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Captain at center of Florida house fire controversy resigns

James Williams leaves Polk County Fire Rescue over investigation into social media use

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Previous coverage of this story

The Polk County (FL) Fire Rescue captain at the center of the controversy surrounding a November 23 fatal fire resigned today (Tuesday).

Melissa Marino, WFLA-TV:

Captain James Williams was previously suspended for 24 hours for violating policy for the video he took from the deadly fire in November. Williams was under investigation for allegedly lying under oath about taking previous videos at fire scenes.

Sources tell 8 On Your Side that Captain Williams was allowed to resign Tuesday morning. County officials confirmed his resignation in a statement.

“This resignation is the result of an internal investigation after the employee was alleged to have posted photos and/or videos taken during emergency response incidents to his personal social media accounts,” the statement from a county spokesman said. “Taking photographs and/or videos for personal use, and posting them to social media, violate Polk County Employee Handbook policies and procedures and Polk County Fire Rescue’s Standard Operating Procedures.”

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John Chambliss, The Ledger:

In a press release, fire officials said the resignation was a result of an internal investigation launched after Williams was accused of posting photos or videos during an emergency response.

Williams was suspended for 24 hours without pay for shooting a Snapchat video of the fatal fire scene in North Lakeland.

In February, county officials began a second investigation after WTSP Channel 10 News reported that Williams shot a video at house fire days before the fatal fire.

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