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  1. #101
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    that should have disqualified him as a responder even once his own department was dispatched,

    Ok, slight...but fundemental flaw in your arguement.

    HE DIDN'T RESPOND.

    He was there, the world blew up in front of his face. He acted.

    You can cite this law or that law or why this city or that city should be responsible, or say well, he didn't follow this rule or that rule.

    But that doesn't make it either right, and it certainly doesn't make it acceptable.

    It doesn't make it right to nullify it because he was drinking or didn't have PPE because those factors where utterly trivial in comparison to the scale of the incident and the need for immediate action. I'm not even going to try and explain that more, because frankly you're either capable of reasoned thought and can understand the world isn't black-and-white regulations; or all you do is follow the book no matter how inadequate it is to the situation you face.

    And it doesn't make it acceptable even if legal. It means the law is inadequate or wrong.

  2. #102
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    And if many believe that it is wrong this time, then something needs to be done to make it RIGHT for the next time.
    Strip away all of the rhetoric, set aside all of the "what ifs" and all of the moral/ethical/legal arguments and what you got is a FIREFIGHTER who needs help.
    Instead of making him the focus of all of the pointless points, ask what can be done to improve his condition/situation. NOW.
    The laws that allows for this type of injustice will take time to fix.
    But Burgess can use help now.
    CR
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  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    And if many believe that it is wrong this time, then something needs to be done to make it RIGHT for the next time.
    Strip away all of the rhetoric, set aside all of the "what ifs" and all of the moral/ethical/legal arguments and what you got is a FIREFIGHTER who needs help.
    Instead of making him the focus of all of the pointless points, ask what can be done to improve his condition/situation. NOW.
    The laws that allows for this type of injustice will take time to fix.
    But Burgess can use help now.
    CR
    Law Enforcement has recently won a long fought battle to get a nationwide "concealed carry" law passed that permits peace officers to legally carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the United States. This was justified for many reasons including self preservation and potential response to terrorist activities.

    Is the fire services willing to go to battle to pass a law that permits a firefighter to function as a firefighter anywhere in the USA if they encounter an "emergency" that they are qualified to deal with? What limits and restrictions do you put into the language of such a bill? Will the career firefighters expect the bill to require NFPA Level 2 training? If so, will the majority of the firefighters in this country who are volunteers lobby to permit lesser levels of training?

    It is something worth looking into... but be careful of what you wish for.
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    that should have disqualified him as a responder even once his own department was dispatched,

    Ok, slight...but fundemental flaw in your arguement.

    HE DIDN'T RESPOND.

    He was there, the world blew up in front of his face. He acted.

    You can cite this law or that law or why this city or that city should be responsible, or say well, he didn't follow this rule or that rule.

    But that doesn't make it either right, and it certainly doesn't make it acceptable.

    It doesn't make it right to nullify it because he was drinking or didn't have PPE because those factors where utterly trivial in comparison to the scale of the incident and the need for immediate action. I'm not even going to try and explain that more, because frankly you're either capable of reasoned thought and can understand the world isn't black-and-white regulations; or all you do is follow the book no matter how inadequate it is to the situation you face.

    And it doesn't make it acceptable even if legal. It means the law is inadequate or wrong.
    You say he didn't respond; how far away from a scene do you have to be in order to be considered responding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyler101
    You say he didn't respond; how far away from a scene do you have to be in order to be considered responding?
    He didn't respond with his department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman
    What if a drunk off-duty firefighter...
    And what does that have to do with this case?

    Maybe, ThNozzleman & other what-if’ers, you’d have a valid scenario if he had been slouched in a recliner at home, in a drunken stupor, heard the radio chatter for West Warrick 911, ran out the door without his gear, and drove away on the opposite side of the road to define for himself the epitome of the freelance firefighter.

    Even if he was triple the legal limit, his in-depth recollection of the events that night make it somewhat unlikely that he was harmfully oblivious to his actions and surroundings that night.

    I'm no shrink, but, it is just a mildly theoretical notion of mine that people who are drunk-off-their-arses don't wake up a few days later with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! At the most, maybe a killer hangover and an "Uh-oh, these aren't my wife's panties"-type discovery, with no memory of what-the-hell happened.

    AA rants aside-

    All my bets are on: that (on-duty) FF Burgess was aware of what he was doing the night of the fire. He probably declined treatment because he wasn’t experiencing the effects of PTSD right-away. Unfortunately, he's only getting about 10% praise due (which he isn't asking for) and 0% assistance.

