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    Post Baird Guilty

    Hot off the presses....

    Jury finds Baird guilty
    May 22, 2002 2:45pm


    Observer-Dispatch

    UTICA — An Oneida County Court jury Tuesday found former Lairdsville Fire Department officer Alan G. Baird III guilty of criminally negligent homicide for recklessly causing the death of firefighter trainee Bradley Golden during a training exercise last Sept. 25.

    The verdict was announced in a packed courtroom containing equal numbers of Golden and Baird supporters and media representatives.

    Baird, 30, was charged in February with manslaughter and assault for recklessly causing the death of Golden and injuries to Morris by lighting a fire in a vacant old farmhouse on Route 5 in Westmoreland during a Lairdsville-sponsored "live fire" training exercise.

    Baird was Lairdsville first assistant chief at the time and ranking departmental officer at the scene. He has acknowledged starting a first-floor fire in a sofa in the house as part of the drill, which called for Golden and Morris to be rescued by Westmoreland and Lowell firefighters arriving at the scene.

    Baird maintained in trial testimony Monday he was not in charge at the scene and that Westmoreland Chief James Kimball agreed to be incident commander. Prosecution witnesses, including Kimball and Lairdsville Chief Lance Croman, have said they thought the drill would only involve use for a second-floor "burn barrel" to create smoke.

    Golden, 19, died of asphyxia due to inhaling superheated air, prosecuting First Assistant District Attorney Michael Coluzza said. The 2001 Clinton High School graduate been a Lairdsville firefighter only three weeks and had not received proper training, trial testimony showed.

    In his closing argument, defense lawyer Robert P. Moran Jr. told jurors that Baird is the only person who accepted responsibility for the training death, but others are also to blame. "The system failed because nobody stepped to the plate and said, "No, that's wrong,"" Moran said. "He was left alone to fend for himself. They hung him out to dry, that's what they did." Coluzza urged jurors to consider the evidence and not Baird's status as a firefighter. "It's disagreeable to sit in judgment of a fireman. It's difficult to prosecute a fireman. But it's necessary here. No one is above the law," he said.

    http://www.uticaod.com/news/daily/verdict.htm
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

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    Rest well brother Golden.

    Justice is served.

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    With the conviction of Alan Baird in the death of Bradley Golden, justice has just begun to be served. I am sure that the trial of Alan Baird was just the beginning; that there will be others brought to trial in this tragedy, as well as a wrongful death suit.

    Whatever the Courts give Alan Baird for a sentence, he should never be allowed to don the uniform or turnouts of a firefighter again.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default Cap

    Agree completely.

    One of the most moving things for me has been to read the comments expressed in various parts of this forum by many people.

    Damn, I have been staring at the screen for five minutes trying to find the words, so I guess i will just say

    Stay Low, Stay Cool.

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    I've got to believe that others will be charged, especially with some of the inconsistencies in the testimony when compared to the evidence that was reported. I can't believe the prosecution gave Kimball immunity for what he proferred. Surely he's given them more than what has been relesed.

    I'm sure that you'll soon see the civil suits flying against several of the principals in this case.
    Steve Gallagher
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    Default As Expected

    I expected that the jury would find for conviction on the lesser charge, which was most likely the correct course of action for them based on what I could gather from the testimony that was presented here. I agree with many here that the conviction and probable probation of Alan Baird should not be the end of this story. There appears to be an endemic problem with training and qualifications of personnel in this department that should be brought to account and corrected as well. Only then will the family of Brad Golden have any hope for peace. Rest well brother, we miss you and mourn your passing.
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

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    Post As expected

    Well I pretty much expected that the end result would be the lesser charge, I agree with everyone else, that he should never wear the uniform again. Look for more charges in this particular case as well as others in the future.
    COFire
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    Default Lairdsville Verdict

    Justice Served: Now EVERY FD should be made aware of this situation and take a good look at themselves. After the 9/11 tragedy the scope of training was for terrorism attacks and weapons of mass destruction.
    We cannot forget our skill levels for the incidents we have been used to. Let the younger members strengthen themselves and work hard to be aware of the credentials that a Chief must carry. ALL Firefighters should be constantly acting as Safety Officers and all Firefighters must look out for each other. Every Department has the new guy with limited training, and no one wants to go interior with him until he is experienced. Everyone has to help these probies get that experience. Lets help them and do it safely. Someday that probie may be the only other guy available for search & rescue or the attack line.
    On a second note; Best of luck to the Lairdsville Fire Department to regroup and strengthen itself now that this is behind them. Alot can be learned from mistakes (or tragedies) and lets hope they can overcome this one and move forward, not just for them, but for their community also.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
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    I agree that justice has just begun to be served. Mr. Golden, his family and fellow fire fighters deserve better then to allow the other people that were responsible for this tragety to go unpunished. I sincerely hope the DA starts with Spaven and Crowman, and work their way up the food chain from there.

