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NEW INFO: Resignations from Hamilton, Virginia firefighter charged with DUI & others. Five volunteers said to be on a joyride after night of drinking. 19-year-old on the rig along with a cop. photo of retired Hamilton VFD engine officials say was used in joyride. More apparatus photos from can be found here.  

Read press release from Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management 

UPATE at 6:08 PM: Evening news reports indicate that the four volunteer firefighter passengers on the rig are a 19-year-old female, a police officer in Leesburg and two who are volunteers in positions of authority in Loudoun County.  

UPDATE at 2:30 PM: Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. and Fire-Rescue Commission Chair Douglas G. Rambo will be answering reporter’s questions this afternoon about the incident Saturday morning. The department issued a press release shortly after 2:00 PM that added some new information. Here are excerpts (there is a link above to read the entire release):   

Early Saturday morning, a deputy with the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office witnessed a retired fire engine owned by the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company operating in a dangerous manner.   Upon learning that there were no active fire incidents in the Hamilton area, the deputy stopped the engine. After a subsequent investigation, it was determined that all five off-duty volunteer firefighters in the engine were intoxicated.  The driver, a volunteer with the Hamilton Fire Company, was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Unauthorized Use of Vehicle. The other four occupants of the truck were released to an officer of the fire company.  

The volunteer members of the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company involved in this incident have resigned.  Two volunteers from other companies who were riding in the truck have been suspended while the internal investigation of this matter continues.  

The County’s Fire and Rescue Commission, the Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management, and the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Company are grateful for the prompt action of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. The behavior of these individuals does not represent the values of Loudoun’s fire and rescue service and will not be tolerated by any of our volunteer companies or the Department. This incident involved off-duty personnel and a retired fire engine, so fire and rescue readiness was not jeopardized.  


At 2:00 Saturday morning in the Hamilton, Virginia area a Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputy spotted a truck weaving on Harmony Church Road. It wasn’t just any truck. It was a fire engine and according to the Ashburn Patch the deputy “veered into a ditch to avoid a collision with the westbound fire truck”.  The Washington Post reports the deputy’s radar indicated the rig was going about 10 mph over the 50 mph speed limit. It turns out, according to the news reports, the 1989 Pierce Lance pumper was being taken for a joyride by the 27-year-old firefighter at the wheel and four other volunteers after a night of drinking.   

Here are more details in excerpts from an article by Martin Weill of The Washington Post:   

The vehicle, described as a spare belonging to the volunteer fire department in the Loudoun town of Hamilton, had apparently been taken on a joyride, said Investigator Vincent DiBenedetto, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.   

Sean Swanson, arrested by Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.


After checking for fire calls, the deputy turned his car around and stopped the truck.    

Officials of the Hamilton department could not be reached immediately. DiBenedetto said the 1989 truck was not the one kept at the ready at the firehouse to answer alarms.   

More from The Patch:   

Sean Richard Swanson, 27, a volunteer with Loudoun Fire Co. 5 was given a series of field sobriety tests and placed under arrest.   

Deputies released the other passengers – all Loudoun fire and rescue volunteers who the Sheriff’s Office reported were drinking – to a sober driver following the incident. Deputies released the truck to a supervisor with the Hamilton fire station.   

The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate and will work with the Commonwealth’s Attorney to consider additional charges.   


Comments - Add Yours

  • I love tics


  • red line

    Here we go again with Loudoun County. Let’s see what kind of action is taken against this firefighter. Loudoun County seems to have a double standard when it comes to discipline. If you are career you can get fired. If you are a volunteer more often than not it is “swept under the rug”. How about some type of uniform discipline standard.
    Get rid of the “good old boy”network.

  • No.1 Statter Fan in Virginia

    Jerks. Ammunition for the volunteer haters. I saved a man’s life yesterday afternoon who could not breathe at my volunteer outfit, sad stuff like that could not be put in the paper instead of this stuff. It is stuff like this that gets put in the media that disgraces all the hard working volunteers who try to follow the rules and do that right thing.

    • Anonymous

      Well where are the hard working volunteers during the day when the fire trucks need to be cleaned!

      • sourpuss

        same place you are… working to earn a living…sorry i need to pay my bills just like you

      • Anonymous

        Probably, with me. Watching you do it.

