Second Ga. Firefighter Gets Job Back



A hearing officer ruled Monday a second DeKalb County firefighter should be re-instated to his job, after being fired for his response in a fatal house fire in Dunwoody.

The officer ordered that William Jeff Greene be reinstated to the DeKalb County Fire Department.

A DeKalb County spokesman told CBS Atlanta that the county will appeal the ruling.

Greene is one of 5 DeKalb County firefighters fired after 74-year-old Ann Bartlett died in a house fire in January.

When firefighters didn't see smoke, crews never walked up to the home to see if the woman was OK. Greene was the first person who should have established command at the home.

“I want my name and my reputation to reveal that I was doing my job,” Greene testified at his personnel hearing on April 27th.

Greene testified about the night he responded to the call on Houghton Court in Dunwoody.

“I’m not the person that was portrayed early on in this. I am a firefighter that took my commitment to DeKalb County and my oath serious,” said Greene.

Greene and his engine were the first to respond to the 911 call. Hours after firefighters left, neighbors saw Bartlett's house engulfed in flames. She did not survive.

DeKalb County acting Fire Chief Eddie O’Brien testified Greene's termination should stand.

“It brought a lot of disgrace and discredit upon DeKalb Fire Rescue and the firefighting profession,” said O’Brien at the hearing.

Greene testified he could not locate the house and was never told Bartlett made the 911 call herself.

“I asked if there was any further information and was advised there was no further,” said Greene.

He said if he had more information, the outcome may have been different.

“I feel like with what I was working with, the information I was provided or not provided and the orders I was given, that I was doing my job,” said Greene.

Greene had completed training less than a month before the fatal fire. He will find out if he'll get his job back in two to three weeks.

On Thursday, Bartlett’s three daughters filed suit against DeKalb County and the five firefighters. They said they were forced to sue because officials wouldn't listen to them.

The lawsuit alleges in her last moments Bartlett "experienced unbelievable fright, shock and mental suffering."

Because of what they call their mother's needless death, they're now asking for a third party to review fire rescues emergency practices and procedures, compensation for the wrongful death and payment of legal fees.

“That death has demonstrated an appalling break down in the practices and procedures of emergency services in DeKalb County, and it can't just be allowed to be swept under the rug,” said attorney Pitts Carr.

The daughters told CBS Atlanta they couldn’t handle that some of the fired firefighters are trying to get their jobs back.

“I think it's a slap in the face. I think it's appalling and insulting,” said daughter Terri Vann.


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