    I'm sure Mr. Moran will attempt an appeal, I hope the judge wont allow it.

    Hopefully one of you can answer this question for me. Is there any way the state can actually prevent Baird from donning turnouts again? I mean is there legislation or something that can prevent him from going to a different vollie dept and working there? I'm not very familiar with the recruiting practices in the states, never mind the practices for vollie depts. I know up here this conviction would prevent employment at any paid dept, as I am sure it would in the states, but what about the vollie depts, do they do a criminal record search? I would like to think that no one in their right mind would allow Mr. Baird on the end of a hose again, but this trial has put question in my mind as to whether he ever should have been allowed in the first place, never mind in any kind of command position.

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    Temptaker:
    There is no guarantee, however right now he has LIABILITY written all over his forehead in scarlett letters.

    There is no requirement that I know of to run background checks, but many departments do them (mine does). That would (hopefully) weed him out.

    The state of NY can't really pull his FF certification since it appears he only has 9 classes.

    Unfortunately there might be people out there (including in his own department) that may allow him to continue to be a firefighter. That would be a slap in the face as well as a serious disservice to anyone that may end up on the recieving end of his next "mistake".

    Only time will tell.
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

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    Temptaker:

    Here in NY, there is a law (I believe) for background checks on ARSON convictions. Independent Volunteer Departments basically run on their own by-laws. Fire Districts or Village owned Departments, run by a Board of Commissioners or Village Officials, would have to take a real hard look at the Liability this individual would bring with him.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
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    Exclamation Attn: Officers and Instructors!

    With the guilty verdict now in, every one of us charged with the responsibility of training or supervising others must be well aware of the consequences of our actions. How many of us, during live fire training have been challenged to “make it hotter?” Sometime just to prove how tough we are we load up the burn building with “just a little bit more.” Most trainees will never complain about the safety of an evolution in front of their peers, either because they trust their instructors or they do not want to appear to be a wimp. It is up to the officers and instructors to provide meaningful training in as safe an atmosphere as possible. Now is the time for each of us to step back and take a good look at ourselves, and our supervisory methods.

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    Temptaker,
    I don't think he'll be able to be a firefighter with a felony conviction. I'm not sure if it was state law or just dept policy, but my old dept in NY specifically looked for felonies and any arson conviction.

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    BITTERSWEET. But, what did you expect? Alan Baird III had managed since this tragedy to point the finger at everyone else. His defense attorney managed to do it in his closing arguments. I guess the plea-bargain that was turned down early on is looking pretty good right about now. Though the ending was somewhat predicable, it is still a sad, sad ending. You have a dead firefighter and his grieving family, two firefighters permanently injured, a fire district in turmoil and a nation's fire service that isn't any closer to a solution on national standards for training.
    This verdict will never wash the bad taste left in my mouth by a completely stupid and completely avoidable self-serving act by a firefighter who, instead of teaching his people to respect the dangers of fire, taught a nation that volunteer departments are still not willing to learn from past mistakes and improve the state of our national fire service. He will be the poster boy, whether we like it or not for the volunteer fire service and that makes me sick to my stomach.
    So, here we go again; gaining the trust of your men-gaining the respect of your communities. Thank you, Alan Baird III. The bailiff has some papers for you to sign.
    To the family of Bradley Golden; God bless you.

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    Originally posted by AFD368
    Temptaker:

    Here in NY, there is a law (I believe) for background checks on ARSON convictions. Independent Volunteer Departments basically run on their own by-laws. Fire Districts or Village owned Departments, run by a Board of Commissioners or Village Officials, would have to take a real hard look at the Liability this individual would bring with him.
    - This conviction is not an arson charge. He could leave his department and join another in NY and there is nothing preventing that.

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    except for one small thing

    "And your name is?"

    "And Where were you last stationed?"

    "And you are joking... Right.?"

    That would just about do it.

