Florida Firefighters Accused of Improper City Computer Use

An Internet virus that apparently fried a computer network in Clermont, Fla., has prompted an investigation into improper usage of city computers by on-duty firefighters and paramedics, according to a Local 6 News report.

Firefighters and paramedics in Clermont are accused of using computers to view pornography, gamble and peruse women on the social Web site mySpace.com.

A source told Local 6 News that an investigation found that one of the city's fire stations was a gateway for the virus. The virus apparently shut down the system for days and deleted countless files.

"One source tells us that the improper Internet usage resulted in a virus that fried the city's computer network," Local 6 reporter Todd Jurkowski said.

Clermont Fire Chief Carl Bishop was the first of several people questioned concerning the allegations Tuesday.

Local 6 News reported that Bishop admitted to e-mailing a photo of a naked man climbing down a fire engine's ladder to escape flames with the caption "why you should wear pajamas to bed."

"That was sent to me from another agency and I passed it on to my operations commander," Bishop said.

"Do you feel your job is in jeopardy?" Jurkowski asked Bishop.

"No, not at all," Bishop said. "I have not done anything."

The Clermont finance director is heading up the internal investigation, according to the report.

"He did not want to comment but did acknowledge they have uncovered some abuse of the city's Internet use policy," Jurkowski said.

The policy prohibits "inappropriate comments or jokes, cartoons, or any other communication which is political, derogatory, vulgar, obscene, offensive or sexually explicit."

Jurkowski said as many as 24 firefighters and paramedics will be questioned in the investigation.

"As far as discipline is concerned, anyone found responsible or guilty could get a verbal or written warning, could be suspended or fired," Jurkowski said.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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