Here is the AP wire story
I will post my thoughts as time allows, however, here is the complete AP story re: Baird.
UTICA, N.Y. (AP) - A former volunteer deputy fire chief was
sentenced Monday to 75 days in jail for his role in a rookie
firefighter's death during a "live fire" training exercise last
Alan Baird III, 30, of Westmoreland, was given five years'
probation by Oneida County Judge Michael Dwyer, who ordered Baird
to serve the first 75 days in the county jail.
Dwyer also ordered Baird to perform 100 hours of community
service and barred him from involvement with any fire departments
during his probation.
Baird, a 12-year member of the Lairdsville Fire Department, was
convicted in May of criminally negligent homicide in the death of
19-year-old Bradley Golden.
Golden was trapped on the second floor of a vacant house when a
fire during a Sept. 25 training session went out of control.
Another firefighter and a second trainee survived but suffered
Dwyer, who said he had never seen so much interest created by a
case in his 22 years on the bench, criticized Baird for not being a
leader on that tragic fall night.
"This was not an accident. An accident is something
unavoidable," Dwyer said. "This was a series of bad decisions
that you should not have made."
Baird, who had stood motionless as two members of Golden's
family asked for the maximum penalty in emotion-packed addresses,
openly sobbed when it was his turn to speak.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about
Bradley and what happened that night," said Baird, a father of two
young children. "If there was a way I could change it, I would."
Jurors decided Baird acted recklessly in lighting the fire in a
first-floor sofa bed while Golden was in the second-floor bedroom
posing as one of the victims. The fire quickly burned out of
control and blocked all exits out of the 100-year-old farmhouse 88
miles northwest of Albany.
"You were there. You should have known better," Dwyer said.
Golden's stepsister, Amberley Roberts, who asked Dwyer to impose
the maximum sentence of four years in prison, said the family was
comfortable with the outcome.
"I really liked what he (Dwyer) had to say," Roberts said.
"We had hoped for more, but we're satisfied."
Before his trial, Baird rejected an offer to plead guilty to
criminally negligent homicide in exchange for six months in county
jail and five years' probation. Jurors acquitted Baird of the more
serious charge of second-degree manslaughter and a charge of
While testifying in May, Baird choked back tears and said he was
not solely to blame for Golden's death.
Baird told jurors he had refused to allow Golden to pose as a
victim in the training drill, since the teen had been training only
three weeks and was not yet certified. It was only after the fire
flamed out of control that Baird learned that Golden and two others
were inside the vacant building.
Baird admitted setting a fire in a first floor stairwell but
blamed other senior officials on the scene for allowing Golden to
go into the house. However, he admitted the exercise was poorly
During the five-day trial, Assistant District Attorney Michael
Coluzza called nearly two dozen witnesses to build his case that
Baird, then the assistant fire chief, planned the exercise without
consulting others and without adequate safety precautions.
Outside in the morning sunshine after his son's sentencing,
Baird's father was disillusioned.
"This was traumatic. It has shaken me to the bone," Alan Baird
II said. "Jail time serves no purpose whatsoever."
"There are no winners in this situation," said Bill Vineall,
former fire chief in nearby Sherrill who was in the packed
courtroom. "No matter what side you're on, there is plenty of
blame to go around."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press