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    To BxAlarm:
    I realize that this is not an Arson case, I was only stating that there is a law and allowances for Arson backgrounds. I know of a Department that allowed a convicted felon into their ranks (Grand Theft) after he was booted out of his home Department. He served his time, but because of by-laws, booted from one and picked up by another.
    Let's just hope that this is a learning experience for everyone, and that Departments work on their Safety & Survival training.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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    There is no law in NY State governing felons and becoming firefighters, other then Arson as already stated. First off, god bless FF Golden, may you rest in peace knowing someone has to make amends for the price you paid. May your family also find some solace.

    Secondly, I also figured the jury would go for the lesser charge, based on my prior law enforcement experience, and I have to say that I also reading what testimony I could and the info posted on the What Went Wrong section I also would have probably voted the same way.

    Finally, I have to say that I'm on the opposite side of most of your opinions. Mr. Baird should be afforded the same opportunities that any other convicted person, be it felony or misdemeanor, and that is once his sentence is served, his debt to soceity is paid. Regardless of whether or not I completely believe in this to me is also irrevelant. While I have always felt Mr. Baird was wrong, and guilty of what he was charged with, I have always had some sense of sympathy for him also. If he walked through the doors of a station I was working at tomorrow, and asked me where to get an application to be a vollie, I would hand it to him, and for several reasons. First, he should have to and want to hit the road and travel to speak of the mistakes he and his department made, and make the point he was from BFE, and that it can happen anywhere. That is once the microscope and preconceived notions of him have cooled off some. I'd also give him based on many firefighter stories I have read and heard of involving testing positive for drug use, DWI convictions, and not to mention many other actual incident firefighter fatalities that investigations have found numerous violations by the department and municipality involved that should have been fixed, change, etc. before the deaths occurred. Mr. Baird also by now, I'm sure knows many of the standards inside and out, but regardless he wouldn't be conducting, nor do I honestly feel he would want to anytime soon. Many of you may not know how many convicted people you work with on a daily basis already. Some who may have intenionally committed high/violent felonies without remorse, or any real premeditation. That is the American way, and again, whether or not I, you or anyone likes it. Once his sentence is up, Mr. Baird only has to answer to his own guilt, and the lord above.
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    If everything that has been presented is in fact true, this verdict is TOO lienent!
    Carter's Firehouse.com latest entry says it all.
    HELLO NFPA 1403!!!!!!!
    This guy screwed up big time. I'm sure others will be charged shortly. Having been invloved with the planing of several live fire training exercises as a volunteer, we spent alot of time making sure we had covered all of the bases as far as NFPA and department SOPS, etc. This guy makes the volunteer fire service, at the least his departemnt, appear to have the attitude of not caring about the "rules" and guidelines that are there to protect us.
    It is sad enough to see one firefighter die in the line of duty, this was totally preventable and unexcusable!

    The above statements are my opinion and in no way reflect the opinion of my present or past departments.

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    Hopefully one of you can answer this question for me. Is there any way the state can actually prevent Baird from donning turnouts again?
    In NJ, a person cannot hold a public office is he is convicted of a felony that is related to his position or was a violation of the public trust. Too bad they don't have that law in NY. Wanna bet he stays right in Lairdsville and those people welcome him back like a defeated warrior?

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    One of the first comments I remember reading was the defense attorney saying, "What is NFPA 1403? The Lairdsville firefighters were unaware of these NFPA standards, Moran said. "There may be proper guidelines or procedures but they're not known by these firefighters," he said.
    Moran argues that these guidelines should have been distributed to fire departments by the state. "The guidelines should be given to every volunteer," he said. "They can't follow them if they can't find them." "My client has never heard of it and it has never been made available to him." Baird himself testified that there is no formal training for training officers. Give me a break here! I immediately knew that something was up. Either this department's leadership is so far out of touch or there was a cover up brewing. Someone in the fireservice that has never heard of NFPA standards or "not know how to get them," oh come on now. I am the training / safety officer for my department and an instructor for the Alabama Fire College. I am held totally responsible for every student and their safety under my direction at all times. And 1403 is followed to the "T" and then some during live fire exercises. I carry copies of the NFPA standards on my laptop that concern me and my duties. It took very little effort for me to get them. There is no excuse when it comes to a fellow FF's life. This exercise should have never taken place. Someone dropped the ball here and everyone involved should have to dribble. Justice may have been served but it was light weight. God bless our fallen comrade.......
    Last edited by TWalker; 05-23-2002 at 01:39 AM.
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    Question

