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Dallas fire chief unhappy about helmet cam release

The four-minute video made its way on YouTube

By James Rose

DALLAS — Helmet cam video from a Dallas firefighter made its way on YouTube, and sources say the Dallas Fire Chief isn't happy about it. The four-minute video shows a firefighter from station 5, fighting flames with his team at a Pleasant Grove home.

Videos like this one are often used for training. The firefighter posted this one on YouTube.

Administration sources told FOX 4 the Chief is angry about the video being taken and posted. The source stopped short of calling it an official "investigation," but did say it is being looked into.

Full story: Dallas firefighter helmet cam controversy

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Karen Louton Karen Louton Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:09:02 PM What happens if it is your house and something is shown that is personnel that you would not want to be shown. I don't think the pictures or events from a fire scene should ever be on YouTube or facebook unless they have been cleared by admin.
Gerald Strother Gerald Strother Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:13:30 PM They should be used as a training tool for the fire house only.
Zackery James Cheney Zackery James Cheney Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:15:05 PM As long as the video does not show vital or private information it is no different than someone on the street corner recording it and posting it on youtube. If it is of the view of the outside of the house the same as if you would see by standing on the street then you are not going to see anything more than what you would of seen on the street. Just need to make sure there is nothing identifying the property or the owners..
Kenny Olson Kenny Olson Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:20:12 PM that's why departments have SOP's and a public information officer's. Weather it showed anything wrong it should have been previewed my officials ahead of time.
Donna Moore Donna Moore Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:23:28 PM Don't think it should be on utube, but in personal training within a department. Need to remember those situations are peoples lives and homes, etc. It is disrespectful to be posting someone's tragedy.
Gerald Strother Gerald Strother Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:23:40 PM But we are held to a higher standard. and we are on their property recording not across the street.
Jeffrey DeWitt Jeffrey DeWitt Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:35:41 PM Since he was at work is the video property of the city?
Zackery James Cheney Zackery James Cheney Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:38:29 PM Yea you are but when you think that there may be something found in the video that could be helpful to the general public isn't it good to share with them? If nothing more than to show what it is that firefighters go through and deal with?
Dusty Haglund Dusty Haglund Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:49:37 PM We go to save life and property. FF and EMT should not be able to broadcast the property they go in to serve. With the info out there there is no privacy any more. Anyone can find out who property it is, that is if they want. We should be able to use it for training. Then sites like Fire Rescue can use it to broadcast to other departments for training to see how we can improve after the department officially release it.
Karen Louton Karen Louton Sunday, March 31, 2013 7:39:55 PM I have to agree with Gerald on this not think these videos should be released except in house training unless approved.
Jim Bob Holley Jim Bob Holley Sunday, March 31, 2013 7:56:23 PM I think that it would not be such a bad thing for some helmet video to be public. Many people have no clue about the dangers that firefighters take when they are inside a burning structure and the courage that they exhibit as they fight those fires. I do think there should be a policy for the release of video, though.
Kenny Olson Kenny Olson Sunday, March 31, 2013 8:16:17 PM some departments have policies that state the camera is the property of the fire fighter but as soon as they are using it on a call the video or pictures taken are the property of the city and must be turned over to the pio prior to any sort of public release or internal departmental viewing.
Dennis Roberts Dennis Roberts Sunday, March 31, 2013 10:22:19 PM Yes. If it's not gross like a burnt body.
Greg Loftus Greg Loftus Sunday, March 31, 2013 10:51:19 PM in house training aid fine published to youtube not.
Austin Munro Austin Munro Monday, April 01, 2013 3:18:37 AM it all comes down to the fire department's policy on positing pictures, a video is the same thing. it should not be released unless approved by the department governing body.
Will Kane Will Kane Monday, April 01, 2013 4:56:48 AM Yes I agree with both sides but remember what you shoot or record can now be called into courtroom, It is now evidence.
Joshua Pfendler Joshua Pfendler Monday, April 01, 2013 5:26:18 AM Helmet Cams are AWESOME! Great tool for educating the public on what we do. See my latest on
Glennon Mayer Glennon Mayer Monday, April 01, 2013 6:17:02 AM What the chief was in the video so he is unhappy?
Bobby Dean Cranford Bobby Dean Cranford Monday, April 01, 2013 9:07:13 AM I think the videos are an awesome tool. I learn a lot from the videos I see on here and realize sometimes that everyone has the same struggles that we do.
