Police in China’s northern Inner Mongolia have launched an official investigation into the beating of five newly-recruited firefighters in Wuhai city after a video that showed them being abused by senior soldiers went viral over the weekend, reported China’s Southern Metropolis Daily.
The 16-minute-long clip that recorded the beatings received millions of views and shocked China’s online community, who called it a disgrace and demanded authorities get to the bottom of the scandal. Yet many bloggers, after viewing the clip, said it was just the tip of the iceberg of the corruption-riddled People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The clip showed five young soldiers who were made to stand next to each other and take beatings from what appeared to be senior soldiers. The seniors took turns torturing the new recruits, hitting them in the face, kicking them in their stomach, and banging their heads into a concrete wall. Several of the recruits collapsed onto the floor after being attacked. Yet the torture resumed as the new soldiers were immediately asked to to stand up and take more beatings.
It was apparently a customer of an In-N-Out Burger who blew the whistle on the hazing of probationary firefighters in Orange County, California. According to investigative reporter Tony Saavedra with the Orange County Register, the customer witnessed a half-dozen firefighters in uniform with some unusual haircuts that included reverse Mohawks, clumps of hair missing and a brightly painted scalp. They had arrived at the fast food joint in fire department vehicles and were assigned to Station 22 in Laguna Hills.
That complaint to Orange County Fire Authority Chief Keith Richter prompted an investigation that included consultation with the District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutors declined to file assault charges in connection with two of the firefighters who were held down for their haircuts, but in the end, days off were given to 13 firefighters, six of them probies, for unprofessional conduct.
A December survey of firefighters by the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association that Saavedra wrote about in an article last week, has firefighters describing the investigation as a “witch hunt”. Here’s more from today’s article:
Firefighters in the union survey chalked the hazing up to normal camaraderie.
“What could have been handled by a simple, stern warning, turned into the biggest morale-busting waste of money I have ever seen,” said one firefighter. ”
Said another, “Similar events have happened hundreds of times.”
“We are taking appropriate measures to make sure nothing like this ever happens again at the OCFA.” (Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion)
As for the survey, which Battalion Chief Concepcion says the administration takes seriously, firefighters were quite critical of the department’s leadership in general, comparing the agency to the Titanic and accusing management of lying to the media as a way of responding to controversies.
In Garland, Texas four firefighters received suspensions over the hazing of a rookie. According to news reports, the February incident was brought to the attention of management by the Garland Firefighters Association. The union issued a statement saying, “We’re pleased with the way the fire administration handled the investigation and the punishment”. Chief Raymond Knight, who called the incident embarrassing, says the suspensions of the firefighters were staggered to avoind incurring overtime.
According to records obtained by The Dallas Morning News, second-month firefighter Dalton Harris was sprayed with water hoses, chased down, duct taped, buckled to a backboard and laid on the floor under a water pipe discharging a strong stream of water on Feb. 25.
“Things got a little out of hand at the station and some discipline had to be handed down and we knew that,” said Paul Henley, association president. “We just wanted to make sure the discipline matched what they did.”
Henley said there are means within the rules to honor the tradition and build the team.
“I think he (Chief Knight) had to make a statement,” said Henley, who described the hazing investigation as lengthy and thorough. “It said it’s a new administration and we’re not going to do things the same way. He made a good statement.”
The city’s fire chief says several veteran firefighters at Station #3 chased down Dalton Harris, 20, while the group was washing the trucks on February 25.
Documents allege firefighters Scott Hunt, Oscar Lorenzo and Jeremy Sanford then duct taped the young firefighter to a backboard normally used for patients and held him under a pipe that “was turned on causing a strong stream of water to discharge over Firefighter Harris’ body.”
A supervisor, Capt. Randy Baker, who allegedly watched some of the incident and didn’t stop the group, was also disciplined. None of the firefighters returned News 8’s calls for comment.
Two former East Spencer firefighters and a former police officer were found not guilty this week during a non-jury trial five months after a junior firefighter was shocked with a stun gun.
The incident was said to have occurred at a department Christmas party. The two firefighters — former Chief Shane Cranfield and former Assistant Chief Allen Carlyle — were accused of using a stun gun on junior firefighter John Resino, 18.
According to arrest warrants, the stun gun came from former East Spencer Police Officer James Lambeth.