    • Anonymous

      It’s funny how they can be heros at night making stupid videos that embarass volunteers nation wide AKA Volunteers the Series. But the can’t even show up during the day to wash the VOLUNTEER trucks. This is just another example the need for 24 hour staffing

    • Anonymous

      This just screams the need for 24 hour career staffing! I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I lived in Hamilton and had those “quality” volunteers protecting me. And for the idiot who posted that they weren’t drinking at the firehouse: It’s ok to drive it drunk as long as you don’t drink at the firehouse before hand???????????

  • Anonymous

    This sucks….I went to EKU with this guy….I never though he would have fallen this far….sucks but if you do dumb stuff then stuff like this happens to you.

    • BoxAlarm1

      I also went to school with this guy at Eastern Kentucky University. Generally, most students that go through Easterns Fire Science program seem to be stand up guys and girls that go far in their careers in the fire/emergency services. I guess he was one of the bad apples in the bunch. This just shows a complete lack of common sense and regard for safety…

  • Inside the Beltway

    Regardless of their affiliation, it’s yet another black eye for the entire fire service. Mr Swanson you are a douche-bag and your engine company full of idiots are just as guilty, even though they walked free. Thankfully you didn’t injure or kill any INNOCENT people. Good riddence. You were probably a bunch of yard-breathing, t-shirt firemen anyway.

  • scooter

    Paid or volunteer dose not matter. These clowns need run out of the fire service, charged with as many violations as possible and given the max sentence on all counts.

  • Chief72

    It’s NEWS! Pure dumbness on the part of those involved. Now the wolf is loose. Paid vs Vol’s again. Charge the individual with DUI, and get on with life. Mail man falls out of truck, while drunk, it’s not NEWS. Anything involving Police Officer or Fire Fighters is NEWS. This type of News is nothing, but fuel for “Good Old Boys vs Union B.S.. Black Eye for the Dept. Its not the end of the world! Get over yourself!


    Once again, you get what you “pay” for !!!!

    • Anonymous

      Because no one from DCFD has ever been arrested right? Clean up your own yard before you worry about someone elses.

  • T-Bone

    So where’s the info on the “passengers”? Word has it there was an underage female with them who was also drunk. Not to mention the fire company president, and another who is a volunteer fire commission member.

  • OWL gal

    Chief 72, I am a volunteer in another VA county but believe you are really downplaying the event. Five volunteer firefighters driving a fire engine drunk almost hitting a police car is pretty serious and makes all of us look horrible. Unfortunately your comments play into the steroetype that we don’t deal with our issues which only fuels the fire.

  • BigWhiteDog

    Unfortunately for all of us, and for this department specifically, this will be brought back up time and time again and used against this department, volunteers in general and the fire service as a whole. I am also ashamed to say that my fellow career firefighters will us this to tarnish the service of the over 800,000 volunteers who give of themselves for their communities.

  • James Alexander

    There’s absolutley no excuse for this kind of conduct endangering the lives of not only your fellow workers, but the public’s as well! You deserve whatever discipline comes your way. If I was the Chief of your department, I would ask you to step down immediately! You’re not going to EVER be giving me or my department a bad name because of your own stupidity! Strike 3, YOU”RE OUT! I’m a 34 year veteran of my department and we just canned a goofball for coming to work extremely intoxicated. He was given his ticket down the road! The other Volunteers that took part in this incident should also be held accountable for their actions as well. If you and your fellow workers want to display that type of abhorrent conduct, go somewhere else so the lives of those involved are not in danger and subjected to your stupidity! For ALL Emergency Service agencies, there should be a zero tolerance with consuming ANY form of alcohol on the premises whether you’re on or off duty.

  • Two hats

    Unfortunatly these guys made a very stupid mistake which gives both the career and volunteer companies a bad reputation. However even though it was an extremely stupid and unproffessional before we completely bash them, know that several of them have been volunteering for 10+ years. They have sacrificed an saved lives and helped the citizens all those years. Yes they deserve punishment, but we have politicians, doctors, lawyers, celebrities all charged with DUIs and they go to work the next day and pay a fine. Is it really worth throwing them out of the fire service, all the training and knowledge they bring to the table. On top of legal punishment the driver has already had his face plastered all over the news, Internet and even the national website. So don’t think he’s getting away with nothing. Again, not condoning their actions, just saying let’s hold them to
    the same standard that all the other regular Joe-shomes that get DUIs get held to.

  • Rojaig

    Part of the problem could the the availability of alcohol at the firehouse. Maybe it would have happened anyway because you can get trashed at home and then come back but…. does it belong there (in the fire house)?
    If a nice cold beer sounds good after a fire then go home and have one, turn off your pager for a couple of hours and chilax, when you are ready and the alcohol is out of your system then turn the pager back on and away you go.

