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.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader
www.kentucky.com


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  • by HOPEUL F.F. Location: OHIO on May 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM
    I AM A POSIBLE FUTURE LEXINGTON FIRE FIGHTER ( 1 OF THE 12 AUTHORISED THIS PAST SPRING HOPING THE MAYOR LIFT THE HIRING FREEZE.) I AM SADDENED AT THE APPARENT LACK OF SUPPORT FOR LT. CARLIN AND OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE REPORT. I FOUGHT FIRES FOR A PREVIOUS FIRE DEPT SO I KNOW HOW EASY IT IS TO BECOME DISTRACTED FROM YOUR ASSIGNED TASK WHEN SITUATIONS CHANGE AS RAPIDLY AS THEY DO DURING A FIRE. I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT LT. CARLIN AND OTHERS PURPOSELY INTENDED TO INJURE THEMSELVES THE WAY THE REPORT IS INDICATING. I ADMIRE LT. CARLIN FOR HIS QUICK RECOVERY AND RETURN TO DUTY. I DO AGREE THAT THOUGH MANY ILL ADVISED DECISIONS WERE MADE, THOSE FIREFIGHTERS WERE DOING THE BEST THEY COULD WITH THE PERSONEL AND RESOURCES THEY HAD. LETS NOT FORGET THAT THESE GUYS PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE DAILY TO SAVE OURS, AND FOR THAT ALONE, THEY DESERVE OUR TOTAL SUPPORT. I HOPE THAT IF I BECOME A LEXINGTON F.F. I HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE I SWEAR TO PROTECT AND SERVE...
  • by Observer Location: Lex on May 8, 2008 at 07:13 AM
    Firefighter's wife: "...if the information in the report was correct." This the crux of the issue. Richard Carlin and others who were at the incident are disputing the factuality of the report. When shown the report, one independent (non-LFD) fire investigator immediately commented on the strongly-opinionated slant of the report. When a truly legitimate fact-based report is released, Richard Carlin's actions, reputation, and good name may be vindicated. But that report may never come out. I DO find it troubling that two employee's wives have chosen to cast a negative light on Carlin's rescue crew in a public forum. Please remember that the job of these firefighters is to rescue people, including you, your children and your husband. I encourage everyone in the community to take the Citizen's Fire Academy and request to "ride-along" with Carlin and the other rescue crews. You won't be disappointed.
  • by To LFD non rescue Location: read on....... on May 5, 2008 at 07:01 AM
    I am not a member, I am the wife of a member. And, you cannot dispute that you have heard the same things about the rescue personnel or you would have said....keeping things "in house" and "secret" are what can keep progress and change from being made, and can potentially get people hurt or killed. Again, I am not sure what happened in this case, as I was not there. But you cannot deny that there are alot of people who hold the same opinion as myself that he was partially responsible as he did a job not assigned to him.
  • by LFD Non-Rescue Officer Location: Lexington on May 4, 2008 at 02:17 PM
    I am saddened to see that a member of this department posted their opinions of the Rescue in this public forum. Like we always say "keep it in-house." I support Lt. Carlin and the rest of the LFD family. Let's remember that hindsight is 20/20. Let's move forward with positive attitudes and positive improvements.
  • by Firefighter's wife in LEX Location: KY on May 4, 2008 at 11:23 AM
    It is common knowledge that the rescue team members on this fire department often do their "own thing." I cannot say that is what happened in this case, since I was not there, but it sounds like it possibly was if the information in the report was correct. This situation could have gotten other firefighters killed. I hope that a thorough follow up and implementation of new policy follows this accident, and I do wish Lt. Carlin the best.
  • by Concerned Location: Lexington on May 4, 2008 at 06:25 AM
    I was shocked when read the follow-up story yesterday and saw the Chief's interview regarding this incident. Good luck with your next battle Lt. Richard Carlin, we wish you all the best.

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