In Garland, Texas four firefighters received suspensions over the hazing of a rookie. According to news reports, the February incident was brought to the attention of management by the Garland Firefighters Association. The union issued a statement saying, “We’re pleased with the way the fire administration handled the investigation and the punishment”. Chief Raymond Knight, who called the incident embarrassing, says the suspensions of the firefighters were staggered to avoind incurring overtime.
According to records obtained by The Dallas Morning News, second-month firefighter Dalton Harris was sprayed with water hoses, chased down, duct taped, buckled to a backboard and laid on the floor under a water pipe discharging a strong stream of water on Feb. 25.
“Things got a little out of hand at the station and some discipline had to be handed down and we knew that,” said Paul Henley, association president. “We just wanted to make sure the discipline matched what they did.”
Henley said there are means within the rules to honor the tradition and build the team.
“I think he (Chief Knight) had to make a statement,” said Henley, who described the hazing investigation as lengthy and thorough. “It said it’s a new administration and we’re not going to do things the same way. He made a good statement.”
The city’s fire chief says several veteran firefighters at Station #3 chased down Dalton Harris, 20, while the group was washing the trucks on February 25.Documents allege firefighters Scott Hunt, Oscar Lorenzo and Jeremy Sanford then duct taped the young firefighter to a backboard normally used for patients and held him under a pipe that “was turned on causing a strong stream of water to discharge over Firefighter Harris’ body.”A supervisor, Capt. Randy Baker, who allegedly watched some of the incident and didn’t stop the group, was also disciplined. None of the firefighters returned News 8’s calls for comment.
The chief said it all came down to response times.
“And by taping him to the backboard it would have delayed them making a call,” he said.
“The rookie really wished this would have never even gotten to the fire administration. He would rather not have this happen at all,” Knight said.
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