    • Anonymous

      They were not drinking at the firehouse, nor is there any alcohol allowed on the premises..

      • JustSayin

        how do you know they werent drinking at the firehouse??

  • Rojaig

    Just for unity sake
    Career vs Volly/POC, if we could all afford to have career FF departments then the debate would not be an issue but because that is not going to happen and there will be places that run Volly/POC or combination we have to unite and fight the problems.
    A standard of conduct and a level of punishment for everyone!!.
    No alcohol at the station, and a zero tolerance for Drugs and alcohol in or around the station, scene and vehicles. And then people with the brass to enforce that, and members with the right attitude to make it not a problem and then it goes away and the press can’t hack on us about that. We are under a microscope all the time and unless something serious happens we are a cost! it kinda sucks

  • Jason in Va.

    Two Hats: Hold them to the same standard that all the other regular joe-shomes? Are you kidding me? We (the fire service) are held to a much higher standard (ethical, moral, etc)than the general public. Actions such as this are completely inexcusable. PERIOD. Public trust in the fire service continues to be eroded by actions such as this And don’t make this a career vs. volunteer issue becuase its not. There are ignorant @#$#%% on both sides. The problem is that the ignorant @#$#%% are starting to outnumber those of us that still care about the job. Being a proud career and volunteer firemen, this stuff makes me sick to my stomach. What happened to common sense?

  • Anonymous 2

    Well everyone is making a big stink about firefighters never get the “good news”… Well we are in such a public spotlight, that we are to uphold this “American Dream” professional public image of ourselves, our families and our departments, that the public, including the media is ITCHING to find some sort of fault in us, to show the general public that we are human and not some SUPERHERO. This type of irresponsible act definitely does not help us in any way shape or form! As far as the career vs. volunteer, we both have equally negative news stories, last year we had an Engineer (career) for a big local department kill a mother and daughter behind the wheel of his car while driving drunk, so its not ALWAYS the volunteer group causing the negativity. I think there should be stricter regulations (departmentally) to not allow just anyone get behind the wheel of a fire engine! My step brothers live in SC, and their first day as a volunteer, with no licensing requirements or formal training got behind the wheel of a fire engine and drove it code 3 to a call. Now tell me that those 18 year olds, who have barely any driving experience behind a regular commuter car is going to know the limits of a fire engine! Long story short, I think there should be stricter state regulations on minimum requirements ie. licensing, training, certification and stricter departmental regulations on their employees, volunteer or career. HOPEFULLY this would help in the carelessness, stupid decisions like this one!


    Thank god nobody was killed, both civilians, the deputy and the people aboard the fire engine, presumably all volunteers. I think most people forget that is was about 6 years ago or so, a former Loudoun career officer and at the time DC Fire recruit, killed a NJ Fire Captain’s wife and 2 children, alongside RT 66 after a friday night out with his classmates. Now I didn’t know both of these people personally, but I knew of them and worked alongside them on a few calls.

    Both of these were terrible decisions and both will have different effects on the people involved. With that said, the one ingredient that caused both these problems was…ALCOHOL….they made decisions they probably would not have made, if they weren’t drinking, but still made them and have to live with them. I agree with Two hats and that they shouldn’t be thrown under the bus, however, they’ll be the ones to suffer the consequenses and hopefully be punished the same way their career counterparts are punished, as well as the general public. As we know, fireman, police etc., are held to a different standard than the regular Joe’s, celebrities etc….

  • In The Hood

    Rumor on the street is that one of the volunteers on bored was a Leesburg Vounteer Fire Company member and a Leesburg cop. Another was a member of the county Fire-Rescue Commission and a paid firefighter in Arlington.

  • Anonymous

    I am just courious who the other members area. Rumor has it that a couple of them had some important roles within the counties public safety services.

    • T-Bone

      I made a comment earlier this morning, but it’s not been put up. Yes, one of the intoxicated joy riders is an important representative of the volunteer community in Loudoun County. There was also a female on board. I reported on her age, but again, the post is not up.

      • dave statter


        Sorry. My goal is to have the reporters report and the readers comment. As of the evening TV news that information is now in the public domain. It wasn’t earlier.

        Thanks for being patient and trying again.


  • Bill Crable

    Once again Loudoun County at it’s finest… Pathetic excuse for a County. Either Volunteer or Career that dump has been and will always be the arm pit of the fire service. Idiots!

