Court: Fired Georgia Captain Should Be Reinstated

A DeKalb County firefighter fired following circumstances surrounding a deadly blaze in 2010 should get his job back.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling ordering DeKalb County to reinstate Capt. Sell Caldwell, according to

"I'm extremely happy, and I feel vindicated. It's been a long time coming," Caldwell told reporters.

DeKalb County fired Caldwell and four other firefighters after the death of 74-year-old Ann Bartlett at her Houghton Court home in January 2010. She called 911, and crews responded.

But those firefighters reported seeing nothing and left. Hours later, the house was fully engulfed in flames, the station reported.

On Monday, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Hugh Thompson wrote: "It is disingenuous for the county to argue that although the code allows 'reversal' of the chief's decision, it does not contemplate reinstatement. By definition, reversal of termination constitutes reinstatement. County officials may not ignore the outcome of the merit system's proceedings as well as its own unsuccessful appeal."

Caldwell's attorney, Andrew Coffman, called the ruling a victory for the rule of law, according to the station's report.