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  • Wetdown fun?

    Mendham council to investigate fire department celebration

    Thursday, September 04, 2003

    BY KRISTEN ALLOWAY
    Star-Ledger Staff

    The Mendham Borough Council will investigate the wet-down celebration the fire department held this summer, when several pieces of equipment were destroyed and a firefighter from a neighboring town was injured, the mayor said yesterday.

    The council decided Tuesday night to hold hearings about the party and two volunteer firefighters who face being kicked out of the department.

    The wet-down in June was supposed to be a celebration. The fire department in the upscale community of 5,000 was rolling out two new pieces of equipment, and firefighters from other towns were invited for the festivities.

    "Things got out of hand," Mendham Mayor Richard Kraft said yesterday. "Wet-downs always are a little raucus. There's water being sprayed. ... The events of that evening went beyond reasonable. There should not be damage. There should not be personal injury."

    Mendham police investigated the party and charged two firefighters with disorderly persons offenses, Kraft said.

    Several fire department radios were destroyed and a fire jacket was burned, Kraft said. A firefighter from a neighboring department suffered a knee injury that required medical attention, Kraft said.

    The 55-member fire department last month decided not to expel the two firefighters from the squad or discipline them, Kraft said. The fire department's board of trustees -- made up mostly of retired fire chiefs -- disagreed and turned to the borough council.

    "Some feel nothing was being done. They felt the fire department should have acted and did not," Kraft said. "The bylaws said they dismiss them or discipline them, and they didn't do either."

    The borough council will seek an independent hearing officer who will weigh both sides and make a recommendation to the borough council, Kraft said.

    Fire Chief Joseph Eible could not be reached yesterday.

    Todd Schwartz, one of the firefighters being investigated, acknowledged he brought a smoke bomb to the party and lighted it as a prank.

    "It was not smart, and I took responsibility for it," said Schwartz, 35, who joined the department two years ago. "It's not like this is a stick of dynamite. Everyone was wearing firefighter equipment. ... Nobody said anything at the wet- down."

    Schwartz, who runs a marble and granite business in the borough, said the incident has been blown out of proportion by a few department members who have targeted him because he is the lone Jewish member of the squad.

    "From the day I joined the fire department, I've been given a hard time," Schwartz said. "Some members made it clear that they didn't want me around and took the opportunity to exploit something."

    Schwartz's disorderly persons charge was eventually downgraded to an ordinance violation, and he was fined $130, according to the municipal court.

    Kraft, a borough firefighter in the 1980s, called Schwartz's accusation of anti-Semitism "blatantly untrue."

    "I would strongly differ with that," the mayor said. "I think some people think that things that happened should never have happened, and the fire department did not act properly.

    "I know there are people who are kind of disgusted by the whole thing."
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  • #2
    George, any idea what they were doing to destroy several radios? I know our radios can take quite a beating during an actual fire and not get that damaged, so they must have doing something really bad. Based on this little article, me thinks there is a bit more to the story.

    It's too bad, a well run, organized, wet-down can be a great community thing.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

    Comment


    • #3
      Can your radios withstand about 200 gallons of Class A foam sprayed into the cab?
      PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

      Comment


      • #4
        200 Gallons!

        Forget the radios, did the truck survive? I can't see how anyone can justify pumping foam - or even just water - into the cab of a vehicle.

        Must be nice to have all that money to waste on foam and truck repairs!

        Might there have been alcohol involved?

        Comment


        • #5
          Can your radios withstand about 200 gallons of Class A foam sprayed into the cab?
          Whoa boy, better be some real good explanation for that one.
          "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

          Comment


          • #6
            Now ..................... THATS A PARTY !
            IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
            Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
            ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
            RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
            LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
            I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
            "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
            http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

            Comment


            • #7
              Come on now...

              Boys will be boys.
              IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

              Comment


              • #8
                I only have one question...

                Was it a smoothbore or a combo?

                Oh, wait, I think that's already been discussed somewhere 'round these parts...
                God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
                Google Is Your Friend™Helpful forum tip - a "must see" if you're new here
                Click this to search FH Forums!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by EFD840
                  Might there have been alcohol involved?
                  Bingo! Ya think?

