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Lexington Firefighter Disputes Internal Investigation

LEXINGTON, KY -- A Lexington firefighter whose actions the fire department said led to his injuries during a fire last year intends to file a grievance about an internal investigation of the fire, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.

Lt. Richard Carlin said he wants the investigation to be removed from viewing until all firefighters involved have reviewed it and all the errors he sees are corrected.

Carlin called the report released on Friday, which offered several training recommendations, "very upsetting." "About everyone in the report is slammed," he said Saturday.

Carlin suffered burns to his hands, arms, abdomen and legs during a fire on Oct. 8 at 4529 Parsons Lane in the Hays Boulevard area. He was in intensive care for 18 days, reports the Herald-Leader.

The report is critical of Carlin's actions, saying he became separated from his rescue crew as he searched the second floor of the residence to make sure everyone was out. He located the origin of the fire, but then improperly attempted to attack it without calling the engine company, which is supposed to search for and extinguish the fire. It said he later became disoriented as the situation worsened and was unable to get out of the bedroom, the Herald-Leader reports.

In an e-mail on Saturday to various media outlets, Carlin said he was "disappointed" in numerous factual errors and "outraged by the opinion that my burns were a direct result of my actions."

He said his injuries were caused by steam that was created when water was pumped onto the fire in an adjacent room from a ladder truck. "The burns led me to lose contact with the wall, and I was disoriented by the pain of having over one-third of my skin burned away."

Carlin said he was "not disoriented or lost prior to being burned, as the report suggests. I am confident that I would have exited the room uninjured had this event not occurred." "I just wish I'd had an opportunity to make sure it was correct," he said.

Fire Chief Robert Hendricks said Carlin was interviewed by the committee as were others mentioned in the report, reports the newspaper.

"I'm sure they did the best they could to get the information," he said of the six-member committee that created the report.

No disciplinary action will be taken against anyone as a result of the report, he told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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