Fire Fighter Gets Disciplined for Life-Saving Attempt

Victor Westerkamp
By Victor Westerkamp
February 11, 2020USshare
Fire Fighter Gets Disciplined for Life-Saving Attempt
Domestic complex on fire from a file photo (Aberdeen Police Department)

The Atlanta Fire department has suspended a firefighter for attempting to save a 95-year-old-woman by dragging her out of her burning house, which was a violation of emergency protocols.

Daniel Thomas Dwyer was assigned to the search team, while his colleagues were trying to get the blaze under control, but the situation was deemed unsafe to get in. Burglar bars around the house made it even harder to enter the complex.

Dwyer would have to wait for back up before he was allowed to enter the house on Collier Drive in northwest Atlanta on June 27, 2019.

Yet, Dwyer didn’t think twice and entered the burning house of 95-year-old Sallie Skrine, whom he found lying unconscious on the dining room floor.

In a heroic action, Dwyer managed to drag the elderly woman out of the house before other firefighters stepped in to try and resuscitate her, a video obtained by 11 Alive shows. The station did not make the video public out of respect for the victim.

Unfortunately, 95-year-old Skrine, who, according to her niece, was loved and respected for her generosity had succumbed to her injuries, the station reported.

Eight months later, Dwyer received a “notice of final adverse action” complaint, acquired by the news outlet, stated that he is going to be suspended for four days and will have to forbear the loss of salary for those days because he stepped out of line and risked his life to save another.

“You entered the structure without your crew members, which is in immediate conflict with no freelancing, accountability, and maintaining crew integrity,” the complaint signed by Atlanta Fire Chief Randall B. Slaughter said.

Fire union head Paul Gerdis, however,  backed Dwyer, saying that every second counted, so Dwyer had to make a “split-second” decision to go in, the station reported. “The suspension sends the wrong message,” he added.

However, in a statement, Slaughter clarified:

“The disciplinary process for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department is designed to encourage safety and order. It also seeks to establish clear expectations in both emergency and non-emergency situations. At this time, it would be inappropriate to publicly discuss individual disciplinary cases that have not been totally resolved. The City of Atlanta has a process in place where each employee is afforded the opportunity to appeal proposed adverse disciplinary actions with the Civil Service Review Board.”

Reportedly, Dwyer, who will be allowed to return to his job on February 19, will appeal the decision.

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