Mark Fuller Mark Fuller Monday, April 01, 2013 4:19:16 PM Possible safety violations. It didn't appear the fire fighters were seated and belted during the response.
Mike Gordon Mike Gordon Monday, April 01, 2013 4:20:02 PM I can't believe there is not a Written Policy within DFD to address this.........Even in our small department we have a very strict policy on Camera, Videos, and Social Networking...........I think there must be more to it.
Pete Webster Pete Webster Monday, April 01, 2013 4:28:01 PM You do not take a families tragedy and put it on the internet for all to see. You should have more respect for them than that.
Chaplain Dave Sparks Chaplain Dave Sparks Monday, April 01, 2013 4:36:22 PM Yes, Zackery. Something in the video might be instructive to the general public. But you should always ask for permission. This story doesn't say whether permission was sought or granted.
Robert O'Connor Robert O'Connor Monday, April 01, 2013 4:38:34 PM Video like this should be available to everyone not hidden away in a public agency files... There is no truth that should be hidden for any reason...
Mark Bulla Mark Bulla Monday, April 01, 2013 4:43:33 PM I think they are great training tools. I wouldn't be able to view them if they were not on the internet, but only for the the department's use. In this one, I noted that the firefighters were masked up before they arrived. We don't do that here, and I was thinking what a good idea that was. I was watching a video from Philadelphia this morning where they were thumping the roof with an axe as they were walking across it. Although we do that here, it still reinforces the training. Maybe some videos show something that isn't correct - that's training, too. Thanks for posting these videos - it makes us all safer.
Jeff Hogya Jeff Hogya Monday, April 01, 2013 4:54:43 PM It does not matter what the circumstances are. We are always held to a higher standard and should never take an opportunity to show video or make posts about calls. We are there at peoples worst times and for them to live on for an endless number of years because of somebody's need to get on the "net is wrong. Do our jobs and go home... we do not need to be taking videos or pictures to prove what we have to do. With budget cuts and layoffs and everything else going on we need to look more professional then ever. I agree with the Chief being upset.
MIchael Hutman MIchael Hutman Monday, April 01, 2013 5:00:15 PM its no worse than a dash cam.
Chad Bronkhorst Chad Bronkhorst Monday, April 01, 2013 5:10:56 PM Helmet Cams are a good tool however, the department should have a policy for on duty use of recorded material and the property owner should give their blessing to use the film. One thing to also remember these videos are subject to open records because they are filmed on "city time". Therefore if a news team requested a copy of the entire video it would need to be provided and the city has no control over what was filmed. It's a great tool but ask first.
James Allen Mccauley James Allen Mccauley Monday, April 01, 2013 5:24:34 PM share
Chuck Harley Chuck Harley Monday, April 01, 2013 5:34:55 PM I think it is great that we were able to see a well trained engine company make a fire attack and extinguishment that was executed so well with no mistakes made. This is the only way some volunteer fire departments can obtain clips for training to show how it is suppose to be done. There was no invasion of anyone's privacy, and definitely no slack of duty by those involved. This may the the first time it has happened with Dallas Fire Rescue, but helmet clips are available on YouTube from departments all across this nation. It is a shame the Chief feels he has to make an issue out of this.
Sam GeoWallce Sam GeoWallce Monday, April 01, 2013 5:38:03 PM This is nothing more than a macho individual acting like the animals in the zoo that pound on their chest to draw attention to themselves. You cannot call them a fire fighter since the compassion for the victim is missing.
Scott Allen Scott Allen Monday, April 01, 2013 5:45:45 PM There was not one frame of the video that showed anything personal. Great video to show the visability ..... Unlike Chicago fire or rescue me.
Christopher Rosafort Christopher Rosafort Monday, April 01, 2013 5:49:35 PM This is a great video of a fire attack all of you who say it's bad are idiots... That is all
Chad Bronkhorst Chad Bronkhorst Monday, April 01, 2013 5:50:24 PM Ok, then lets use it for training. What did you learn?
David P Strawn David P Strawn Monday, April 01, 2013 6:50:32 PM Get a life, you are looking for something that is not there. The only thing this video shows is how tough it is to see, as a firefighter, in a fire. You can not see anything! Nobody's privacy is being violated!
David P Strawn David P Strawn Monday, April 01, 2013 6:52:02 PM There is nothing shown here that would harm the family! Again, get a life!
David P Strawn David P Strawn Monday, April 01, 2013 6:52:22 PM Why?
Brian P Slattery Brian P Slattery Monday, April 01, 2013 7:21:28 PM I think there is a matter of this being a career/paid firefighter on duty with their employer. I may be mistaken on this, but I do believe that even if it is the firefighter's personal helmet cam... the fire department DOES have a say about things because it was being used while he was on duty. Perhaps this is the time when the old adage "easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" does not apply... probably would've avoided LOTS of problems if the FF had just asked the question and gotten permission from the department.