    If only some people spent as much time trying to help fellow firefighters as they do spending long hours pondering to come up with a hypothetical counter-argument like…

    What if a drunk off-duty firefighter...
    Oh, brother.

    Like CR said, this needs to be made right for the future.

    Free2me: FYI and off-topic: I have stickers and a plate for the front of my vehicle. Sue me. They're cheaper than lights and give the traffic-directing Sherriff’s Deputy a distant indication that I'm probably not interested in the detour.

    Q: When is a Firefighter not a firefighter?
    A: (You know my answer)
    "Yeah, but as I've always said, this country has A.D.D." - Denis Leary

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  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by THTMAN
    The city says they will not cover him because he was "off duty", but I bet if he was to get into trouble with the law when "off duty" they would be bringing Department charges against him. What's the difference between the two?
    Thank you...

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodSendRain
    And what does that have to do with this case?

    Maybe, ThNozzleman & other what-if’ers, you’d have a valid scenario if he had been slouched in a recliner at home, in a drunken stupor, heard the radio chatter for West Warrick 911, ran out the door without his gear, and drove away on the opposite side of the road to define for himself the epitome of the freelance firefighter.

    Even if he was triple the legal limit, his in-depth recollection of the events that night make it somewhat unlikely that he was harmfully oblivious to his actions and surroundings that night.

    I'm no shrink, but, it is just a mildly theoretical notion of mine that people who are drunk-off-their-arses don't wake up a few days later with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! At the most, maybe a killer hangover and an "Uh-oh, these aren't my wife's panties"-type discovery, with no memory of what-the-hell happened.

    AA rants aside-

    All my bets are on: that (on-duty) FF Burgess was aware of what he was doing the night of the fire. He probably declined treatment because he wasn’t experiencing the effects of PTSD right-away. Unfortunately, he's only getting about 10% praise due (which he isn't asking for) and 0% assistance.

    If only some people spent as much time trying to help fellow firefighters as they do spending long hours pondering to come up with a hypothetical counter-argument like…



    Oh, brother.

    Like CR said, this needs to be made right for the future.

    Free2me: FYI and off-topic: I have stickers and a plate for the front of my vehicle. Sue me. They're cheaper than lights and give the traffic-directing Sherriff’s Deputy a distant indication that I'm probably not interested in the detour.

    Q: When is a Firefighter not a firefighter?
    A: (You know my answer)

    Sorry, But I had just gotten there and left my first beer on the bar. Thanks to all who support. And to those of you in question,You might want to show up at a union meeting once and a while.

    Steve B. Proud member of local 1363

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by free2me
    Why should he be compensated? He acted on his own, in a jurisdiction that he was not employed in, without proper PPE, and when he was done, he refused to be treated and or evaluated. I hate to say this but he probably loses 5 mpg's due to all the firefighter stickers in the window of his truck!

    Look, I do not think what he did was not heroic and, or would I have not done the same. But, I do know that had I been involved I would have not only sought some after care, but I would have made sure that I went through some stress debriefing. I am also surprised that who ever, if any, ran their CISM did not seek out this guy.

    I think it is sh*tty that the city, or his department did not offer to take care of him. I just wish him the best of luck.

    If you only new me pal. The last thing I do is look for tragedy. I am 100% UNION and I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and I can't believe I am even responding.

    S Burgess

  10. #110
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    Under some state laws ..just as if an Officer (PD) askes you to do something you have to comply failure not to is unlawful. Having been in situations I have ordered citizens to act. With do regard for their safety! So drop the issue with me some of you safety nazis! . The key legal issue here is as FFFRED mentioned.

    Burgess ran up to the truck. He saw a friend, Lt. Roger St. Jean, from his days in West Warwick.

    "There's 100 people trapped up against that door," Burgess said he told St. Jean.

    St. Jean looked over the situation, and then told Burgess to "grab a line" for himself and another firefighter, and keep water on the door to keep it cool.

    It appears me that the city is responsiable for this FF acting off duty. He was ordered to help meaning the Lt. and his city is responsible for him and his actions. The Lt. on duty make a judgement call and it was his call to make and thats why they get paid the bigger bucks..

