Fired Bodybuilding Boston Firefighter Speaks

BOSTON, Mass. -- In a sympathetic interview with bodybuilding former firefighter Albert Arroyo, the axed jake claimed he cannot stand for long periods and that his legs go numb.

"I can't stand that long," Arroyo yesterday afternoon told WTKK Jimmy Myers, who said he's a personal friend of the controversial ex-jake. "I get pain in the back. If I stand too long, I need to sit down to relieve some of the pain."

Arroyo, a firefighter since 1986, was terminated by the department last week. In March, Arroyo claimed an unwitnessed injury at a station he wasn't assigned to work at. In May, he applied for disability retirement, the same month he participated in a bodybuilding competition, BFD spokesman Steve MacDonald said.

"Everyone raced to a judgment," Myers said. "They raced to their own judgment. At the same time, Mr. Arroyo's life was . . . affected by what happened."

In the interview, Myers did not ask Arroyo, who was accompanied by a lawyer, about his bid for disability retirement. He also did not challenge Arroyo to justify how he could buff up, take to the stage and flex but at the same time not beable to perform his duties as a fire inspector.

Arroyo claimed that bodybuilding doesn't require him to stand for more than a minute and that inspecting buildings requires him to climb steep stairwells in up to eight buildings a day.

"So you're not out there eight, nine minutes?" Myers asked of Arroyo's bodybuilding.

"No, what you do is just stand out there and just flex," Arroyo said.

Despite his muscular build, Arroyo said he does not lift weights heavier than about 30 pounds.

As for why he began bodybuilding, Arroyo said, "I did it to encourage myself . . . there was times I couldn't get up . . . I had to strengthen my core, my body."

Asked whether jealousy of his physique played a role in the controversy, Arroyo said, "I think it does play a role."

Arroyo called his plight "depressing" and said, "It's a hurtin' situation" that has affected his family.

Arroyo said the initial injury occurred years ago while lifting equipment.

Arroyo failed to show up to work on July 21, which was his last day on the payroll. Fire Commissioner Rod Fraser denied Arroyo's appeal for reinstatement, terminating him last week.

Republished with permission of The Boston Herald.