                  I'm trying to recall all the wetdowns I've been to since 1968....and can not remember ANY where alcohol was not served. While steps are now taken to ensure there are designated drivers....the participants do sometimes get "carried away", sometimes in an ambulance.

                  Wow....that foam does a number on electronics!
                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                  Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                  *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                  On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Whoa boy, better be some real good explanation for that one.
                    they were trying to have one of those european style foam dance parties, like on Ibiza.
                    I'm the Midnight Skulker, HAHAHAHAHA

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      2 face hearing in wetdown horseplay

                      By Zenaida Mendez, Daily Record

                      MENDHAM - Two members of the borough fire department who were cited with disorderly persons complaints for their behavior at a "wetdown" event might face disciplinary action from borough officials.

                      In June, the department held a celebration for the arrival of its new rescue truck and another piece of equipment, but the party allegedly got out of control.

                      "Water is sprayed, people run the equipment, and they have a good time with it," Mayor Richard Kraft explained. "This situation, unfortunately, got out of hand. There was rowdiness and more intense activity than is to be expected."

                      Several fire department radios were damaged, and a fire jacket was burned.

                      Borough police subsequently investigated the celebration and cited two firefighters for disorderly persons offenses.

                      Kraft declined to name the two firefighters, and township fire Chief Joe Eible could not be reached for comment.

                      Councilman Gerard Dolan, Jr., also declined to speak on the matter.

                      "We've been advised by counsel to say no comment," he said Thursday afternoon.

                      Two former fire chiefs who still are active in the department declined to comment.

                      Members of the fire department, which has approximately 60 active volunteers, decided not to expel or discipline the two firefighters. Members of the department's board of directors wanted the incident reviewed, so they turned to the borough's governing body for help.

                      This week, the council decided to hold a hearing, to be chaired by an independent reviewer of the case, that will be held by the end of this month. No date for the hearing has yet been set.

                      During that private, one-day hearing, the fire department members will be allowed to present their case, including evidence and witnesses to the incident, Kraft explained.

                      The hearing will conclude with a determination as to whether the firefighters should be disciplined, expelled from the department or not be subject to any action taken.

                      "We're doing it this way to protect the civil rights of the individuals and to be sure they're treated fairly," Kraft said, "that's there's no bias or failure to allow them the opportunity to present their own case."

                      Kraft said that a hearing chairperson, who must have a legal background, has not yet been hired. He said the candidates being considered by the council include a retired state Superior Court judge.
                      PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To bad

                        There are always a few in the crowd that ruin it for the
                        rest. I have been to many wet down over the last 15 years
                        and some have been dry (no booze)and had a lot of fun. I still
                        go to them. For me it a good way to see some old friend and
                        check out some equipment that I may not get to see other wise.
                        Gods Speed to our Troops!

                        If you can't stand the heat, Get out of my way !!!
                        MEMBER OF I.A.C.O.J.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There are wet wetdowns and dry wetdowns....and then there's Budd Lake wetdowns. OyVey...

                          dfdNo9...Denville or Dover?

                          NJ
                          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hmmm...

                            Not all NJ wetdowns are criminal matters. I stopped by the Roseland VFD wetdown for their new Pierce 1750gpm Engine (Engine 661) and it was quite enjoyable. No need for the boys in blue other than traffic control.

                            I couldn't stay long though as wife and I had dinner plans to get away from the kids while grandma/grandpa watched them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've only been to wetdowns that have had alcohol served, but never have any of them gotten out of hand like here. i've participated in water fights, and with the exception of the occasional innocent bystander getting soaked, there was no problems or incidents.
                              Can your radios withstand about 200 gallons of Class A foam sprayed into the cab?
                              if someone intentionally sprayed 200 gallons of foam into the cab, then they should be thrown out of the dept. I don't care how much they have had to drink, that's just stupid. but don't let their stupidity cast a shadow on the 99% of other wetdowns where everyone just has a good time.

                              my only question is, if this all started from a water fight, how did a fire jacket get burned?
                              If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                              FF/EMT/DBP

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