An investigation is under way into why California’s Glen Ellen Fire Protection District apparently allowed a Boy Scout Explorer to be involved in interior firefighting operations. Normally Fire Explorers are allowed inside for mop-up once a fire has been extinguished. The house fire in question was on Thursday on Trinity Road. The teenager was briefly hospitalized with another firefighter due to exhaustion.
“Under the Boy Scout rules for Fire Explorers, you can respond to an emergency but you cannot be used in an offensive fire activity,” said Mark Aston, fire chief and director of the Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services.
“Those questions need to be asked of Glen Ellen,” Aston said.
Glen Ellen Fire Chief Peter Van Fleet was unavailable Friday. An official at the station declined comment.
He (Aston) said the teen-ager and the Glen Ellen firefighter were assigned to a Glen Ellen water tender, on which the personnel were involved in the interior fighting of the fire.
“It’s serious matter that this young man was engaged in activities that may have been outside the rules of working as a Boy Scout,” Aston said. “We have to find out who was supervising them and who brought them to the incident and see what exactly took place.”
“We don’t allow firefighters under the age of 18,” Aston said. “I don’t know the rule that the Glen Ellen department has. I have not had a chance to talk to their people.”
“It’s an understanding when an agency provides aid, the people are qualified to the standards that we have established. This was a surprise to me.”