    I have to agree with many that this was and still is a real tragic event. I also believe that if that was most of you you would be having other thoughts. I would be letting this person into my station with open arms for a few reasons. 1)there is no doubt that he has learned his lesson, 2)I am possitive that he did not start the day thinking how he can hurt one of OUR own, 3)This was a group effort by all involved (line officers). I think that we should be trying to help that department and personal to get over this very tragic event. I sure would expect help from everyone if anything (God Forbid) ever happened in my department. It almost hurts to think that everyone is turning thier back on this Person and Department instead of trying to help them out. I agree that this was a preventable event and should never have happened but it did so lets join together and help each other out. We all need to look at how we handle everything that we do so that this does not happen to us. I hope we all learn from this and make the FIRE SERVICE a better place to be. I think that after all the tragic events that have happen to the fire service over the past few years we all jois together for the betterment of our organization.
    Kim Jennings
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    Until I read Ms. Golden's post, I had not heard about this incident...then I jumped over to this thread and started reading...
    All I have to say is UGH.
    What kind of a leader sets a structure on fire and then sends someone who has only been in training for a matter of weeks smack-dab into the middle? What a moron. I agree with you all who say he has no business ever wearing the uniform again. I wouldn't want somebody that stupid coming to my house to put out a blaze.

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    Unhappy Alan Baird III

    Originally posted by George Wendt, CFI
    Wanna bet he stays right in Lairdsville and those people welcome him back like a defeated warrior?
    Goerge, I agree that the people of Lairdsville would welcome him back, however, my gut feeling is that Alan Baird III will walk away from "active" firefighting forever. IF he does jail time, and that is not a given at this point....he will serve his time, deal with the upcoming civil lawsuits, deal with submitting written depositions for upcoming charges that may be filed against Kimball, Spaven and/or Croman.....and then he will disappear from public sight.

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    In reviewing these threads over the past few weeks, I am saddened by a number of things.

    First, and most obvious, the senseless death of one of our brothers. My prayers go out to the friends and family of Brad Golden.

    Second...I am alarmed by the initial defense statement, inferring that Baird can't be held to certain standards, because he is just a volunteer. Shame on you Bob Moran.

    Third...regarding the testimonies. The backstabbing and sidestepping that went on inside that courtroom makes me ill. Was there no one willing to accurately depict the who, what, where, when, and whys of that fateful day....or was everybody just attempting to cover their A**?!

    Fourth.....out of more than 24,000 members of these forums, a grand total of 119 found time to particpate in the poll. Considering the implications of these charges and the ultimate conviction...I find this rather disturbing. Are the members of the firefighting community paying attention to this incident? I would hope that the name Lairdsville would be known in every firehouse throughout the United States. Sadly, that is apparently NOT the case. For example, I submit the following:
    Originally posted by jiffy911

    Until I read Ms. Golden's post, I had not heard about this incident...then I jumped over to this thread and started reading...
    How many others claim the same ignorance of this incident? What needs to be done, so that each and every firefighter is aware of what happened in Lairdsville?

    Also...out of more than 24 THOUSAND forum members, only a mere handful participated in these related threads. MAYBE 25 or 30 of you posted your comments and concerns....and I think I'm being generous with those numbers. It was the same group of colleagues...each and every day. Granted, there were many viewing the threads...but I find it an indication of the attitude that..."that doesn't affect me" or "that could never happen here."

    Finally....to my colleague, Temptaker; the family and prosecution team apparently WERE monitoring these forums. No further comment.
    ----------------------------------------------

    I pray we learn from this tragedy. As for the fat lady singing BOB, it's an old Johnny Cash tune. (I hear the train a comin'...........)
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 05-23-2002 at 05:36 AM.
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    Well, they say justice is served and that's all one can ask for but it dosen't bring back Mr. Golden now though, does it? I truely believe it is time to start screening these applicants to the fire service better. If the law says you cannot refuse people into the fire service then you better not advance them to the position of officer if they don't know what they are doing. The need for training is very real, nobody is born a firefighter and nobody remembers everything 20 years after they learn something, that's why we train. We also need competent people to do the training. You can't let the position of officer go to your head, especially a training officer. NFPA guide lines are set for a reason and I believe they should be followed, if not then the number one factor on EVERY incident whether it be a training exercise or the real deal, is the safety of everyone on the scene. As far as Mr Baird being welcomed bach as defeated warrior, I hope not, he should not even wear a boy scout uniform again, I also think he will serve some jail time. Let's hope a lesson is learned here and this type of thing never happens again, be safe my brothers and GOD BLESS THE UNION!

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