Garland firefighters suspended for hazing

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 9 at 1:51 PM

GARLAND - Four Garland firefighters have been suspended for hazing a rookie almost to the point of torture, city documents allege. 

The city’s fire chief says several veteran firefighters at Station #3 chased down Dalton Harris, 20, while the group was washing the trucks on February 25. 
 
Documents allege firefighters Scott Hunt, Oscar Lorenzo and Jeremy Sanford then duct taped the young firefighter to a backboard normally used for patients and held him under a pipe that “was turned on causing a strong stream of water to discharge over Firefighter Harris’ body.”
 
A supervisor, Capt. Randy Baker, who allegedly watched some of the incident and didn’t stop the group, was also disciplined. None of the firefighters returned News 8’s calls for comment.
 
“They were playing with a rookie,” said  Raymond Knight, the city's fire chief. “In this incident, it went too far.”
 
He admits hazing is common among firefighters and that the veterans had “no evil intent.” Even now, the chief says he’s tolerant of some horseplay.
 
“It’s traditional for them to wash dishes, clean restrooms, occasionally a water fight will break out,” Knight said. “It’s okay to play and have fun, but we need to know our limits.”
 
No one was hurt, but the chief worries the antics could have delayed the station’s response to an emergency.
 
“They risked injury by forcing him onto the backboard,” he said. “Response times are very important to us and this would have delayed our response.”
 
The three veteran firefighters were suspended for three days without pay. The supervisor faces a five-day suspension.
 
Yet all kept their jobs and remain firefighters with City of Garland, as does the rookie, whom Knight describes as very popular.
 
“He’s so very well liked that that’s why they were playing with him,” he said. “And in my opinion, it went a little bit too far.”

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