The membership of Houston IAFF Local 341 voted Thursday night to proceed with a formal process to hold a vote of no confidence in Houston Fire Chief Chris Connealy.
Houston Fire Chief Chris Connealy
This is the primarily the result of a week of heated debate between the department administration and the union, both local and national, about the importance of staffing and the influence it had on the death October 2001 of Captain Jay Jahnke.
Officials from NIOSH and the Texas State Fire Marshal's office have weighed in on the debate over staffing levels at the Houston FD and what role the issue may have played.
While NIOSH ranked staffing equally among 10 other factors in Jahnke's death, the Fire Marshal's office considered staffing a smaller issue than several other problems they identified. "When it came down to fighting this fire we don't think staffing played that big a role," said spokesman Mark Hanna. "There are other problems we viewed as much more severe once they got inside the building."