1. #1
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    Default Female FF Hazing-FL

    This is a heart warming story. Capt Stan, can you shed some light on this?

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    Police Investigating Incident At Firehouse
    Woman Says Alleged Hazing Incident Terrorized Her
    Posted: 7:09 p.m. EST March 17, 2003

    CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- A female firefighter says that she was the victim of a frightening incident involving her fellow firefighters.
    Five firefighters are being investigated after the 28-year-old woman says she was terrorized during a hazing incident on Feb. 22.

    The woman said five men, dressed in masks that covered their faces, burst into the room she was sleeping in at Station 71 at 1:30 a.m. She said the men were carrying an air horn, flashlights, and rope. She said they tried to hogtie her, but she broke away, and pulled the mask off one man, but didn't get a good look at any of them, and they ran from the station.

    The woman's attorney, Joseph Carter, said, "As a woman you fear the worst. You don't know what's happening."

    Police said even though the woman didn't see her assailants, they were caught on surveillance tape coming and going. Now five firefighters, including one who was on duty at the time and a lieutenant from another shift, are all under investigation.

    So far, according to Channel 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier, no one has been reprimanded, transferred, or suspended.

    Don Tetito, with the Coral Springs police, said, "Right now it's just an allegation and an investigation by the Coral Springs Police Department, so we're awaiting their judgment as to whether they are going to press charges or not."

    Joseph said it probably wouldn't have become a police investigation if they men had just talked to the woman and explained themselves.

    Now they face possible felony charges of battery on a firefighter and false imprisonment.

    The Coral Springs Fire Department would not comment on the ongoing investigation.

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    Thumbs down

    Further proof that pigs and mutts come from the same polluted bloodline.

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    There's five idiots! Were they assigned to that station--i.e., did the morons know they were on Candid Camera?

    I'm glad the sister FF had the courage to report this. As I said on the practical jokes thread, this stuff is OK as long as it does not involve sexual issues (among others). Clearly this woman probably thought she was about to be raped. Not cute.
    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
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    What ever happened to just dousing with water and boot polish around a face piece?
    Hog tying someone is completly inappropriate, not to mention dangerous. And an officer taking part in this crap is unbelievable!
    "Some days your the dog, some days your the hydrant"

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    Default **SHAKING HEAD IN SADNESS**

    [size=large]NOT COOL GUYS, NOT COOL[/SIZE]

    I know that I don't really have to ask "What Were You Guys Thinking?" BECAUSE I KNOW ..... YOU WEREN'T!!!

    String'm, tag'm, bag'm, blue'm, 'n tattoo'm!!!!! Then paste thier faces for all to see.
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    As you all know...I'm the first to clown around...BUT this "over-the-top" kind of behavior has got to stop. No woman should be subjected to the kind of fear she was subjected to. That's not fun...it's cruel.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    This kind of behavior is not appropriate in todays fire service, no matter if the victim is male or female. The boundaries were definitely crossed here, and the persons responsible deserve to face the music

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    This incident comes just a few weks after a Coral Springs F/F was dismissed after a burglary arrest he "forgot" to mention came up on a random check of computer records with the Police.

    I have friends in the CSFD after spending sometime with them over the last few years. I sincerely hope none of them were either the victime or the participants in this disgraceful incident.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Looks like their will be 5 openings on the CORAL SPRINGS FD. I can't say they don't deserve it.

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    A truely stupid incident, however I wonder would there have been a news story if the recr?uit they had burst in on had been male?

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    Probably not, but since having women in fire suppression is still relatively rare in most villages/towns/cities, it will still make the news. That is not to say that if this had been done to a male recruit that it should not have been picked up by the media, the incident was completely inappropriate, and all involved should have their collective *****es kicked!

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  12. #12
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    Post nothing here

    George,

    I have heard nothing more than what I read in the papers and what was on the front page of FH.com.

    I did not see that you had started a thread and I started one also... here is a link that contains the story. Not sure if it is the same or not.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=47062

    My thoughts:
    Unacceptable!!!! As others have said, I will be the first to clown around and have done so. But to put someone in fear for their life (if the allegations are true) is totally out of line.