“I want to say thank you to all my true friends who stood behind me,” Shane Cranfield told WBTV Tuesday afternoon. When asked if had been confident about the outcome, Cranfield said “I had my doubts, I knew I didn’t do it, but I still.”
Cranfield said he believed inconsistencies in Resino’s story led to the not guilty verdict. Even though he was found not guilty, Cranfield said the accusations have taken their toll.
“I have lost my position as the Chief of the East Spencer fire department, as well as my part time paid position. My reputation, career, and life have been ran threw the mud and destroyed. I have been blacked balled throughout the county and shunned by people I have known for years and considered to be my brothers. Along with me, two other people, firefighter Alan Carlyle and officer James Lambeth, have also faced the same ridicule and public embarrassment as myself.”
A judicial official says four firefighters in the French capital have been preliminarily charged with gang raping a colleague. Eight other firefighters received preliminary charges of aggravated violence.
The incident purportedly happened on a bus ride back from an athletic competition on May 6. A second firefighter has also alleged he was attacked.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity citing fire department policy, said Saturday that one of those charged remains in custody.
The official says the accused have claimed they were carrying out an initiation ritual common with new recruits and deny there was any sexual aggression.
Nicolas Cellupica, a lawyer for the two plaintiffs, has called for other firefighters who have suffered similar rituals to come forward.
As part of the alleged hazing incident, the young man was stripped and bitten, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
When he protested, several other young firemen pinned him down while one man sexually assaulted him. According to the claims, an officer was present but did not intervene.
Commentators say the affair threatens to damage the reputation of the Paris brigade, which has an 8,500-strong staff of men and women. Firefighting is one of France’s best-regarded professions and the Paris brigade is highly thought of.
Nate Jobe of the North Hyde Park/Eden Fire Department on the left and Sydney Mclean-Lipinski on the right. In a press release, Vermont State Police said they did not have a processing photo of Joshua Kapusta.
Vermont State Police arrested three Lamoille County, Vermont volunteer firefighters on unlawful restraint and simple assault charges after what police are calling a “practical joke” that was reported as hazing. The three firefighters charged are in their 20s and are from two different departments. The victim is 16-years-old and, according to police, was able to flee after being lured to the Hyde Park firehouse as part of training.
Vermont State Police says the boy had welts and marks on him but was not hospitalized.
Burlington Free Press:
Detective Sgt. Jake Zorn said the three suspects are accused of shooting the boy with Airsoft guns and attempting to tackle and handcuff him March 23. Airsoft guns are replica firearms that fire plastic pellets or BBs.
The firefighters planned to “restrain the juvenile with handcuffs and ropes, then take the juvenile for a ride in the back of a truck on bumpy roads where they would leave him in a remote part of the Town of Eden,” state police said in a news release.
The chief of the Hyde Park Town Fire Department could not be reached for comment. according to the paper. The North Hyde Park/Eden Fire Department chief says he is not aware of hazing ever occurring at his department.
The Burlington Free Press has an interesting quote from Facebook by a woman who says she knows the three firefighters:
The State Police and even the town select board should do more research before slandering the names of 3 people whom at times, risk their lives for the people of their town when called upon. They ask for no compensation, they do this because they love the job, they love the satisfaction they get from helping people. The select board needs to keep to their business and leave the Fire Department alone. Brotherhood for people who perform jobs such as firefighting is not built by coddling. You have to know that you can trust the people you are running into that burning building with wholeheartedly. I have seen my fair share of fire house pranks, this is tame in comparison.
Thirty-seven-year-old Shane Cranfield, who was a part-time employee of the East Spencer Fire Department in North Carolina, was fired yesterday. In addition, 29-year-old Assistant Chief Allen Carlyle, a former chief of the department, has been told not to return as a volunteer. This comes after the incident last month where police say the men shocked an18-year-old firefighter with a Taser nine times during a fire department Christmas party.
Cranfield and Carlyle are both facing assault charges. A town police officer who allowed his Taser to be used in the incident resigned and is also facing criminal charges.
In a dismissal letter to Cranfield, Town Administrator Macon Sammons Jr. said leaders must serve as role models and set standards. They need “the wisdom, the courage and the judgment” to guide others in the right direction, he said.
