Texas Firefighter Fired For Alleged On-Duty Intoxication

April 25, 2013
Austin fire officials say a firefighter was unable to respond to an emergency call because he was impaired. He is also accused of assaulting his girlfriend and driving while intoxicated

April 24--An Austin firefighter with a history of misconduct has been fired after two recent incidents involving prescription medication, according to a memo released Wednesday.

The memo says firefighter Sean Kaden, 29, was unable to respond to an emergency call because he was impaired from medication while on duty in December. In January, he assaulted his girlfriend with a vehicle, threatened her with a knife, physically assaulted her and drove while intoxicated, the memo says.

Kaden has 10 days after receiving a copy of the memo to appeal his firing. He was hired in September 2008.

According to court records, Kaden was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and interference with an emergency telephone call in connection with the incident this year. A court date is scheduled for May 21.

Kaden was fired effective April 22 on several grounds, according to the memo, including drinking of intoxicants while on duty, intoxication while off duty, acts showing lack of good moral character, and rule violations.

According to the memo, an investigation showed that Kaden drank "an excessive amount of alcoholic beverages" on New Year's Eve and also took some pills. At a party he was at with his girlfriend, he became violent when he unsuccessfully tried to get more pills from the host and was asked to leave, the memo says.

Kaden took a cab back to his vehicle without paying and while driving got into a fight with his girlfriend, the memo says. When she tried to text her friend about what was happening, Kaden took her phone and told her to get out of the car, the memo says. She refused and they continued to argue as Kaden drove to her apartment, where he pushed her out of the car in the parking garage, the memo says.

As she was trying to get up, Kaden backed up the car and then pulled forward, knocking her down, the memo says. At some point inside the apartment, officials say Kaden also assaulted her.

While she was hiding in the bathroom, Kaden stood over her with a knife as she sat in the tub, the memo says.

Eventually, he put it down on the counter and fell asleep on a living room couch, the memo says.

His girlfriend then used his phone to call 911.

Kaden minimized the disturbance to police, according to the memo, saying his girlfriend's apartment was always in disarray and that she had brought the knife into the bathroom to hurt herself.

But Kaden admitted not having a clear memory of the night because he was intoxicated and using prescription medications, the memo says.

On Dec. 3, Kaden was impaired after taking multiple prescription medications, causing him to be unable to respond to an emergency call, the memo says. His crew members were forced to respond to the call understaffed.

Kaden never told his chain of command or the department physician that he was taking the prescriptions, the memo says.

In the memo, Kerr notes that Kaden was suspended for 10 days in 2009 while on probation for charges that included public intoxication, theft of service and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

According to a Dec. 7 memo from that year, Kaden was suspended after "drinking a quantity of alcoholic beverages" and failing to pay for a cab ride to a hotel in Houston. As the cab driver and hotel security officer were trying to figure out which room was Kaden's, the memo says, he got into the cab and drove it to another part of the hotel property.

In August 2012, Kaden also "fell out while on duty," the memo says, meaning he couldn't perform his duties as a firefighter at a fire scene.

Copyright 2013 - Austin American-Statesman

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