    As more stories surface and I receive them, I will post them here. Hope this one does not get the "sweep under the carpet" syndrome.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  13. #13
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    Post No further explanation...kinda Hush Hush...but here is another story

    Sun Sentinel

    Coral Springs Fire Department incident strikes a chord with female firefighters nationwide

    By Sallie James
    Staff Writer
    Posted March 26 2003

    CORAL SPRINGS -- When Rosemary Bliss became the first female member of a small fire department in upstate New York, six male firefighters immediately quit without ever meeting her.

    "They felt the department was ruined because a woman was joining," said Bliss, 53, now retired, who went on to became a fire chief in northern California and spent 30 years in the profession. "The fire service is such a traditional men's club and the traditions are not dying easily. It takes strong policies and making sure everyone is aware of them."

    News that Coral Springs police are investigating a female firefighter's claim that she was partially hog-tied by her male peers as she slept has struck a chord with female firefighters throughout the country. Numerous Web sites related to the fire service are carrying news of the Coral Springs incident, and women firefighters are following the case closely.

    The brouhaha stems from a Feb. 22 incident in which probationary firefighter Krystyna Krakowski was roused from her sleep by four to five male firefighters. The men had their faces partially obscured by fire retardant hoods. They grabbed her arms and legs and attempted to hog-tie her with plastic handcuffs. No one came to her aid.

    Krakowski, 28, who has declined to be interviewed, has been placed on paid administrative leave. The police are investigating the incident as a possible false imprisonment/battery and have not released names of anyone else who was involved.

    "I am deeply concerned about these allegations," said Coral Springs City Manager Michael Levinson. "Upon closure of the criminal investigation, rest assured, I will take the necessary and appropriate actions." The department has no history of complaints, he said.

    At the time of the incident, Krakowski was the only female on duty in the firehouse.

    Numbers alone ensure isolation is part of every female firefighter's job. According to the national Women in the Fire Service organization, which covers women with career-level positions in fire-fighting, Florida has only 775 female firefighters, with only California being higher at 1,297 firefighters.That compares to approximately 40,000 firefighters in Florida, according to the Bureau of Fire Standards and Training in Ocala.

    Coral Springs' 101-member department has 10 female firefighters, with the highest-ranking woman a lieutenant.

    For women working in the male-dominated profession, harassment of all types is something that continually crops up, said Joan Van Ness, a volunteer New York firefighter who spends winters in Fort Lauderdale.

    "It's the woman who is the odd person out," said Van Ness, who recently attended a Women's Firefighter Seminar weekend in Albany, N.Y., where female firefighters talked about on-the-job harassment. "[The men] can isolate you. The message has to come from the chief of the department, saying I will not stand for this behavior."

    Terese Floren, a retired Ohio firefighter and executive director of Women in the Fire Service, in Madison, Wis., said the "vast majority" of female firefighters have experienced what they would identify as sexual harassment, but said it would be impossible to compile accurate numbers on complaints or lawsuits.

    Most problems are low-level forms of ostracism, such as having conversations stop when you walk into a room, enduring off-color jokes or having colleagues watch the Playboy Channel, she said.

    `This is the culture'

    "It's to maintain the boys' club, to create an uncomfortable atmosphere, to show you this is the culture of this workplace and if you don't like it, too bad," Floren said.

    Those who complain too much are labeled as not being able to stand up to the job, and those who put up with the harassment for some time before complaining are told they aren't credible because they didn't complain before, she said.

    As in many municipalities, Coral Springs employees are schooled on the city's harassment policies, and go through training sessions where the rules are periodically reviewed, Levinson said.

    "We have a zero tolerance policy," Levinson said.

    In Coral Springs, standard operating procedures for the fire department detail banned activities, including "scuffling and horseplay." The definition for horseplay includes "pushing, shoving, teasing, practical jokes, or any other pranks or antics which disrupt the normal work routine or create a risk of danger to the safety of others."

    Employees who violate city harassment policies put their employer at risk for litigation.

