In Maywood, Illinois four firefighters were sent home today (Tuesday) after refusing to comply with their fire chief’s orders to remove American flag decals from their helmets and lockers.
The four refused to comply with an order issued last week by Chief Craig Bronaugh to remove all stickers from their helmets and lockers. The four drew the line when it came to the flag decals.
A representative from Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents the firefighters, met for an hour with Chief Bronaugh Tuesday afternoon, with the union hoping Chief Bronaugh would modify his order. Instead, he ordered the four sent home immediately, pending disciplinary action.
Union spokesman Adam Rosen said he is “shocked” that an agency of first responders would enforce such an order the week of September 11.
“My dad was a fireman for 26 years in Maywood, I took over his locker and on the outside of his locker I have a Marine Corps decal on my locker, it’s been there for well over 30 years, I take great offense to that,” said David Flowers Jr., Maywood Firefighter Union Predident.
“It has nothing to do with the American flag. The order that I put out said nothing about the American Flag in it. It talked about all decals and stickers must come off the front of the lockers immediately so that everything is uniform,” said Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh Jr.
The chief provided a photo from one locker that showed a monkey smoking — a picture he said could be considered offensive to some.
“All it would take is for a visitor from off the street who could be there for any reason, whether it’s to visit the fire station or to be treated for a medical emergency, or need the fire department for whatever reason, to see these pictures and to draw the conclusion that there are racist firefighters working in this fire house,” Bronaugh Jr. added.
But when FOX 32 News questioned the chief about the picture, which firefighters say has been gone for at least a couple years, the chief refused to explain why he used that as an example. He later did send out a picture of a locker with a golf sticker on it.