Fla. Firefighters Accused of Cheating on Test

ORLANDO, Fla. --

WFTV found out Orlando firefighters are involved in yet another cheating scandal. For the second time, firefighters are under investigation for cheating on a test so they could get promotions.

The city isn't saying much about it, but several sources told WFTV someone was trying to text answers to some of the firefighters. That text message was accidentally sent to another firefighter in the room.

Fire Chief John Miller first got wind of the alleged cheating in an email sent Wednesday. A firefighter contacted human resources and said she had ""information and possible proof that some candidates had knowledge of the lieutenant emergency incident command scenario ... prior to the exam."

"Anytime you don't know the material or have to cheat in order to get by leads me to believe that corners might be cut elsewhere," Orlando resident John Connelly said.

Thirty firefighters took the test, given every two years. It's a computer-based tactical exam that teaches the "wanna be" lieutenants how to tackle a fire at a home or business. They are the first and highest ranking firefighters on the scene.

"There have been some allegations made. They are being investigated," said Deputy Chief Greg Hoggatt, Orlando Fire Rescue.

City leaders wouldn't say more, but this isn't the first time they've had to defend allegations of firefighters cheating.

In 2007, WFTV broke the story when audio recordings surfaced that proved Deputy Chief Rudy Johnson and District Chief Brian Will cheated on a tactical exam to get their promotions.

"It's horrible. Cheating is cheating. If they're not qualified or have enough confidence to take the test or do well on their own merits, they don't deserve the job," Orlando resident Chris Palvisak said.

It's unlikely the firefighters will be fired, even if they did cheat. WFTV was told union contract language makes it difficult.

WFTV put in a call to the city to find out how much a promotion to lieutenant is worth, but didn't receive a call back.

There is also no indication as to how long the internal investigation could take.

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