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Officers Held liable

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  • Officers Held liable

    The latest story about the wildland boss who is being charged with manslaughter over the death of 4 of his members really worries me. Firefighting by it's nature is a very dangerous ocupation. Fire is so unpredictable at times that no one individual can see what is happening at all times. If this case goes thru and he is found guilty it will have a severe inpact on the fire service as a whole.

    Once case law has been established I wonder if the next step is to charge Chief's of departments for the deaths of their firefighters. The statement in the firehouse article, "He should have known", is my sticking point. In the fire service today we are having a hard enough time holding onto our volunteers. How many will think twice about filling the command positions in their home departments if there is the possibility of legal actions agains them for something they can't forsee or control?

    Lets hear some other thoughts on this issue.

  • #2
    I agree that a chief or other officer can not keep track of every little thing his or her firefighters do on a scene. It is damn near impossible! I do feel, however, that if the chief did something wrong that got his men killed he should be held liable. We have to keep in mind that things happen out there, whether it is in a forest fire, a structure fire, a multi vehicle accident, things happen beyond our control. But if the chief did something to put his men in danger then he IS responsible.
    J.J. Bichard, Chief
    Devola Vol. Fire Co.
    Marietta, Ohio

    "A few, serving many"

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