    "Sexual harassment is illegal under federal law, state law and Broward County, and if it's illegal, it's going to subject the employer to liability," said Kirk Rascoe, director of the Broward County Civil Rights Division. "This is part of a culture that exists and the rank-and-file can seldom change a culture in a workplace. The changes have to come from the top."

    In addition to clearly spelled out rules, Rascoe said agencies must make sure women serve in leadership positions in traditionally male-dominated professions such as fire and police departments.

    "Particularly in the paramilitary-type operations, you need to have women in positions of authority who can ask questions, confront people and effect change from the top," Rascoe said.

    Taking a middle path

    Female firefighters have to adapt to fit in, Floren said.

    "The consensus is you have to take a middle path. You can't complain about everything that offends you or insults you, or makes your work life difficult," Floren said. "More men are open to the idea that anybody can be a firefighter, but there are certainly men who are uncomfortable with women as peers in the fire stations and will feel free to express that."

    Rhoda Kerr, a deputy chief at the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, regularly makes herself available to talk with women firefighters from around the county.

    "I think the majority of things have a lot to do with inappropriate sexual innuendoes, language, inappropriate touching, things like porno flicks and the Playboy channels. It is stuff that should be no-brainers, but guess what?" Kerr said. She agrees having women in leadership positions is key to instituting change.

    "There are some organizations where there hasn't been gender integration," Kerr said.

    Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Division Chief Stephen McInerny said harassment and pranks have no place in today's fire service, no matter what the tradition has been.

    "There is no fooling around. This is a serious job," McInerny said. "There can be no ambiguity. It is vitally important to have the rules spelled out so the employees know what to expect."

    Sallie James can be reached at sjames@sun-sentinel.com or 954-572-2019.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Ditto to everything said before...definitely not cool.

    Eric

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    I attended a class at FDIC on this type of thing " Occupational Fatalities". Good job Chief Bruno and Candi

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    Angry Well........

    Certainly not one of the CSFD's best days, by a long shot. There are a lot more people in the CSFD beyond those jokers, and my sympathy to them for having to put up with this kind of crap, they deserve much better. I would offer the observation that it appears that women fare somewhat better in a volunteer system than one that is fully paid, for several reasons. 1. Many volunteers are there because they want to be there, to belong, to be part of the crew, True, most paid firefighters are there for the same reason, but full time positions are much more confining, when it's your shift, you have to be there, whereas volunteers often can handle doing things more at their own schedule, thus being able to avoid certain people or situations that arise. 2. Paid departments have specific number of positions at all times, where volunteer membership fluctuates, and can accomodate more people coming and going. 3. It is much easier for women to increase their numbers at a volunteer organization, and they can do it faster. Our organization, the Glenn Dale Vol Fire Association (www.gdvfd18.com) recently has (due to a recruiting effort) increased the number of female members to 31 out of a total membership of 109, and 3 of 13 officers are women. Since the VFD's in this area started admitting women members in the late 60's early 70's era, we've come a long way, and, we're very happy with the current status quo. Everyone gets along pretty well and does a good job. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    I'm just a lowly explorer but I am wondering, why does this happen at all, on duty anyway?
    No longer an explorer, but I didn't wanna lose my posts.

    IACOJ 2003

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    .
    Last edited by fireflyer; 06-30-2003 at 06:14 PM.

  19. #19
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    Smile You Have a Point......

    Fireflyer has raised a point or two. My position is, 1. Please note my use of the terms "paid" and "volunteer". "Professional" is a horse of a different color. Up here, (Mid-Atlantic) most volunteers are professionals, as are most paid firefighters. Professional refers to the standard met by the individual, Training, Education, Experience, and all the other things that go into becoming the best that you can be in this business. A paycheck, on the other hand, is irrelevant to professionalism. On a side note, I use the term paid instead of career because some paid firefighters have objected to the term "career". 2. An organizational policy on harrassment SHOULD be present in every departments documentation. There are laws present at all levels of government that apply to this subject, and anyone who thinks that they are immune to this could learn differently by default. 3. Although I see very plainly where this is coming from, the comment about "women with better training" being a threat to the good old boys club should also recognize that men with more training are viewed with equal suspicion. I would guarantee you that, if I applied to be a member of a VFD where this attitude prevails, my National Pro Board Fire Officer IV and Instructor III certificates would be great cause for alarm. You can also bet that I would fare equally bad going thru the membership process. Please do not take my comments as criticism, rather they are meant to reflect the view from my area of the world. Thanks, Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  20. #20
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    Excellent Commentary Chief Woods... Very very true.