  • Tired of stupid people

    Well first to you Crable! Unless you work there or live there and volunteer there how can you judge the county? What county do you live in and where do you work? Remember people on here may or do know who you are!

    As for the comments of not kicking them out! BS they do not deserve to be in the fire service anywhere anymore. They have disgraced all of the firefighters Career or Volunteer all over the world. You want to do something stupid you take the punishment. What do we do look the other way and then the next time they decide to something stupid someone loses their life!!! I dont think so, as far as i am concerned everyone on the fire truck that night needs to be kicked out!!

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  • Inside the Beltway

    Two Hats,

    One tiny detail you failed to acknowledge; he was driving a 20 ton FIRE ENGINE not his POV!

  • Anonymous

    It just goes to show you why their is a great need to increase the 24 hour coverage within the county. I bet they will cut this part out of their cool videos with the music!

  • ukfbbuff

    My 2 cents from California

    1st. The issue becomes again one of Accountability. This
    reflects Badly on both the Career and Volunteer Fire Services. This is Not needed at this point in time!

    2nd. What if anything was the Leesburg Police Officer Thinking when he along with everyone else had consumed alcohol,got on the fire engine and started driving on the public roads? Will they face a Disciplinary Hearing by his Law Enforcement Agency?

    3rd. Could this some how be considered a “Stolen Vehicle” by Law Enforcement and the VFC?

    4th. Remember just two short weeks ago? When you couldn’t find enough fire equipment and personnel to respond to all of the fire incidents in the Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Area?

    How highly the public considered your actions and now these
    Drunk in Public people have tarnished that image. Back to “Square One”.

    Wasn’t Jerry Engle enough?

    • Anonymous

      “My 2 cents from California”

      Makes your entire statement null and void. Thank you for your time.


    I could be wrong, but I have a feeling the SUPER COP aboard the epic fail wagon from Leesburg, was someone I called out a few years ago and that he would either be on the news for yanking his grandmother out of her station wagon for going 3 mph over the speed limit or as you see, for something like this….And I’m 99.9% sure I’m talking about the right person…And why does every incident always have to have a 19 year old girl onboard…Wonder what she had to do to get aboard the party pumper…

  • Brian

    Damn Vollies give real firefighters a bad name.

    • Anonymous

      Actually – rumor has it there were some paid guys (off duty) on the truck as passengers. This isn’t a career vs volly deal, so lets not go pulling that card. Obviously stupidity runs on both sides. Bad moves all around and a black-eye on the fire service as a whole.

      • T-Bone

        Yes there was an off duty career ff on board, but he’s paid in Arlington County. He happens to also be a volunteer at Leesburg VFD, and representative on the Loudoun VFD Fire Commission.

        Wonder how this will play out for him at work?

        • Anonymous

          I would assume nothing would happen to him….he wasnt driving, and if he is not charged with a crime then his employer can do nothing about it legally….sure it was stupid but the passangers were released to a sober driver so it lends to think that no charges will be brought against them.

          At most he will probably lose his volly status and seat on a the commission but as far as his job goes, Im sure thats in no danger, and if it is he will sue and win.

  • Anonymous

    This is a disgrace to the Fire/EMS Service, and yes, it can happen to the career staff, too. People do stupid things (note: articles in this site re: career staff phoning in bomb threats to each other, leaving nooses in vehicles, etc), so don’t get the volunteer vs career thing going. It’s just stupid people making really poor decisions, and yes, we are lucky that this doesn’t end up hurting somebody.

  • Hook ‘s mom


    You really want to start this? I am ready are you?


    Oh puddin….did I strike a nerve with you…did I say something about somebody or yourself that you didn’t care for…Guess what pumpkin…get over it and deal with it….

    BTW..your not my mom because she’s in prison…So if you by chance want to engage in conversation, just let everyone on here know who you are…its easier that way…nite nite…

  • Hook’s Dad

    Hey Chris Sullivan I mean Hookman you know all about being a career and volunteer firefighter and getting in trouble. That seems to be all you did or do, not sure what your doing these days except that I see your still hiding behind the computer and saying stuff to stir the pot. Which I believe got you in trouble as well. Maybe these guys to get them selves out of trouble should go to their court hearing, wave a picture around and cry about feeding their kid. Did that work for you? Or did the threating of the Chief’s life get you off the Hook. Oh I get it, Hookman. Cute. Anyway I just think it’s funny that of all people you be the one to come on here and throw stones when you don’t have a leg to stand on. Well I better let you get back to threating and bullying people over the internet. There are a lot of forums out there with this story on it so you better get to work if you want to comment on all of them.