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  11. #111
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    If only some people spent as much time trying to help fellow firefighters as they do spending long hours pondering to come up with a hypothetical counter-argument like…
    It was a hypothetical question...and I notice that your rant didn't contain an answer, either. Is a city supposed to be responsible for the actions of their off-duty firefighters who screw something up, or get someone hurt? What about the "personal responsibility" so many here are always writing about?
    If only some people spent as much time trying to help fellow firefighters as they do spending long hours pondering to come up with a hypothetical counter-argument like…
    Call it what you will, it's a valid point...and it certainly didn't take "hours" to come up with.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman
    It was a hypothetical question...and I notice that your rant didn't contain an answer, either. Is a city supposed to be responsible for the actions of their off-duty firefighters who screw something up, or get someone hurt? What about the "personal responsibility" so many here are always writing about?

    Call it what you will, it's a valid point...and it certainly didn't take "hours" to come up with.
    They would be covered under the "good samaritan" laws.

    The Station fire was a once in a career event, and each and every one of you know that if you were thrust into the same situation, you would done exactly what Steve Burgess did in this situation.

    If he had managed to put out the fire with a couple of extinguishers, everyone would be calling him a hero. He did his duty as a firefighter and some of you are excoriating him.

    The line of mutts is forming on the left.... I'll be on the right side.
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  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguybass
    Sorry, But I had just gotten there and left my first beer on the bar. Thanks to all who support. And to those of you in question,You might want to show up at a union meeting once and a while.

    Steve B. Proud member of local 1363
    I think it sucks that you have to come on here to defend yourself.

    Even though I'm not a firefighter, I'll be standing next to Gonzo!
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  14. #114
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    They would be covered under the "good samaritan" laws.
    By "they", do you mean the individual firefighter, or the city he/she works for? I'm pretty sure that these types of laws only protect people trying to provide aid in emergency medical situations, and do not apply to those committing gross misconduct or acts in a negligent way. I'm not suggesting that this is what happened in this instance, of course...but it very easily could happen. I do not believe that an "order" from an officer in another city to an off-duty firefighter who is not equipped to do the job safely constitutes a duty to act, nor do I believe the city I work for should be responsible for my behavior while I'm not on duty. If I'm injured while "helping" at a fire during a visit to Tokyo, should my city pony up for that, too?
    The Station fire was a once in a career event, and each and every one of you know that if you were thrust into the same situation, you would done exactly what Steve Burgess did in this situation.
    I know I would have. But, I would not expect to be treated as if I were injured on duty, because I wasn't. While this blurs the line for many, I believe the cities are both on legally sound ground.

  15. #115
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    Consistency is a wonderful thing.

    A few months ago we had a thread about a off-duty career firefighter who was sitting in a bar (which is what The Station basically is) and went inside a building acoss the street to rescue a woman. The general feeling in that post was that person was not acting as a firefighter, but was acting as a private citizen, which releived him from the need for bunker gear, etc.

    Now we have a similiar situation, and most posters feel Burgess was acting as a firefighter, even though he was out of his didtricct, not a private citizen, and should be compensated.

    The two situations are vitually identical yet the conclusions are different. As I said, consistency is a wondeful thing.

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman
    By "they", do you mean the individual firefighter, or the city he/she works for? I'm pretty sure that these types of laws only protect people trying to provide aid in emergency medical situations, and do not apply to those committing gross misconduct or acts in a negligent way. I'm not suggesting that this is what happened in this instance, of course...but it very easily could happen. I do not believe that an "order" from an officer in another city to an off-duty firefighter who is not equipped to do the job safely constitutes a duty to act, nor do I believe the city I work for should be responsible for my behavior while I'm not on duty. If I'm injured while "helping" at a fire during a visit to Tokyo, should my city pony up for that, too?

    I know I would have. But, I would not expect to be treated as if I were injured on duty, because I wasn't. While this blurs the line for many, I believe the cities are both on legally sound ground.
    Legal doesn't make it right, Noz. You know that better than anyone else. I thought you had a pretty solid moral/ethical compass. You're not playing devil's advocate are you?
    So, let me ask this: would you feel the same way if you were injured while off duty making a grab or helping hump hose and could not return to work before FMLA ran out and as a result, lost your job? Or would you be banging the drum along with your brothers to treat what you did with dignity and do the "RIGHT" thing? Not necessarily the "LEGAL" thing?
    Scoot over, Gonzo. I'm on the right.
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  17. #117
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    This situation is somewhat similar, although it's a police officer:

    From: http://www.tblofmi.com/ForgottenHeros.asp

    Officer Chris Garon
    Hamtramck Police Department

    On Duty or Off Duty
    "Oath of Office"
    By Laurie A. Reinarcher, M.A., L.P.C., DAPA
    Executive Director/Founder


    It’s your day off and you take the time to go ice fishing! After being on the ice for several hours, you hear frantic activity and screaming outside your ice shanty. A man riding his snowmobile has broken through the ice. Another well-meaning rescuer has also fallen into the freezing water while attempting to save the snowmobiler. Both men are struggling to survive due to the heavy clothing and freezing temperatures.

