Three Firefighters Refuse To Ride On Truck With American Flag

OPA-LOCKA (FL), Kelly Butler reporting -- Not everyone is enthusiastic about flying Old Glory.

In fact, it has kept three emergency workers from doing their jobs. Three firefighters refused to ride on their truck this weekend because it was flying the American flag.

Officials said that the three Miami-Dade County firefighters complained that the flag is offensive because it represents oppression. One is an engine driver and the other is a firefighter at Station 26 in Opa-Locka. The third is a firefighter who works at Station 44. But he returned to work Wednesday and rode on the fire engine without any protest.

The crew chief ordered that the flag be removed so that the seven-member unit could answer 911 calls.

Two of the firefighters have been on scheduled leave since Saturday, but are expected to return to work Monday.

All county fire engines have been ordered to carry the American flag in honor of the firefighters and police officers killed in New York in last week's terrorist attacks.

Officials said that if the firefighters refuse to ride when they return to work, they will be severely disciplined.

"I've had more than 100 phone calls from firefighters around the county who are appalled at this report," Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue spokesman Lt. Luis Fernandez said. "We lost 400 colleagues in New York. This is our way of expressing sympathy."