Missouri Firefighter Ticketed While Responding to Blaze

Officials from fire and police departments in neighboring towns in Missouri are clashing after a volunteer firefighter was cited by a police officer while responding to a fire over the weekend.

The New Bloomfield Fire Protection District firefighter was ticketed for reckless driving while he was en route to a fire in his personal vehicle on Saturday, according to KOMU-TV.

Firefighter Matt Ousley claims that he was driving responsibly, but that he was just taking the liberties authorized to emergency vehicles.

He was driving 10 mph over the speed limit and passed by cars that yielded to him as he had his blue flashing light and siren activated, but told the news station that he believes his driving was legal.

Holts Summit Police Department Assistant Chief Bryan Reid disagrees.

The police official says a volunteer's personal vehicle is not considered to be an emergency vehicle -- even when it's equipped with appropriate lights and siren.

"A first responder vehicle is not considered a full emergency vehicle," he told the news station. "By statute it is not exempt."

According to KOMU-TV, both departments reference the same statute, but interpret it differently.

"(The statute) says right in it, very specifically, it states different things that they can exceed the law," New Bloomfield Assistant Fire Chief Dean Powell said. "Their personal vehicle at that point becomes an emergency vehicle."

According to statute 304.022, Ousley's vehicle was following all the appropriate regulations to be considered an emergency vehicle.

Reid told the news station that even if his vehicle was considered to be an emergency vehicle, he still deserved the ticket.

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