An assistant chief is one of four DeKalb County, Georgia firefighters demoted after an investigation into drinking or being intoxicated on duty during a major ice storm in January. It is a rather complicated and detailed story about various roles investigators say the firefighters played in this latest black eye for the DeKalb County Fire Rescue.
It was a little more than a year ago that the department was dealing with bad publicity surrounding a fire call to an elderly woman’s home. Ann Bartlett died in her burning when firefighters failed to properly respond to her initial 911 call. The fire chief and a number of firefighters and officers lost their jobs during that investigation. With the exception of Chief David Foster most everyone was ordered reinstated to the department.
On Tuesday, Fire Chief Eddie O’Brien announced that Assistant Chief Joseph Tinsley had been reduced in rank to captain despite a month-long investigation that exonerated him, but the chief refused to say why. It was determined that Tinsley drank at Twain’s Billiards & Tap in Decatur with the disciplined firefighters.
Capt. Marcus Reed was demoted two ranks to a firefighter level 2 because his own admission proved his level of intoxication, an investigatory report said. Fire Apparatus Operator William Corbett and Firefighter Joshua Crawford were demoted because they possessed alcohol at Fire Station 24.
O’Brien emphasized that the investigation found no evidence that the firefighters went on any calls while inebriated. He said the intoxicated men reported to the fire station the night before they went on duty intending to sleep off the effects of their drinking.
“They’re all sincere in apologizing to the department, to the county and to the citizens,” O’Brien said. “They didn’t just let me down. They let everybody down.”
Also on STATter911 …
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