    Oh no…now everyone knows my name….Do me a favor since your the one hiding behind a screen name..say what you want about me, because frankly you know nothing about my situation and if you think you do, either give me a call so we can discuss your pent up anger with me or come down to 333 Consitition Ave NW on 3/18/2010 and share what you know about my situation in front of a federal judge, unless your one of the named defendants in my civil suit, then disregard. See pumpkin, Im the plaintiff in my civil suit, and as it pertains to what I wrote about the former Chief and his Assistants, is the reason they’re the defendants in my civil suit, but I’m sure you knew that already when you read my entire 18 page complaint in the US District Court.

    As far as this topic goes, ill chime in on just this incident like everyone else is and will do so, despite your crying and whininng. Unlike you, I don’t put peoples names out unless its been released in the media, but people like you who run scared, are the ones that hide behind their computer when the attention is now on them. Maybe one day you can make a doctor’s appt. to have your ovaries removed and have them replaced with testicles.

    Until then I’d be very careful what you say about me, especially when it refers to my child. Dave knows how I feel about that and if you feel the inner urge to include my son in your posts, then ill do everything and anything to find out who you are….If what I say upsets you so much, that you feel the need to bring my family into this, I’d suggest you go check yourself real hard homie….real hard…say one more word about my family..I beg you….You may be anonymous right now, but with your IP address already known, your really not anonymous…BTW…learn how to spell, a third grader can type better then the verbal diarhea you just squirted out.

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  • cantwegetalong

    This is not a volly/paid issue. ( I am both career and volunteer) Those that try to play it that way and call for more paid personnel are dismantling the strength of the entire fire service. We should be sticking together. This was an unfortunate event and is not an indicator of the majority of the fire service and those involoved are and will continue to be punished.
    For those that stated earlier that they need more paid personnel…listen to your arguements!
    1. Paraphrased- We need more paid personnel because some volunteers are not around during the day to wash the apparatus. Are you kidding me. Seriously, is this all you can come up with? I am thankful everyday I get paid to wash the fire trucks. Most have to do it for free.
    2. Based on your comments- That career personnel wouldnt do this. Unless this is your first day in the fire service, or reading fire news, you know career and volunteer have something in common. We are both human and make mistakes.
    Many jurisdictions need more paid personnel, but this is due to call volume, safety, etc.. But also, Volunteers are also serving their communities with pride, providing the same service all the while…saving taxpayers millions.
    Until we stand together, politicians will always be able to pick us apart and steal our retirement and other benefits.

    • Martin

      As a dedicated volunteer, THANK YOU for your post.

  • Blue

    Geez! They musta thought that they were in Pittsburgh or sumptin!

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  • Boston John

    Paid, Volly, Career, Professional, Part Time, Full Time, Trained, Untrained.

    Children, it doesn’t matter what you next to your name…this is downright embarrassing. This act goes against EVERYTHING we as firefighters STAND FOR.

    The bigger shame is that we all can’t STAND TOGETHER.
    You all are worse than the intoxicated driver of the apparatus.

    • Anonymous

      Thank god someone said it… (even if he is from Bean-Town) From a pride driven red blooded patriot and jolly volly, Well Put, my friend!

  • anonymous

    I hope the County Administrator for Loudoun is paying attention to this incident. Loudoun County needs a fully paid fire department.The money we pay in taxes and this is what we get providing service. I know there are good volunteers and if qualified should be offered jobs in the system
    This further consolidation will lead to more accountability and guaranteed service.No more “smokescreens after 6:00pm by the volunteers and no more drunken joy rides.
    The Loudoun DFRS command staff at this point is powerless to deal with the volunteers. Unless this changes Loudoun will remain a circus.

  • Hate transplants

    Hey anoymous. I’m sure your snobby ass would be the first to complain about the higher taxes associated with 24/7 career coverage in Loudoun County.

    • Anonymous

      He wouldn’t because they probably doesn’t live in Loudoun. I wouldn’t want an all career staff because I’d get raped even more in taxes than I already do and probably wind up like 95% of the rest of the department and live outside the county.

  • T-Bone

    To anonymous, Anonymous, and Hate transplants,

    Here’s an idea for you all. Why get rid of volunteers in the county? A lot of them are valuable assets. Why not just do away with the individual volunteer fire and rescue organizations?

    Just have the Loudoun Department of Fire and Rescue Services. One department, one fire chief, and one budget, and one promotion and disciplinary process. There’s a good chance this would even save tax dollars.