    But dont worry about causing alarm if you apply in Fla... ...They don't recognize Pro Board Certs.. even though they claim to be a Pro Board State
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  21. #21
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    Exclamation Firefighters Suspended

    Here is the follow up story you have been waiting for.... _____________

    Sun-Sentinel

    Six Coral Springs firefighters suspended in hazing case

    By Sallie James and Ardy Friedberg
    Staff WriterS
    Posted April 23 2003

    CORAL SPRINGS· Five Coral Springs firefighters accused of tying up a female firefighter during an apparent hazing were suspended with pay Tuesday after the Broward State Attorney's Office declined to charge them criminally. An on-duty supervisor also was suspended.

    According to assistant state attorney John Hanlon, firefighter KrystynaKrakowski, 28, declined to pursue criminal charges in connection with the Feb. 22 incident in Fire Station #71, 11800 NW 41st St. However, Coral Springs City Manager Michael Levinson suspended the alleged participants and initiated an administrative review.


    "This review is now under way and disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will be levied against any or all of the subjects involved, based upon the extent to which they may have violated administrative policies," Levinson said in a written statement Tuesday. "We maintain a zero tolerance for any such behavior."

    Said Fire Chief Donald Haupt Jr.: "There is no justification for this type of conduct and we intend to take appropriate action in the swiftest manner possible."

    Krakowski, on paid leave since mid-March, declined comment through her attorney.

    Suspended are: firefighter/paramedic Justin Parrinello, 26, a 3-year employee; firefighter/paramedic Dan Doherty, 30, a 2-year employee; firefighter/emergency medical technician Damon France, 30, an almost-3-year employee; firefighter/paramedic John Agostinelli, 36, a 6 1/2-year employee; SWAT medic and fire lieutenant Chris Meyer, 30, an almost 3-year employee and a fire inspector; and firefighter/EMT Michael Matz, 34, a lieutenant who has worked for the city 15 years. Their salaries range from $40,000 to $54,000.

    Investigators said Krakowski was asleep in her fire station bunk room when she was approached by four firefighters wearing black hoods. They shined a light in her face, sounded an air horn, tied her ankles and wrists with plastic "zip ties" and pulled a blanket over her head. They fled when she struggled, freed one hand and pulled the black hood off one firefighter, according to the investigation.

    Pictures of her wrists and ankles showed marks where the cuffs had been.

    Afterward, Krakowski told an assistant chief she had been "attacked by four or five people while sleeping in the bunk," investigators said. Another firefighter told investigators Krakowski was crying and visibly upset after the incident.

    Levinson said all six firefighters will be interviewed by the police department's internal affairs division before any disciplinary measures are taken.

    "She is relieved the criminal investigation is over. It's bittersweet because these guys are working every day and she is at home," said Krakowski's attorney, Joe Carter. "This was a gray area here. They definitely violated the law but they are not criminals here. She wishes the thing would have never happened."

    He added, "She didn't want to see these guys go to jail. All she wanted was an apology and it never happened. She never wanted blood from these guys."

    He did not rule out future litigation.

    Attorney Bruce Alter, representing the accused firefighters, said their intent was not malicious.

    "Since day one, every one of these firefighters has been very remorseful about what happened," Alter said. But pranks are common among Coral Springs firefighters, he said.

    "Apparently this hazing is an integral part of firehouse culture," Alter said. "Each of the firefighters I represent have all been on the receiving end in Coral Springs or elsewhere because these rituals are not apparently limited to Coral Springs."

    Chris Bator, president of the Coral Springs Metro Broward Firefighters Local 3080, said she was likely targeted because she was a probationary firefighter, not because she was a woman.

