Wichita FF's getting "heat" from "Tonight Show" stunt
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Three Wichita firefighters have caused a
stir within the department after a stunt on a national late-night
talk show in which one set his chest hair on fire.
Now, their actions are under review.
Even the local firefighters union president calls the July 10
gag, performed before millions of late-night viewers of "The
Tonight Show with Jay Leno", an "irresponsible act" because it
contradicts what firefighters preach.
"We don't encourage our kids to do dangerous stunts," said
Wichita fire Capt. Doug Pickard, president of the International
Association of Firefighters, Local 135. "What kind of message did
we send them?"
On Friday, one of the firefighters defended the stunt. Lt. Mike
Corns said because it was a late-night show, the firefighters
thought children wouldn't see the skit.
Corns said they took precautions on stage and followed local
fire regulations. They also tried to represent themselves only as
private citizens, not members of the Fire Department.
"It's supposed to be three crazy guys to entertain people," he
said. All three were off-duty.
Leno introduced the stunt with the warning: "Remember, don't
try this at home." Then firefighter Lloyd Cox ignited the hairiest
part of his chest with a wand-type lighter. The hair flamed for a
few seconds, then he patted it out. At the same time, Corns and
firefighter Dave Shonka shot their fire extinguishers at him.
Shonka declined to comment, and Cox could not be reached.
The Wichita Fire Department is reviewing the incident, Chief
Larry Garcia said Friday. But he would not discuss any possible
discipline against the firefighters.
Garcia did not mince words about the stunt, calling it
"idiotic, at the very best." He viewed a tape of the episode
after it aired.
Garcia also accused Leno, the host of the late-night talk show,
of poor judgment for allowing such a skit. A spokeswoman for Leno's
publicist declined comment.
Corns said he and the other two firefighters did not want to
present themselves as firefighters while on the show, only as
entertainers, he said. They even declined to wear firefighter
equipment, though urged to by the show's staff, Corns said.
But in light banter with Leno, Cox said he was a firefighter
The three did take precautions, Corns said.
Cox used a fire-retardant gel on part of his chest. Although the
two firefighters shot the fire extinguishers, "it was more for
show" than necessity, Corns said. He said Cox wasn't injured.
Corns defended the firefighters' reputations.
"They've saved people's lives, and they've put out extremely
The three friends traveled to Los Angeles at the show's expense,
Although disappointed with the stunt, Garcia also had some
praise for the three, saying they are among some of the
better-skilled firefighters in the department, especially because
of their paramedic training.
The stunt should not reflect on the Fire Department, but the
department suffers some because the three are members, Garcia said.
"They brought shame to themselves, and we're included in
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Re: Time for a reality check
Your "back the brothers at all costs", crap is old and tired. I am a union member. I don't drink the union Kool-aid. If a brother makes a mistake, I will back him. If he does something stupid that embarrases the department and the profession, I am not going to sit on my hands and do nothing.
Originally posted by Pizan1
:mad: :confused: :mad: Hey what you do on your time off is your business. So, I guess because people know I am a firefighter I should not sit in the local tavern and enjoy a pop or two, because it reflects bad upon me and the Fire service. Or I guess I should not cuss when I shank my next golf shot, because the guy next hole over knows me as a firefighter. I am shocked that brothers would take this type of stand against fellow brothers. It was a gag and an act, an act of entertainment. I do not care if they were firefighters, paramedics, doctors, lawyer, or clergymen. What I do out of uniform, as long as it falls inside the law, it is my business. If I want to appear on the Jay Leno and set my balls on fire its my business, not yours and definitely not my employers. As long as they did not say hey were Moe, Larry, and Curly from the Wichita, KS FD and were going to set our friend on fire. There is not a thing their employer can do about it, its not like they were in uniform, or using department property. So, what did they do wrong? NOTHING! Time for some people to take a reality check and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!!
What? Get a life. Nobody can tell anybody how to live their life. It goes to the old adage you do not like it? Do not eat it. Do not like the way it looks? Do not look at it. Do not like what I am saying? DO NOT LISTEN!
I support these guys 100% and I am going to let them know it. Do not throw stones when you live in a glass house, do not judge another person till you walked a mile in their shoes.
Fire preventio is a joke in most departments. It receives a pittanc eof the budget and is historically grossly understaffed. Why? Because of the macho BS attitudes of brain dead fire fighters like these idiots.
You let them know you are with them. But, do me a favor, let them know, also, that there are whole lot of people who think they are morons.