    Volunteers would get assigned to stations like the career staff, and have to go through the staffing process to request transfers.

    There would be standardized apparatus, equipment, gear, and elimination of A LOT of wasteful spending across the board.

  • Anonymous

    In reading the comments it would appear everyone realizes and speaks the embarrassment and disgusting image that has been portrayed. The 27year old driver is an alledged adult. He shouldhave known better than to indulge in an ignorant juvenile
    mischief. Taking a piece of Fire apparatus out on a joy ride at night endangering innocent people driving on the road. One thing that is very disturbing some of the personnel on the Apparatus were also Career in some jurisdiction, and/or amember of the Commission. This obviously speaks volumes of a
    tarnished image with the Taxpayers. One issue of importance here, Loudoun County is one, if not the fastest populating jurisdiction in the region. With this concept one cannot understand why more focus by Hamilton VFD wasn’t placed upon the members to keep mindful that people depend upon Fire/EMS
    very much to serve and protect them. This isnot a stereotype of Volunteers, or it shouldnot be. There are some good well Trained Volunteers who without question donot, and wouldnot involve themselves and shame their Department’s name and reputation. Some of the comments were out of line. The comments against Hookman’s family is disgusting. There is a PRIVACY LAW that is in place for everyone. The comment about
    “You get what you pay for by DCFD SGT. is out of line. Yes the surrounding jurisdictions to DCFD are Combination Systems. Yes there are/is some isolated incidents such as this that doesn’t warrant any smart mouthed mentality. People maynot agree with nor respect what Hookman’s comments say, but never, say or bring anyone’s family into a respected internet format such as
    Mr. Statter manages here. One is inclined to believe the Loudoun County Fire/EMS Authorities can/will bring about some
    resolve. As far as the Political Authorities one can only believe they too are keeping a close watch on what occurs. The Hamilton VFD members are probably just as angry and thoroughly disgusted with this act of stupidity. Since this is in the Public Media the Taxpayers are probably shocked, and dismayed at how,why, who, their Local VFD has been absolutely put into the limelight of the news media. Everyone, let’s take a step back and think not all Hamilton VFD members are of this mentality. Not all the Volunteers in Loudon County are of nor cone this act of foolishness. The main issue heere that everyone seems to agree with is,”LACK OF DISCIPLINE” This issue needs to begin with Hamilton VFD and mandated by Loudoun County. Finally people, I hope everyone is in agreeance it is out and out wrong to bring someone’s family into these comments. It doesn’t matter who the comments are posted by, never, never say or bring anyone’s family into what is commented here. Even if someone doesn’t agree with nor like the person who makes the comments.

  • In The Hood

    Am I the only one that has concerns that the female was only 19 and intoxicated (under aged) with a local police officer, volunteer president and rescue commission member on a fire engine at oh dark thirty in the morning? Whole lot of law breakin there. Something tells me this is not the end of the story.

  • anonymous

    You know a member of the SAME volunteer company was killed in a drunk driving accident on RT.9 when he got in the car with sombody who was drunk a few years ago. Then this stuff happens makes you think. Not to mention Mr.Swanson had higher career aspirations. This kind of behavior makes the fire service look bad as a whole.

  • Anonymous

    None of the others were aware of the 19 year olds age as she was drinking at the bar that night. All had then assumed she was of age since she was in the bar. Still doesn’t excuse the drinking and driving but if the girl was in the bar drinking then why not assume she’s of age.


    Thanks Anonymous…..

    LCFR seems to have a zero tolerance policy for any on or off duty incidents involving their career staff, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the remainder that were just suspended. What happens to these people in their career/day jobs, depends on what there rules/regulations are at their place of employement for things that happen off the clock.

    Im with In the Hood and that has to do with the accountability for everyone, especially the 19 year old who was out drinking and if the deputy submitted breathalyzer tests to the riders aboard the party pumper, and if ID’s were checked, then one would assume the 19 year old would be charged with underage drinking and the others with public intoxication?

    Since nobody seems to be getting charged with grand larceny, one would wonder how they got the pumper out and did everyone participate in getting it out and who supplied the alcohol to the minor, however, this incident seems to have a small town USA feel to it where junior was out driving drunk and Deputy Good Guy calls everyone’s parents to come down to the scene and take the kids home and have someone drive the station wagon home…

    All and all I think its the behavior that needs to change and that’s life isn’t just a continuous party week in week out. There isn’t anything wrong with people that drink responsibly, but if your intentions are to get so bombed out of your mind that you can’t make rational decisions, then you my friends may have what’s called a drinking problem. Its not like these folks just started drinking the other day, I’m quite sure they have years of experience being intoxicated…

  • Loudoun citizen

    Why are some posts removed from this forum?