“Instead, as our fire chief, you were the ringleader of an incident which created community disdain toward the reputation of our fire department and a major source of embarrassment to the town,” Sammons wrote.
A similar letter to Carlyle is more frank.
“Your behavior in this incident was abusive and totally unacceptable,” Sammons wrote. “Further, we believe that you have become a negative influence within our fire department.”
Two East Spencer firefighters and an East Spencer police officer are being charged after investigators said they shocked a junior firefighter nine times at a department Christmas party.
Fire Chief Shane Cranfield and former fire chief Allen Carlyle borrowed a Taser from on-duty police officer James Lambeth about 6 p.m. at the fire department’s Dec. 10 Christmas party, according to Rowan County investigators.
The two firefighters discharged the stun gun several times, the report said, scaring 18-year-old John Resino of Salisbury.
Former Chief Allen Carlyle from East Spencer Fire Department website.
Thursday night, a friend told Eyewitness News, 18-year-old John Resino has been having chest pains ever since the party at the East Spencer Fire Department about two weeks ago.
According to the incident report, the Resino reported two firefighters assulted him with a Taser.
The sheriff's office says Chief Shane Cranfield and firefighter Allen Carlyle shocked him repeatedly. Resino tried to hide in another room, but according to reports, the two firefighters broke a door handle and shocked him up to nine times.
Rowan County firefighters and a police officer are facing criminal charges over an incident in which an 18-year-old junior firefighter was shocked with a stun gun at a Christmas party.
County sheriff's deputies say East Spencer Fire Chief Shane Cranfield and firefighter Allen Carlyle borrowed a Taser gun from on-duty police officer James Lambeth to shock an 18-year-old high school student earlier this month.
Investigators say the teenager ran into another room, but the two firefighters followed him and shocked him as many as nine times.
Lambeth has since resigned from the East Spencer Police Department. Investigators plan to charge him with failure to discharge his duty, a misdemeanor. Cranfield and Carlyle face assault charges.
None of the three could be immediately reached Friday.
A man claims that forcible sodomy is a "prerequisite" for volunteers at the Piermont Fire Department. He says that when his teen-age son volunteered, firefighters "forcibly caused [him] to engage in acts of sodomy, all against his will and consent," and that this "ritual" is "a prerequisite" for all people who want to join.
Mark Bernstein sued the Village of Piermont and three named firefighters in Federal Court, on behalf of his 17-year-old son.
Bernstein claims the village knew about the hazing ritual and "took no steps to prevent this rite of passage and as such acquiesced in its implementation."
He claims that when his son volunteered for the force, in August 2010, he was "battered, physically restrained, pushed, shoved and forced into submission," and that the sexual abuse left him "physically and psychologically ill." It caused him to seek medical and psychological treatment and has left him "permanently damaged."
The father says every prospective firefighter is subjected to this hazing and that Piermont "manifested a deliberate indifference to these violations of civil rights" and created "a receptive atmosphere for the various acts of pedophilia performed by the co-defendants."
The complaint states: "(S)ometime prior to Aug. 14, 2010, and on occasions too numerous to mention, the defendant the Village of Piermont promulgated, fostered and implemented a policy whereby new arrivals ('initiates') into the position of volunteer firefighter would be subject to a form of 'hazing' whereby fellow firefighters would restrain the initiate's movements, depriving him of his freedom of movement, expose their genitals to the said initiate, and attempt to forcibly cause the initiate to place his hand upon and/or fondle the genitals of various members of the Piermont Fire Department, and/or force the said initiate against his will by dint of duress to sodomize an existing firefighter.
"Sixth: That upon information and belief, the aforementioned exercise of what the defendant The Village of Piermont deemed to be 'hazing' was done to each and every named individual defendant herein and further deemed to be a ritual utilized as a 'rite of passage,' a prerequisite in acceptance into the Village of Piermont Fire Department".
The father and son seek damages for battery, civil rights violations and outrage. They are represented by Richard Gilbert with Levine & Gilbert of New York, N.Y.
Piermont, on the west bank of the Hudson River, is a town of about 2,600. Its median household income of $88,000 is 61 percent higher than the state average, according to city-data.com. Its fire department apparently is all-volunteer. The town budget for fire protection is extremely low; the village has no official website. It decided to create an official website 2½ years ago but the site is still under construction, according to an Internet search this morning (Thursday).
