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More snow troubles: Hartford, CT firefighters under investigation for video of kids jumping off nearby library roof.

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This story sure is different. I don’t recall anything similar that I’ve posted to or covered in my career. It brings up some interesting questions about the role of firefighters. Hartford, Connecticut firefighters at Engine 8 are under investigation because of a YouTube video that city officials believe was shot from the second floor of the firehouse. It shows kids jumping off a one story roof of the public library across the street into snow banks.

Ilana Gold, WVIT-TV:

The Fire Chief saw the video and demanded an investigation right away. He wanted to know if his nearby firefighters took the video, and why they did nothing to stop it.

The group behind the camera cheered on the kids as they jumped from the roof of the city library into deep snow banks that covered the sidewalks. They even commented on possible injuries.

The city needed to know if firefighters at the Frog Hollow Fire Station across the street were behind the recording. It was the only building in the area that could provide the camera angle. Officials also needed to know why the men stayed inside and laughed instead of stopping the kids from getting hurt.

The city was taking a close look and listen to the video to figure out if firefighters were a part of this and who they were.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Dickey

    So wait a second….As a firefighter, I am responsible to stop someone from being stupid?? If I said “hey kid, go jump off that roof over there” ok fine, I would be responsible. If I observed someone do something like this how is it my responsibility to stop them? Sounds like a witch hunt to me. Seems to me someone saw this happening and they were laughing about it watching them do this. So they are expected to go outside and say hey, stop doing that because you might get hurt? Give me a break!

    Can’t fix stupid.

  • Legeros

    Alternate headline: Investigation Started Because Fire Department Officer Thinks Firefighters Did Something That Makes Department Look Bad

    That one actually works across most “Statter test” stories!

  • peak

    Why is this a liability for the city, they didn’t tell those kids to climb on the roof and jump into the snow? If the guys from Frog Hollow did say something to them, they would have probably ignored them or in this day and age probably taken a shot at them.
    Did anyone get injured?
    Mr. Sanchez, you’re an idiot if you question the firefighters whether or not you can believe in them, to save you and your family.
    Guys from Frog Hollow, that was awesome. This is all BS and getting blown way out.

  • mark

    The growth of the nanny state continues.

    Good grief, my parents watched me jump and sled off roofs after the ’78 blizzard. Took pictures as well. I even used to ride in vehicles without wearing a seatbelt. Or airbags. Or anti-lock brakes.

    Why did the chief go overboard?

    This is just stupid.

  • Sharppointy1

    To Mr Sanchez, featured in the reporter’s story: OH PUH-LEEZE! You seriously can’t trust the fire department because they didn’t stop a bunch of teenagers from jumping into snow banks from a city roof? (An activity I myself participated in at age 16, only it was from the second story hish school English classroom window, and it was really fun).
    I do think whoever posted this showed a monumental disregard for Dave’s simple rules of social media and firefighters: Don’t post stuff on YouTube that might have a chance of getting you in trouble. When in doubt, ask the officer in the fire station: “Hey, Joe, lookit this!” If said officer says “oh geezey pete you guys”, don’t post it. Enjoy it quietly by yourselves.
    To the Hartford Chief: give ‘em a verbal warning with a wink. Fire fighters do not have a duty to stop we citizens from doing fun and possibly dangerous stuff.

  • haveyouseenmybaseball?

    Can you say witch hunt? How much tax dollars are being wasted to determine the identity of these guys? I seriously doubt it’s even possible to do that but I’m willing to bet the department transfers everyone out of that firehouse to make it look like they did something. The most the guys could have done is call the cops anyway. Moral of the story: Stop posting on youtube.

  • Chief Jeff

    The same adrenaline rush from jumping off a roof into a deep snowbank has a direct correlation to the mindset of being a firefighter. I would call it recruiting! While it would seem like an abnormal event to a “normal” person, it actually looked like fun to a firefighter because chances are they also did it as a kid and they all survived. We are just wired that way. If they thought they were going to get injured, they would have stopped it. Give the guys more credit than that. Kids are skateboarding, ramping, flipping, parkouring, and free running on/off city and private property every day. So, is the issue they were jumping off a building or jumping off a CITY building. Ethics gut-check.