    The logic of bashing volunteers or career personnel in general for what were CLEARLY judgement impaired mistakes is completely inane and illogical.

    What really is Moronic is that this ‘Joe-Schmoe’ volunteer that blew .08 on his roadside breathalyzer test is forever smudged world-wide and being verbally cremated by sycophantic, sensationalized media hounds and the people that buy into it. Stupid decision. No question about it! But what the heck is a 19 year old female doing drunk in the same situation with absolutely no repercussion?!

    Sucks for everyone involved and thank God for LCSO stopping the progression or reinforcement of such activity but the media is crucifying people who were obviously impaired and stupid but who obviously feel the need to help their communities. But wth! Go ahead and light up the pyres! Screw it if any of them ever helped the public (e.g. YOU) let’s make sure this one mistake determines the rest of their lives and everyone makes a damn example!

    • dave statter

      Loudoun citizen,

      I don’t believe your post was removed, it was never posted. I have to approve each comment. If I recall (and I could be wrong), you were playing reporter and adding new facts to the story. My goal is to leave the reporting to others and the opinions to the readers.

      The media doesn’t need to sensationalize this one. There were a lot of different aspects of this story that are newsworthy. The news media is far from perfect in how the cover things, but how about showing me examples of Mr. Swanson, or anyone else being “verbally cremated by sycophantic, sensationalized media hounds”.

      I do sympathize with the ruining of someone’s reputation over a mistake. But these days that is really done on the Internet. This man’s picture has been seen all over the country and even on major news sites across the Atlantic. I brought that up this morning for firefighters who believe they can get away with a similar activity to think long and hard about what the cost will be. My point is, even if you are too selfish to worry about your department’s reputation, remember this record you have on the Internet will be a lot harder to expunge than a DUI arrest.


  • Anonymous

    Come on folks Mr.Swanson brought about the shame and disgrace upon himself. This was not just young people out having a night of Partying. He must live with and face his peers at his job. If I remember correctly he’s aCareer Firefighter in Arlington County. If he didnot have enough common sense to realize his Trust and Respect from his Hamilton VFD peers has been damaged ifnot permanently destroyed. How can he face his Firefighter peers at Arlington and think they can/will Traust and Respect him not only from a Human perspective, however what about his peers knowing what has been done. It would seem the peers at his job are probably thinking how can they trust him to Drive Safely while responding, or on a Hose Line. The media didnot sensationalize anything here. Look at the facts:
    (1) 27 year old veteran firefighter both Career/Volunteer out joy riding. (2) one of the willing participants a Law Enforcement Officer. (3) a 19 year old Female yes she is an adult but her willingness to ride and party without any authorization stands to reason the entire group of overgrown
    immature adolescents broke every core value of Professional Public Safety. ie; Fire/EMS and Law Enforcement strictly enforce and promote Safe Driving free from Alcohol. I have absolutely no sympathy for any of these individuals. This entire disgusting messy situation makes me sick. The LCFR and Hamilton VFD Authorities can issue new tough Policy SOP’s and mandate them accordingly. The Legal System will bring about the violations of the Law. The Judicial process will address
    how,why, whynot, these individuals will have some sort of permanent scar on their record. This willnot fare well on Resumes for seeking a desired Employment.

    Thank You

    • Hamilton Resident

      Mr Swanson is not a career firefighter in Arlington, one of the other participants is though.

      Mr. Swanson is however a past Asst Chief of HVFD 5 as well as a jr officer.

      Mr Swanson is a graduate of the Eastern Kentucky University and was in the Fire and Safety Engineering program. That is a well known program attended by firefighters all over the US. So yes his reputation is tarnished in the fire service as all those people past, present, and future will see his name at the University and that is how how will be portrayed.

      The HVFD needs to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law. They need to show the people who support them with donations that they will not stand for this type of stuff in their department. They need to keep showing their faces to the community and stand tall and show everyone that a few bad apples will not bring down the pride that the entire department has.

  • anonymous

    Sean is not a career firefighter in Arlington. He has never been a career firefighter with any department.

  • not a hookfan

    I think its funny how hookman comes on here and preaches. He is a discrace to the fire service for all the trouble he’s gotten into.


