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Flagler Beach Fire Chief fired for allegedly drinking on the job

6:49 PM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. -- The Flagler Beach Fire Department officially loses two of its firefighters and the fire chief all over allegedly drinking on the job.

Flagler Beach City Commissioner Kim Carney said when the city manager returned from vacation January 3rd, he had a pile of written letters on his desk from firefighters complaining about the alcohol involved at the station's Christmas party.

"It's a hard lesson learned, but it's a fortunate lesson for those that come after you know you got to learn from the mistakes of others," said Malcolm Dodson, a local resident.

Residents of the City of Flagler Beach are disappointed about the news that their Fire Chief Martin Roberts, Assistant Chief Shane Wood, Firefighter Jacob Bissonnett and a city employee were allegedly drinking while on duty.

An investigation revealed the Chief allegedly had a few glasses of wine before responding to a fire in Beverly Beach and although he warned firefighters drinking alcohol at the party not to respond to a fire after drinking, he allegedly still allowed Wood to operate a tower truck after having five beers.

"They shouldn't have been drinking especially while on the job. That's no good," said Jeffry Deangelis, a local resident.

The fire department is made up of six full time firefighters, the fire chief, and about 20 or 30 volunteers, but now the department is down three men. The city left firefighter Robert Pace in charge during the investigation as an interim chief, but now he may face suspension for allegedly falsifying time sheets.

"I think it's sad that it happens, but they are doing the right thing to get rid of them like they did," said Will Wokojance.

A letter from the city manager also discloses punishment for others involved. Steven Wood and Barbara Haspiel, both volunteers with the Fire Police Department, were also separated.

Commissioner Carney said Wood drove the fire truck to the fire the night of the Christmas party. The chief was hired in 2005, and there is no current word on a replacement. Carney said the city manager has moved some part time firefighters to full time to cover the department for now.

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