    Sallie James can be reached at Sjames@sun-sentinel.com or 954-572-2019.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  22. #22
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    Post Follow up

    Miami Herald

    Firemen won't face charges
    Six in Coral Springs suspended in night hazing of female trainee
    By NOAH BIERMAN
    nbierman@herald.com

    The Broward State Attorney will not press criminal charges against five Coral Springs firefighters accused of hazing a young female trainee by rousting her from bed and hog-tying her with plastic handcuffs.

    But all five, as well as a sixth on duty as the firehouse supervisor that night, have been suspended. City Manager Michael Levinson said the men face discipline ''up to and including termination'' if an administrative review shows they've violated policy.

    ''We maintain a zero tolerance for any such behavior,'' Levinson said in a written statement.

    The five men named in the incident admit, through their lawyer, to ``a foolish prank that apparently went awry.''

    The February incident, which also included a bright flashing light and a loud horn, has brought renewed attention to firefighters' age-old hazing rituals and to the disproportionate impact they seem to have on women and minorities.

    The victim in the Feb. 22 incident, Krystyna Krakowski, did not want it to become a criminal matter, but it's clear from her statements to police that she was traumatized.

    She told investigators that she laughed at first, then began to panic as the men cuffed her wrists and legs and pushed them behind her.

    As she began to break free, they fled without taking off their dark smoke-protection masks.

    She wondered why all but one of the other firefighters sleeping in her room did nothing to help her or to prevent the others from entering the station at about 3 a.m.

    Two lieutenants were among the six suspended firefighters: John Agostinelli, a 7-year veteran who held a bright light while Krakowski was restrained by the others and Michael Matz, a 14-year veteran who was sleeping in the room next door.

    The others are: Christopher Meyer, a 2 ˝-year-veteran; Justin Parrinello, 3 ˝ years; Daniel Doherty, 2 years; Damon France, 2 ˝ years.

    Krakowski is a probationary employee.

    ''It just puts me in a terribly weird spot,'' Krakowski told investigators. ``Do I trust my crew too? Was there more people? I don't think they had any idea of the after effect of the joke.''

    After the incident, she was put on paid leave.

    The others had been working, even though their identities spread through the fire department within minutes of the incident, according to several statements taken as part of the investigation.

    Records show Matz, the supervisor in the station, wrote an e-mail to four of the five culprits at 3:20 that morning, suggesting he knew what was going on and who was responsible.

    ''Call me ASAP,'' he wrote to the men. ``We need to talk!!!!''

    Under questioning from investigators, he declined having prior knowledge that Krakowski would be wrestled down and tied up.

    Another firefighter told investigators that Chris Meyer wanted him to warn Krakowski to keep quiet.

    Early on, Krakowski said she wanted no more than an apology. ''She wants to have a career in the fire department,'' said her attorney, Joe Carter. ``She doesn't want to be the one that has her co-workers put in jail.''

    Bruce Alter, a lawyer who represents the five men in the incident, said they would like to apologize -- and have made efforts -- but he has advised them against making contact with Krakowski while the case is investigated. In a letter to the state attorney, Alter reinforced those apologies and said the prank was ``not motivated by ill-will or maliciousness.''
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  23. #23
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    I firmly beleive the days of hazing anyone in any situation are coming to a close.

    This sort of behaviour is not to be tolerated by anyone, in any organization- especially the fire service. As the female said, we need to be able to trust each other out in the field- how can you after an event like this?

    I've got no issue with the practical jokes, but when they involve hog tieing and other physical, stupid stuff, then enough's enough....

    We carry on about being professionals in our field and that we look out for each other... hmmmm
    Luke

  24. #24
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    Some people think that by belittleing, or harassing other people it makes them look like real men. In the fire service the only way to prove yourself is to do the job, and that is the only criteria we should apply, anything else and we're cheating ourselves and the people who depend on us.

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    I am angered to say that now the names of those persons involved in this incident have been published, I know of one of the firefighters involved, someone whom I have met and rode a truck with when I was over there. I am ashamed .
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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