Five suspended Jackson firefighters said they are being punished for speaking out.
Four captains and a lieutenant were suspended with pay for taking their concerns to the media.
The firemen said they have safety concerns for themselves and the people of Jackson. They said their concerns are legitimate that the chief is not addressing. The firemen believe they had no choice but to go to the media.
Capt. Brandon Falcon is an 11-year veteran of the Jackson Fire Department and also the union president.
On Monday he and four other firefighters were suspended for taking safety concerns to the media.
"It's our first amendment rights to speak on any matter that we feel threatened about and we will not be censored," said Falcon.
Falcon's complaint is that the department is 50 firefighters short and trucks are being sent to fire scenes without enough manpower.
He said that's putting firefighters in danger and affecting how fast fires can be put out.
"I have met with the fire chief numerous times and so far as it went to the fire chief, it did," said Falcon.
Falcon claims he had no choice but to take his concerns to the media when Chief Todd Chandler did nothing about it.
WAPT tried to talk with Chandler about his decision to suspend the firefighters and about the stress in the department, but he said he had no comment because the issue is a personal matter.
"I may be suspended after this but I'm lending my support," said Falcon.
Firefighter Vernon Davis is a 21-year veteran of the department. He's standing behind the suspended supervisors.
Davis said he does not feels safe when responding to calls and is disappointed Chandler doesn't appear to be standing behind his men.
"If you don't ever want to meet with me then there's nothing I can do. I have no other recourse than to tell someone that Im in danger because of the manpower shortage," said Davis.
Falcon and the other suspended men said theyll fight the disciplinary action, but they feel its not doing anything to solve the real problem of firefighter safety.
The fire chief did not show up for the Jackson City Council meeting on Tuesday. The City Council did not discuss the topic during the meeting.
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