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This should be interesting - possible complaint coming.


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  • This should be interesting - possible complaint coming.

    I responded to a fire the other night. I was only two blocks away at dispatch time so I beat the fire dept by a good five minutes. A wood garage for a duplex was on fire. There were two cars in it and several parked around it. When I got there people were going in and out of the garage getting their cars out. The fire was starting to get really bad at this point and only one car was left. It was a mint condition 1955 Chevy truck. The fire was about one foot from its hood and the roof was starting to burn. The owner wanted to go in and get the truck out but I wouldn't let him. He tried to force his way by me and I got in his way. I gently guided him away as the FD was here now and getting ready to hose the place. Suddenly the owner pushed by me and darted to go inside the building. I grabbed him and had too pretty forcefully drag, shove, push him away from the building while he was screaming at me. As I'm dragging him away the insulation in the roof caught fire and the whole building enveloped in flames. If I had let the guy in he would have been toasted. But too make a long story short, the mint, 1955 truck got severely toasted - supposedly $15,000 damage. The guy says its my fault. Never mind that I saved his life and the fire fighters agree that I saved it. He's ****ed that I put hands on him and more concerned about his truck. I'm on days off now but with the ruckus the guy has been making (there was an article in the paper today) I'm expecting to be in the I.A. office next week. I'm just glad I have fifteen fire fighters who witnessed me do what I did and agree with my decision.

  • #2
    Just remember, the primary duty of an LEO is preservation of life. You did good, bro. I'm a car nut, but I would have accepted the loss. I would have cried my eye out, but hey, that's why I have insurance.


    • #3
      You're a hero, Zamboni! Yeah, so he lost his car and he's upset. But he wouldn't have had his car w/ him at the funeral home either! And now that he is still alive (because of you!) he has an opportunity to get another vehicle to replace it. When all the facts come out you will be exonerated and people will know that you saved a life. Good job!
      This post has been rated PG-13 for your viewing pleasure.


      • #4
        If the guy made a complaint, it's gotta be investigated. Sounds like it'll likely go by the numbers.

        It'd be nice if they gave you a commendation to balance the scales. It appears you deserve one.

        Nice job.


        • #5
          If the press seems enthralled with the story, consider asking the chief or the union to put your side of the story out there. That can dampen the flames. Still, this doesn't sound like a complaint that will carry much water.

          I doubt any complaint would be sustained. If you get an award for heroism, it would be impolitic to invite the classic fire debris owner to the ceremony.

          Be safe.
          John from Maryland


          • #6
            I would guess from past involvement in investigating citizens complaints and lawsuits, that the guy and/or his lawyer will question your legal authority to prevent him from entering his house---fire or no fire.



            • #7
     save his life and thats how he thanks you! What a world!

              I don't think you should be in trouble at all, in fact your should be commended!


              • #8
                This is a typical "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation for LE.

                You prevent a guy from entering a burning structure (a wise move in my opinion), and you're getting beefed because his precious vehicle got destroyed.

                On the other hand, let's say you did let him save his truck, and then the fire flashed over and he got seriously burned, or even killed. Guess what? You'll definitely get sued then, because "You should have known better!"

                As long as it remains popular to blame law enforcement for the stupidity of certain members of the public, we'll always have Catch-22's like these.


                • #9
                  I completely agree with what everyone said. I think you're a HERO and hopefully someday the goofball will realize you saved his LIFE.

                  I agree with Sig, it would be much worse if you had let the guy go in there.

                  If I'm ever in that situation and dumb enough to get myself killed I hope someone like you is there to stop me!!!
                  Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.


                  • #10
                    You had no choice. You would be in REAL trouble if you allowed him in and he got hurt.

                    You should have filed Interference/Failure to Obey charges.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John from Maryland:
                      If the press seems enthralled with the story, consider asking the chief or the union to put your side of the story out there. That can dampen the flames.
                      Incredible use of words for that story huh?! Was that pun intended?


                      • #12
                        You did great. You would have really been in a mess providing you let him in to get it and he got burned. He would have sued your department for not protecting him. Ironic huh! Some people can be complete morons when the good guys are there to help.
                        "To each his own"


                        • #13
                          Not only were you trying to protect him, a distraught homeowner who was obviously not thinking rationally at the time, which you can ARTICULATE by his actions (hint, hint), you were also assisting the FD personnel in fire suppression by keeping him out of their area of operations and therefore delaying their effort to extinguish the fire.

                          I agree totally with retired on their approach ("How can you keep my client out of his own house") but we can at times, such as a fire when they are not acting rational (probably due to the extreme emotional duress he was under) or in the case of a crime scene.

                          It's all in knowing the law, acting within the law, but then ARTICULATING why you took the actions you took.

                          I do not fear IA or SBI, because I know I operate within policy (as do you) and I know I can articulate why I do anything I do.

                          I have read your posts about IA and I do want to say this: (and if I've read too much into them I apologize up front) If a complaint is filed, it must be investigated. Taking your statement is not "assuming you are guilty." I USED TO THINK the same thing! I got so mad and finally asked them why they were "always taking their side!" My CPT told me what I just told you. NO officer writes a good enough incident report to stand as a "statement" (except me ) so they HAVE to take it. A ruling of "not proven" is EQUAL to "not guilty." He told me VERY frankly, that after reading the officer's statement, 99% are closed out completely, but an investigation has been done. Everybody's happy.

                          I teach this here, so it's a "pet peeve" I guess. I do not advocate lying, but tell "all the truth." A statement is your chance to tell it from your point of view, and does not mean they think you were wrong. I'm getting off on a tangent now, but I advocate detailed reports-most cops just will not do this. Many are hurried, many think report writing isn't "real police work" and many are just too freaking lazy. ARTICULATE! This is not to cover up BAD police work; indeed most police officers are doing the job correctly. The documentation just reinforces that it was correct.

                          You did your job and did it well. Don't worry about IA.

                          [ 11-30-2001: Message edited by: SGT Dave ]
                          People have more fun than anybody.


                          • #14
                            So this guy is stupid enough to
                            A) run into a burning building to save a truck, and
                            B) stupid enough to be mad at you for telling him not to, and
                            C) mean enough to actually try to give you a beef over it...

                            and saving this guy's life is supposed to have been a GOOD thing??

                            Call me jaded (and I know you will), call me callous (and I know you will), but I just have to ask, "Is THIS the kind of life we really need to be saving?"

                            I say that if you are stupid enough to run into a burning building to save a truck, then maybe you need to be taken out of the gene pool.

                            "Sir. That house is on fire. You will very likely be killed if you go in there."

                            "But my TRUCK!!"

                            "Sir. I am officially telling you not to go in there because it is likely to kill you."

                            "You SOB, Let me in there."

                            "Okayfine. I warned you."

                            Sure. You would've been wrong not to protect him even from himself. You did the right thing.

                            But I'm just making a point here. Has anyone else made the observation that most of the people who end up needing "saving" from things are usually idiots that we might be better off without??

                            [ 11-30-2001: Message edited by: Sparky ]


                            • #15
                              Have someone from your department call him up and question him about his actions, and then tell him they are considering pressing charges on him for assaulting a police officer and interfering with you in the performance of your duty. Yeah I know I'm a ***** but so what? People like that are morons in my opinion. Fight fire with fire.


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