Five Hartford (CT) Firefighters Accuse Department of Poor Leadership

Five Hartford firefighters are accusing the fire department of rampant mismanagement after a slew of incidents, including firefighter arrests and the death of a firefighter in the line of duty. All of them spoke under the condition of anonymity, reports

The department is “in a dangerous place, and if it continues in this direction there are definitely going to be more injuries and potentially firefighter deaths. It’s inevitable,” one firefighter said.

Earlier this month, emails from within the department obtained through the Freedom of Information Act revealed safety concerns in the months and days leading up to the fire that killed firefighter Kevin Bell. Those concerns included empty back-up air tanks and a broken thermal imaging camera used to detect victims or fallen firefighters in smoke-filled conditions. It is still unknown if either of those issues were linked to Bell’s death.

On Tuesday, firefighters claimed they had other non-reported issues related to safety. One of the allegations was that the department does not provide firefighters with enough ropes, and another was that the department doesn’t mandate the use of fire-resistant hoods to protect their necks and heads.

“The burns that the firefighters have received on their face and head could have been eliminated if it was a policy to always wear, or a directive to wear, Nomex hoods, but the union was against that,” the first firefighter said. “We have a harness in our turnout gear but the city doesn’t supply us the rope to escape.”

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