of equipment problems as a result of funding problems. What if their second pumper only held two people? What if it didn't have room for vital equipment? What if they only had one other engine? I'm sure the chief had a good reason. I know our's wouldn't allow it, and neither would I in his shoes. You can send a contingent of men to a funeral without endangering your fire fighters and customers. Don't let your desire to show respect override your primary goal: protecting your customers.

              ------------------
              Be safe.

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              • #22
                I see that most of my opinions have been expressed but I couldn't help but post another one. The chief said no. When you become chief, you can do what you think. Until then do what you're told.If you choose to disobey. be prepared for the consequences.

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                • #23
                  I've read a lot of the posts, but not all of them. I want to make one point, what good is a fire truck with out firefighters? No good is the answer. I am from a small rural dept. If we are lucky we get 20 people at a working structure. Usually when we do a funeral detail, the guys going to the funeral are the same guys on that first truck out. If these 5 firefighters had not taken the truck and there was a call, who would have manned it? Most likely 5 firefighters that weren't at the funeral, but you'd still be 5 short. My point is, a fire truck is only as good as the guys on it.

                  ------------------
                  Put the wet stuff on the red stuff
                  Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley
                  Steve Kelly Jr.
                  SVFC

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                  • #24
                    What if all your second due sent their first out pumper? How is any of this benefiting the people we are sworn to protect 24/7? I am all in favor of a good showing at a funeral, but I feel people not equipment makes the show. Is this a viewing or a parade?
                    All things considered, the chief gave a legal, valid order. They willingly disobeyed, perhaps more than once. Where do we draw the line?

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                    • #25
                      Ok read these and tell me the chief was no justified in his actions.

                      "Driving distance and liabilities prevented Oaks from allowing the five volunteers to drive a company truck to the funeral."

                      "Oaks told his volunteers that they could attend the funeral service if they drove their own vehicles, but could not take a company truck"

                      "The truck that was taken was Sugar Grove's front-line truck and, according to Oaks, the funeral was too far out of the district and put the truck out of service all day."

                      "Oaks added that one of the dismissed was given a previous warning for defying an officer."


                      "It was not the point of them going to the funeral," Oaks said. "It was the point of one of the trucks of this department being out without authorization, and in direct defiance of an order not to take it," Oaks said.

                      Ok now think about it, they wreck the truck on the way to the funeral, now what their frontline piece is out of service and the insurance will not cover it. Plus a even bigger lawsuit by the victems involved in the accident. A asst. Chief is involved, what kind of Asst. Chief disobeys a Chief?! I'll tell you i would not trust his decision making on a fire ground. hell no. Plus one was already in trouble before for disobeying a officer. These 5 have a real discipline problem and maybe being thrown out will teach them a lesson. They can always go somewhere else possibly, or maybe talk to the chief and get in. But if I was a member and we had a fire that day and our front line piece was gone, I would certainly be very ****ed and I know alot of other members woule be to. And I am a nozzle nut and like to see brother's supporting brothers in anyway possible. Take care and stay safe.


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                      • #26
                        Yes - the Chief is the Chief and an order is an order! I certainly think this situation could have been handled better on both sides of the issue. What I've seen done in many LODD's is a local department will cover for the affected department so department members AND department apparatus can attend the funeeral. When any firefighter is killed in the line of duty-the "traditional" memorial service is to honor the members service and to aid the grieving process for family, friends, and department members. Personally, I think the department had a responsibility to have their own apparatus at the funeral, but not in direct violation of the Chief's order-but also that the Chief should have taken in to consideration the request and planned accordingly.

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                        • #27
                          When it happened to the next dept up the road from us (frequent reciprocal mutual aid), we sent one (of 3) front line pumpers, and 5 members (including Chief and Dept. Chief). But we also made sure we had adequate personnel staying home.

                          When it happened to KCMO FD (6 LODD in explosion) we had a better solution. We'd (the FF association, not the tax funded FPD) had purchased and restored a 1936 ALF. It wasn't ever meant to be a working truck for us. It was a parade piece. It's first parade was a memorial for multiple LODD.

                          So where do I stand? A chief is a chief and an order is an order. He (the chief, but only the chief) could have (maybe, depending on how many apparatus are available) made arrangements for station coverage, both men and apparatus. Maybe he didn't make a "good faith" effort, in which case the members might have a valid gripe. But no way should any member disobey an order OR take a truck out of service/out of district (which they did both)!

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                          • #28
                            A Chief is a Chief. Hmmm, one of the dismissed firefighters was an Assistant Chief. Maybe there's a power struggle going on that we overlooked, maybe not. I have my own thoughts on what happened, but I wasn't there, so I'll keep them to myself.

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                            • #29
                              The chief did the right thing. They should have been charged with theft of public property also.....

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                              • #30
                                Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jamey Crutchfield, ex Asst. Chief of Sugar Grove VFD.
                                I am one of the 5 to go to the funeral in Rocky Grove and be expelled from my dept.
                                To clear some things up we are not connected in any way with SUGAR CREEK VFD.
                                We live about 1 hr away from there.
                                As for our situation:
                                1. Our dept has 2 engines a tanker a brush truck a utility vehicle and an ambulance
                                2. I am one of the few in the dept. that can drive the truck we took
                                3. there is NO ONE available to drive the truck we took during the day ( I took a vac. day from work)
                                4. We have 4 mutual aid depts. all within 5-10 mins. of our dept.
                                5. why would any chief refuse members to take a vehicle to a funeral that is no further than some parades we attend ?
                                6.This one is for the one who stated about a marine upbringing--If you get in trouble in marines do they automatically kick you out ? There are other types of Discipline !!!!
                                7. the chief that expelled us had only been in office 1 week when he made this decision, and in that week he made many 1 man decisions without consideration to any members input or discussion
                                8. many members approached him to allow us to take the engine INCLUDING some of the trustees of the dept.
                                9 Also if you could see the newspaper articles and TV news clips, and knew what we know, you could see how much this man lies also

                                Even as Oaks puts it set the funeral part of this aside and think about it............(and we have)
                                And this is what we came up with:

                                Does disobeying 1 order deem an automatic expulsion ????

                                Respectfully submitted,
                                Jamey Crutchfield

                                any e-mails welcome
                                [email protected]

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