On-call firefighter fired for responding to scene of fatal crash

Firefighter who broke department protocol by responding directly to the scene says he wasn't responding as a firefighter but as a civilian

COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A paid-on-call firefighter who was fired for responding directly to the scene of a vehicle crash with multiple fatalities said he did so as a Samaritan, not a firefighter.

Columbia Township (Mich.) Fire Department protocol requires that firefighters respond to their station; the chief, assistant chief and captain are allowed to respond directly to a scene, according to Wood TV. For that, firefighter Michael Freislinger was fired.

Freislinger told Wood TV that he had previously responded directly to scenes and had been on probation for violating other department rules, which he disputes.

The Nov. 13 crash killed one woman and two children.

"The night of that call, I was not acting as a firefighter," Freislinger told Wood TV. "I was just a citizen that was helping out, giving them a hand. I was in route before we even got called. I was being a good Samaritan.

Freislinger said he is considering legal actions.

The township supervisors said the matter is under investigation and the fire chief declined to comment citing personnel confidentiality, Wood TV reported.

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