Early video of house fire in Tinley Park, Illinois: A neighbor boy with a camera catches this one before firefighters arrive. Listen to the questions asking where is the fire department (did they call?). You can read a few more details about the fire here.
Fire engines, but no fire department: I urge you to take a few moments to watch the videos and read the information about the state of fire protection on Mudge Island in British Columbia. It is a place with two fire trucks and no real fire department. But the citizens have taken the matter, and the hose lines, into their own hands. Some of our readers find what they see inspiring. Other think it is ridiculous. Either way it sure is interesting. Click here.
Another police chief makes the case for taking over the fire department: In Auburn, Maine the acting fire chief feels the bosses showed disrespect toward him and the fire department for failing to include the fire service perspective in the city’s study of combining the police and fire departments. That job went to the police chief who says it could work just fine having public safety officers showing up at fires, putting down their weapons and going in to fight a fire. Watch the story.
Bourne’s back: For a while the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts just stayed in the news as the department dealt very publicly with a series of problems (click here and scroll down). The recent quiet from Bourne has now been broken. Two paramedics are claiming an on-call firefighter drove his personal vehicle recklessly through a crash scene on the way to a fire call. The medics says they were almost struck while tending to a patient. Here is the story.
Probation in hazing incident: A judge has given a year probation to three Connecticut firefighters and another person after a hazing incident we had told you about. This is where a 14-year-old member of the Quaker Hill Fire Department, who had pulled a chair out from underneath a firefighter’s girlfriend, found himself bound to a backboard, gagged and shot with an air gun. Here’s the update.
Consulting firm fired because it had never recommended layoffs: In Palo Alto, California a consultant was dropped midway through a staffing study of the fire department. Council members were shocked to learn the firm had never recommended layoffs in any of its previous studies. According to MercuryNews.com, some on the council were hoping the study would pave the way for cut backs. The official reason for the dropping of the consultant is a “conflict of interest”. Check out this line from the article – “they were surprised to learn at an April 20 finance committee meeting that consulting firm Emergency Services Consulting International was affiliated with an international fire chiefs union.” I knew those fire chiefs would eventually unionize.
What happens in Las Vegas may be shared with Clark County: With both Nevada jurisdictions in battles with firefighters over budget issues, leaders hope to share services like hazmat and heavy rescue in an effort to save money. Here is the latest.
CFSI: The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars start today. Click here for details.
It is Bonanza time: May 7 is the start of the two day Bonanza Extravaganza put on by the Professional Firefighters of Hagerstown, Maryland (IAFF Local 1605). This event, involving music, gaming, big money prizes and much more has become a real happening. The union says, through a foundation set up to handle the profits from the event, firefighters have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-profits in the community and ”a $40,000 donation to Children’s Village that funded every second grader in Washington County to be able to attend a two day fire and police safety educational program”. Click here to read more background information on the event. Here’s the website.
Another fired DeKalb County, Georgia firefighter makes the case for reinstatement: William Greene goes public in his efforts to get his job back after being fired with four others following a botched response to help an elderly woman who said her house was on fire. Greene says he was not given complete information by dispatchers. Read the story.
Mayor’s fund raiser attracts firefighters: We have shared with you a number of stories about the relationship between North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi and his firefighters (click here and scroll down for a recap). If you have read any of them you know that if a large group of firefighters showed up at a fund raiser for Lombardi it wasn’t because they were invited. There were about 250 firefighters with picket signs outside the restaurant last night. Click here for the story. Watch the video.
How sad: During a retired firefighter’s funeral in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, burglars broke into the home the firefighter shared with his brother. Read more.
Union called out for stealing story of 1953 fire: A paranormal researcher who had written a story in 2008 on the 55th anniversary of a nursing home fire that killed 33 people says IAFF Local 2427 reposted that same story on its site. The author says her name wasn’t on the story but credit inhstead was given to someone affiliated with the union. Here’s the story about the story, that we are crediting to TampaBay.com.
Man’s duck story apparently doesn’t hold water: The man admits he set the fire inside the Ride the Ducks building in Seattle. But the story about why he did it might quack you up. (Seriously, what kind of an idiot writes this junk?) Here’s the story.