My local fire department has been taking a beating over the last month all across the country. Its crazed fire marshals are accused of tyranny, power-tripping, and being domestic terrorists. And those are some of the nice comments.
So what awful thing did the FMs from the Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue Department do? They did their jobs.
If you are not aware, on July 24th the fire marshals arrested two bartenders they caught in the act of lighting a bottle containing a flammable liquid and a wick. The bartenders are accused of then using what some might call a Molotov cocktail as a source of ignition for their fire breathing demonstration. It’s a trick they’ve apparently done for years at Jimmy’s in Herndon.
I say good job by the fire marshals. A crowded bar is not the place for anyone to play with fire.
There are many videos on YouTube showing off similar skills of “talented” bartenders from the United States and around the world. In June I posted one to go with a story of a bartender in New York’s Chinatown who was arrested after his flaming bar tricks showed up on “The Real Housewives of New York”. In fact, one of the videos I found was from a big city bar I am familiar with. I sent the link to that city’s fire chief, who forwarded it to his fire marshal, who I am told is now a regular visitor to the bar.
So, I am glad my tax dollars were put to good use in Herndon that night. But I am apparently in the minority. Most who have written about this believe the arrests are another example of the “nanny-state”.
The owner of the bar seems to be quite politically connected. Some of our local leaders are now looking closely at the work of the fire marshals. Everyone seems outraged the bartenders were charged with felonies that could result in 45-years in prison.
Once again, I say good. From what I see there are too many bartenders playing these little fire games for their customers. Even if convicted, I am sure these guys weren’t going to jail, but an example needs to be set.
The local prosecutor pretty quickly dropped the felony charges, but the outrage over the actions of the fire marshals continues. The latest to give us his views is the man who represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and was the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 2008, Bob Barr.
Bob Barr thinks the person who originally tipped the fire marshals to the bartenders’ antics is a “busy-body”. Well Bob, then I guess I am also a “busy-body”. Not only did I rat out a bar doing similar stupid bartender tricks, I have called fire departments on locked exit doors at public facilities and even brought the fire marshal of the Nation’s Capital to a grossly overcrowded restaurant at the very moment Barack Obama was being sworn in. (Before the words “So help me God” were spoken Chief Gary Palmer, another “domestic terrorist”, had the restaurant cleared, doors unlocked and the manager’s head swimming.)
Mr. Barr, would I have been a “busy-body” if, at around 10:00 PM on February 20, 2003 I had been a customer in The Station nightclub, noticed the band Great White setting up their pyrotechnics and called in the West Warwick, Rhode Island authorities?
I am sure a person with views similar to yours would have looked at me as a party-pooper or being, as you call it, “freedom unfriendly”. If someone at The Station had been able to make such a call that night I am certain there would have been some other unpopular fire marshals. There also would have been 100 lives saved.
By the way, here’s the video from The Station I would like you to watch. After a few viewings let me know what you think about open flames in a nightclub or bar. Maybe we could set you up to talk to some of the relatives of the people whose faces you will see about your definition of “freedom”.
Mr. Barr, you accuse Fairfax County officials of wanting to “arrest as many average, law-abiding citizens as possible in order to ensure as little fun as possible”. I’m sorry, but I just don’t look at playing with fire like this as “fun”. I see it as a potentially lethal activity. I also see my local fire marshals as heroes for trying to put a stop to it.