    This near tragic incident had a great ending for the persons rescued. However, for the off duty law enforcement officer who saved both of the potential drowning victims, luck was not on his side. During the rescue efforts he felt an immediate excruciating and debilitating pain race through his back and into his buttocks, resulting in four major surgeries to correct the injuries. This heroic and life saving deportment has resulted in more than a two-year nightmare that bedevils Hamtramck Police Officer Christopher Garon.

    Imagine as a law enforcement officer when you take the “oath of office” which is an acceptance of responsibility to protect, serve and defend the community in which you serve, if your department directed you too only utilize your skills, education and training when on duty, and only within your jurisdiction. If a law enforcement officer followed these directives, the aforementioned two drowning men possibly would not have been saved, as it was off duty and outside the jurisdiction of this officer. Hamtramck Police Department did just that. Following this heroic action, Officer Christopher Garon was denied workman’s compensation and medical coverage for his off duty actions.

    The above incident raises the question of an officer performing law enforcement actions off duty, if it is known that a department or municipality is not going to support their trained actions and natural instincts through the provision of financial and medical benefits and possible occupational jeopardy.

    Further consider that following an off duty police action which results in an injury requiring multiple surgeries if the department and the municipality are denying medical coverage due to the injury or injuries being off duty and out of jurisdiction, would you as an officer still have performed the police action knowing that you are jeopardizing your career, financial security, family security and physical health?

    The City of Hamtramck has an Oath of Office and Law Enforcement Code of Ethics that are the guiding principles for all law enforcement officers to live their lives by, whether officially on duty or off duty. The City of Hamtramck stood firm on their position to deny Workman’s Compensation benefits and all medical bills and expenditures to Officer Garon for his honorable actions while off duty. The Thin Blue Line of Michigan worked with Officer Garon and the Hamtramck Police Officers Association to engage knowledgeable and professional legal counsel, as the City of Hamtramck continued to maintain an unreasonable position on this matter.

    The Thin Blue Line of Michigan continued its assistance to Officer Garon in this land mark case preparing, testifying and working closely with legal counsel to impact a favorable resolution for Officer Garon and all brethren in law enforcement. Anything short of a positive decision and settlement would send a devastating shockwave throughout Michigan’s law enforcement community as it relates to off duty law enforcement activity.

    Judgement day for Officer Garon begins nearly two years from his date of injury and heroic act on January 10, 2005 in front of the Honorable Andrew G. Sloss, Magistrate for the Worker’s Compensation Bureau. Testimonies from Officer Garon, Isaiah MacKinnon and Scott Reinacher of the Thin Blue Line of Michigan were offered in support of Christopher Garon.

    Testimony by two witnesses on behalf of the City of Hamtramck’s should be of the utmost interest to the readers of this article. The true test of some persons ethics is their ability to stand for what is right no matter what the consequences of their actions or decisions. This was not the result of the testimonies of Chiefs Lawrence Hall or James Doyle.

    Lawrence Hall, Chief of Police of the City of Southgate, an instructor at Madonna College and currently teaching a class in Police Ethics reviewed the facts surrounding the Garon case and offered his testimony as follows: (Statements are a summarization of the transcribed testimony of Lawrence Hall from the written opinion of the hearing). “There is nothing in the collective bargaining agreement or in department regulations that would have required that Police Garon to of acted in the life saving actions taken.” Further, Lawrence Hall stated when a police officer is off duty and outside of his jurisdiction, that she or he has no powers, obligations or responsibilities other than those of a private citizen. That the learned training in a police academy imposes no special obligation on a person. Additionally, Hall stated if Officer Garon had chosen to not get involved, he would not have been subject to any sanction under the rules, regulations and/or collective bargaining agreement of the City of Hamtramck Police Department.

