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Fire district board chairman says firefighters looked like ISIS with American flags on the back of their trucks

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It has been a rough week for those in charge at the Central Coventry Fire District in Rhode Island. In the run up to Memorial Day weekend the department had to a hire a public relations specialist to handle the fallout from comments that surfaced from last year by board chairman Fred Gralinski comparing firefighters displaying American flags on fire apparatus to ISIS. It appears now some of this has been settled with the union president telling WJAR-TV, “To me, it’s a win.”

Here’s the quote from Gralinski that started it all:

“They look like a bunch of yahoos. Like in the paper, like ISIS is Syria going to take over a city. I don’t think they need that big flag on the back of the truck. That’s not America to me. Those are a bunch of terrorists. So, I’m going to ask you to take the flag off the truck.”

Gralinski, when confronted by reporters about his comments, claimed no flags were being ordered off of the rigs, just stickers that includes flags and union decals. The union president, David Gorman, said otherwise. But a very late apology by Gralinski was undermined a bit, according to Everett Trainer of the Coventry Patch, by Gralinski’s own sons.

Two people commented on the Cranston Scanner post in support of Fred Gralinski’s use of the word “terrorists” in describing firefighters. Those two people were Ryan and Brett Gralinski who are the sons of Fred Gralinski. Ryan Gralinski simply commented and said, “The firemen are terrorists”. Brett Gralinski, however, went much further. Much of what Brett Gralinski commented has to be read slowly and interpreted due to the enormous amount of spelling errors and grammatical problems. Much of what he said is unintelligible.

Brett Gralinski says, “F*ck the flag and f*ck you. You’re pathetic.” He goes on to say that humans are inherently pathetic and says that he is pathetic too. He states, “If you were not (pathetic) then you wouldn’t give 2 sh*ts about a flag on a fire truck”. According to Brett, the flag is nothing more than a way to divide and conquer and that nationalism is a scam to “trick people into self-destruction”.

Besides the board and it’s chairman, the fire district has a chief and a management consultant, Gayle Corrigan. Corrigan has been described as a “turnaround specialist” brought in to help deal with the serious financial problems that long-faced the fire district.

On Friday, WJAR-TV reported the union and Corrigan reached an agreement over the flags and a long standing financial dispute between the two sides.

If the fire district really wants to get past all of these problems, it seems obvious a new board chairman is needed. How can anyone trust the judgment of a leader who compares the displaying of an American flag on a fire engine to ISIS? Keeping someone like that in charge is just asking for trouble.

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Fred Gralinski

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