  • Fire21

    A generation ago this was a common sight during winter. Kids also swing on ropes and drop into ponds during summer, with people videoing. Just watch “America’s Funny Videos” to see what people do. Is anyone trying to hold those videographers responsible for stopping the activity? Since we’re now living in a politically correct, shared responsibility society, everything that happens is everyone else’s fault. Just silly.

  • Mr. Obvious

    So let’s take this the opposite way. Based on what has been stated (why didn’t the firefighters stop the kids), this appears to indicate that it is EXPECTED that firefighters must stop anyone from doing anything that may bring about harm. As you are going down the road and you see the driver of a car without a seatbelt, the fire fighters must now stop the vehicle and tell the driver what a risk they are taking, to make sure the driver doesn’t get hurt. Or when they enter the McDonalds, are they expected to stop the obese gentleman from eating his double Big Mac, as surely that is something that will cause problems and may actually kill the gentleman. What about the playground, do they stop the kids from getting on the monkey bars because one might fall and get hurt?

    When you take an incident like this and reverse it, it shows how stupid the original ‘complaint’ is. As for me, if I was in Hartford I would be taking my crew out and looking for stupid stuff just to stop people. Wait for the complaints to come rolling in (Do you know what YOUR fireman did!) and then ask the Chief, Well – do we or don’t we? You can’t have it both ways

  • Doing It.

    These firefighters should be suspended without pay. It is simply unacceptable in this day and age to allow those children to jump off a roof. The firefighters have a moral, religious, and professional responsibility to stop this.

    • Jeff

      I can’t imagine not jumping out of my treehouse in the winter as a kid. It’s part of being a kid! I’d say it’s a moral responsibility to let kids be kids with things like this. Professionally speaking, firefighters and medics are not supposed to be parents of every kid telling them to not swing too high and jump… another much-beloved childhood activity of mine.

  • Capt Dick

    Common sense and good judgement are necessary traits of a firefighter, not just adrenaline rushes. With that said I don’t have a problem with them watching the kids, but the City building does complicate it. Also for the parents out there, if one of the kids lands on his neck and becomes a quad, how would you like to view the video the firefighters shot? Public would be outraged I’m sure. Why video tape it? That’s where the common sense comes in. I think if we just do our jobs most everything else takes care of itself .

  • haveyouseenmybaseball?

    Is the city investigating the pedestrians in the street to try and determine their identities too?
    Dave, the next questions are for you: Are you reporters trained to find the dumbest people on the planet to put in front of the camera or is it something innate, you either have it or you don’t? Or do you just let the camera do the work? From what I’ve seen, cameras are stupid magnets. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • dave statter

      We used to call the light on top of the camera the “asshole magnet”. I have never been a big fan of MOS (man on the street interviews), but news directors insist on it.

      I don’t think comparing firefighters to average citizens walking down the street is an argument I would use to defend myself or the firefighters in this case.

      Once again this is a case of if whoever shot this video at the firehouse hadn’t shot it or posted it, none of us would be talking about this and no firefighters would be under investigation. Yes, we have the technology and it’s fun to use but you have to open your eyes to where things are likely to go once you post it for everyone to see.

      As for whether it’s the job of firefighters to intervene in any way, I will leave it to others to argue those points.


  • Legeros

    Next question, did the chief actually make this into a problem, by initiating the investigation?

    Did this become questionable behavior only when it was publicly questioned??

    Dave, you’re a fan of getting in front of a story, and first thing. But is this an instance where there’s no real preemptive value, perhaps?

  • Chad

    Another case of people expecting others to raise their child for them. The firefighters didn’t tell the kids to jump and it isn’t up to them to safeguard them from their own stupidity.