    Further, Lawrence Hall stated he would not sanction any of his police officers for acts of omission while off duty and out of his jurisdiction (Be advised Southgate Police Officers). Hypothetically, if one of his police officers, off duty, stood idly by during an armed robbery of a mini mart outside of their jurisdiction that resulted in an injury to an innocent bystander, that Chief Hall would not impose any discipline. Hall further stated, a police officer has no special obligation to intervene when off duty and out of their jurisdiction.

    Along comes the testimony of a long term employee, Hamtramck Police Chief James Doyle, employed in all capacities of the police department since 1976. In conclusion of testimony, Chief Doyle testifies that Officer Garon was not acting as a police officer for the City of Hamtramck Police Department when he rescued the men on Lake St. Clair. That nothing contained within the collective bargaining agreement or within the rules and regulations of the Hamtramck Police Department would require Officer Garon to act.

    It was further stated, that the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and Law Enforcement Cannons of Ethics was never adopted as policy by the Hamtramck Police Department. Officers who are off duty and outside the city limits have no greater powers or duties than ordinary citizens. Nothing in the police academy training would require a Hamtramck Police Officer to get involved in an incident 3/4 of a mile offshore on Lake St. Clair while off duty.

    After hearing the evidence and researching case law, Magistrate Andrew G. Sloss concluded and found as fact : that Officer Christopher Garon did sustain a work related personal injury in the course and scope of his employment for the City of Hamtramck on January 19, 2003, when he injured his back rescuing two men who had fallen through the ice on Lake St. Clair. As a general rule, we expect our police officers to instinctively run in the direction of situations that the rest of us in the general public instinctively run away from. It is the common law of this State that they are considered to be in the course and scope of their role as police officers when they do so.

    Magistrate Sloss hereby ordered the City of Hamtramck to pay the lost wages with interest to Police Officer Christopher Garon for the period of February 5, 2003 through January 10, 2005 and to continue paying until further ordered.

    It was further ordered that the City of Hamtramck be responsible for reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the injury.

    Special thanks go to Officer Christopher Garon, legal counsel and the membership of the Thin Blue Line of Michigan for their continuous financial support to allow this two-year case to be brought to justice.

    For further information in regard to a Forgotten Hero or to refer a Forgotten Hero, please call, (517) 540-6571.

  18. #118
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    Legal doesn't make it right, Noz. You know that better than anyone else. I thought you had a pretty solid moral/ethical compass. You're not playing devil's advocate are you?
    Not exactly, of course. But, legal is legal. My hypotheticals were only presented to bring about an answer as to just how liable an employer should be for someone who is NOT on the job, or officially representing the city with which they are employed.
    So, let me ask this: would you feel the same way if you were injured while off duty making a grab or helping hump hose and could not return to work before FMLA ran out and as a result, lost your job?
    Yes. The city I work for is not responsible for the choices I make while not in their employment. Whether or not my employer would choose the same path as the two cities in the first post did, I cannot say. I know that I would contribute all I could to support a friend or local firefighter who was injured in such an incident and wound up being uncovered due to legal reasons.
    Or would you be banging the drum along with your brothers to treat what you did with dignity and do the "RIGHT" thing? Not necessarily the "LEGAL" thing?
    Dignity has nothing to do with legal matters...you know that. Again, I don't know all the particulars in the present case, but setting precedent for any reason is not something to be taken lightly. Rules are rules; if you operate outside them, regardless of how noble your actions may be, you are taking chances. One does what one feels he/she must do in a certain situation...I would hope we all would. Had I been there that night, I would have been doing all I could, or was allowed, to do to help. But I would NOT expect my city to cover my *** if I were injured in the process. I feel sure that if I suffered any legitimite long-term injuries, my local brothers and sisters would do all they could do to help me, and I hope that Mr. Burgess' brothers and sisters in his area will do the same.

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    One thing to say.. SCABB.. That is what you are and do not forget it.. Keep up the free work. I hope you do not belong to a union and if you do you should be taken outside....Binding obertration mean anything to you....

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    One thing to say.. SCABB.. That is what you are and do not forget it.. Keep up the free work. I hope you do not belong to a union and if you do you should be taken outside....Binding obertration mean anything to you....
    Ummm.....

  21. #121
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    Dang Noz, this guy has 4 posts and is already calling you a Scabb. Would you call that a natural talent or is that a learned skill?

    PKFPD
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    Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

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