    Snooki….let me tell you a few things ok sweetheart….My situation is far from this and unlike these individuals, I was not arrested nor did I break any laws and I will have the oppurtunity to return to work with a clean slate behind me.

    Now Snooki, I know your big on receiving third and fourth party information about me, because that seems to be the norm, however, there’s a big difference between losing your job because I CHOSE to speak out about the previous corrupt administration I’d been disciplined under and getting drunk while off duty, with a cop and an under age female. If you think these 2 situations are one in the same, then I suggest you do some more research before you open up about someone’s situation you clearly know nothing about.

    Whether I’m a disgrace or you think I’m on here preaching, that’ rightfully your opinion to make, however, I’ve never done anything criminally wrong before nor have I done anything close to what these people did in MY ENTIRE CAREER, BOTH VOLUNTEER AND CAREER. If you need to talk about me, then give me a call so we can sit down, maybe have some coffee, then you can write about me all day long because you’ll have the most up to date information on me, instead of your 4th party information from 2 years ago.

  • inside

    One of the participants that was riding is career down in Arlington.

  • Loudoun citizen

    Thank you for your response, Statter. I didn’t add any additional facts to my previous post ( I was reading this to find out:0); however, it was a bit redundant and generalized with the vollunteer versus career ‘issue’.

    That being said, I agree with you whole-heartedly and think it’s a shame that this guy’s moment of stupidity will forever be the judgement of his character via Internet infamy. But I guess it’s an example to all who step into the civil service field (if they had any inclination to get schnockered and go for a spin in the truck.)

    Much appreciation for the updates!

    • dave statter

      Thanks for the understanding.


  • Loudoun citizen

    My apologies for the omission of response. The ‘media hound’ comment was regarding the emotionally charged condemnation of these individuals and generalizations about their fields of work as well as the dramatic inferences and poetic license some modes of media are taking in further criminalizing their behaviors e.g. Is it easy to steal a firetruck? Inference of a code response. Etc.

    Either way it’s a testament to all members of civil service to be more scrupulous of their conduct and personal ‘leisure’ activities (especially those that could impair their judgement to this extreme).

    Again, thank you for your response and updates, Statter!

  • hagerstown fire fighter

    this guy need to be hung once again one group of guys giving every fire fighter a bad name not just volunteer but also paid. i am a volunteer and as for DCFDSGT says
    Once again, you get what you “pay” for !!!!….. your a moron let me guess your paid and forgot where you came from i just walked in the door from a building fire and me and my fellow volunteer busted our ass’s to do our jobs just like we did on the other 7 house fires this month the only difference between us is you get paid for what we are willing to do for free your actting just like the rest of the general public is baseing the your views of the majority on the actions of the few we have just as much to lose when we run in to a fire as you do so what makes you so much better b/c you sit around all day playing with yourself and we work along days work, go home to spend time with our families and when the tones drop we show up on the fire ground in our pov’s ready to give our lives to save another if anything its harder to be a volunteer b/c of having to prove ourselfs to the career side but for some reason alot not all but alot of the career side think there better then the volunteer side we all do the same training and are all brothers and have to count on eachother when the tones drop

  • Hamilton Resident

    Swanson had court this morning. Did anyone hear any updates from that?

    • Mike Ward

      Arraignment today

      Next court date June 13th

  • mkotb

    anyone want to name the others that were on the firetruck? They are just as at fault as Swanson, yet no one seems to want to release anyone elses names.

  • Hamilton Resident

    They can not release the names. It is still being investigated for further charges to possibly be filed on the rest of the people involved.

    Plus I dont think Dave would let us put the names out there until the media does, seeing that some of the information that has been posted has yet to be approved to be posted as a comment.

  • Outraged

    In all of the reports that I have read it appears that the driver is the only one that was charged and taken to jail. I am wondering why the 19 year old passenger was not given a sobriety test and charged with under age drinking? We read about many young adults being removed from vehicles when they are passengers, given a sobriety test and if they register on the breathalyzer as having alcohol in there system charged as the law requires (i.e. License immediately surrender under the No tolerance law, placed under arrest and taken to jail). We continually hear how all law enforcement agencies are cracking down on under age drinking, what happened in this situation? I find it appalling that we not only have a group of individuals who feel they maybe above the law. But then to have them stopped by a police officer, who they ran off the road, and everyone not being charged on the scene. This action by Loudon Sheriff’s office could be considered a confirmation of the perception that if you are part of “the group” you may or will get breaks that the citizens you server do not!

  • Anonymous

    good job fire men you are the do you have fire truck