Chris Jundt Chris Jundt Monday, April 01, 2013 9:26:01 PM I think the dept should have a policy on it, however....... As long as no HIPPA or privacy concerns have been violated, who cares. This gives the general public a view into our world. These can be great training tools as well. I just wish these were around when the old timers were riding the tail boards!
Marc Jackson Marc Jackson Monday, April 01, 2013 10:06:17 PM Personally, I see no issues with this video, it was a good job by the Engine crew and shows the reality of the job we do. However, as a chief (which I am not) I may be concerned with the fact that the two-man rule was violated - wondering if anyone picked up on this! Yes, there was a total of four there and in the back ground there was another unit in route, but not on scene at the time, and it requires two be ready to go in. Now, that is the rule, but we all know the reality of that and I'm not bashing them for it - cause we all do what we have to do to get the job done! Finally, there are federal and state laws about recording video with sound, which could lead to issue in the future with this type of video. This is a quote from World Law Direct website: " In the case of video only recording, it is normally permitted except in areas where people expect a high level of personal privacy like bedrooms, changing rooms, dressing rooms, etc. whether with or without the knowledge of the parties concerned. However, the recording of audio is almost always illegal without one party consent or two party consent. Under one party consent, the party doing the recording only needs to give consent. Under two party consent, all parties must give consent to the recording. One party consent is required under federal law. Some states require one party consent while others require two party consent. If two party consent was required in the state where the recording took place then there was a violation of law." Thus, my video cam has had the audio disabled and no video is released with out the Chief's permission.
Jaysonn Mammeli Jaysonn Mammeli Tuesday, April 02, 2013 5:38:44 AM If that's what your worries about, seated and belted, your gonna get left in the app bay at DFD. Bunk out en route.
Glen McCoy Glen McCoy Tuesday, April 02, 2013 5:51:41 AM The crew wasn't wearing there seat belts. What will the Chief do about that?
Turk Tones Turk Tones Tuesday, April 02, 2013 8:05:54 AM There are very acceptable reasons why the Chief might object to the unauthorized release of video during an incident. There, indeed, might be procedural deficiiencies that might not impact the outcome of the response but still may reflect badly on the department which happen in EVERY department -- but not something the public has to see. The department has a right to control the documentation of every response and this should not have been released without permission. Second, the release of such a video will probably be interpreted as being authorized by the department -- this is not the same as a police dash-cam video which has been authorized for release when the public sees it. And we haven't even heard the lawyers weigh in yet...
Linda Baker Linda Baker Tuesday, April 02, 2013 10:05:09 AM That Fire Chief needs to take a breath. He should be proud to show what his team can do. Great knock down guys. Text book layout and attack. Just don't understand Officers with this attitude. This is helpful to other departments. Way to go.
Thomas Kopaskie II Thomas Kopaskie II Tuesday, April 02, 2013 10:20:40 AM What did they do wrong? No violation of owner's privacy, no horseplay, no free-lancing.... Is it because the Chief never got to say yes or no? Take a deep breath, count to ten, then hit your head on your desk and remember that your firefighters did their job professionally and are able to show the rest of the United States and world ho well they are trained in their job!
Guy Allen Guy Allen Tuesday, April 02, 2013 1:56:13 PM I have no problem with the video however, it is important for firefighters to follow procedures before posting things for the world to see. Get authorization from a Chief officer, who in turn would contact the property owner for their okay. That way, nobody gets offended and we can all see a very good and smooth operation. Great job guys!
FETC Services FETC Services Tuesday, April 02, 2013 2:12:36 PM The video is a wonderful training tool, it does show some aggrssive attack by well trained brothers. The issue isn't that. It is the liability side of these cameras that can show "evidence" when things go wrong. Can't argue that they don't wear seat belts while responding. Or if they were to get in a collision, that video could now become evidence of in-cab operations, driving, sirens use or lack there of (if it was the case) Don't get me wrong, I love the fact we can use these tools as training aids for future classes... BUT Fire chief's cringe when they think what if we missed a victim on a search and the family finds out there was a video on youtube? In my department these are actually banned from use. The department technically owns everything you do while on duty, cellphone cameras, video cameras, helmet cameras, etc. and any type of media release usually needs approval from admin by POLICY. These youtube videos are just another social media disaster for union lawyers and often leads to firefighters getting suspended or worse. Don't get me wrong the DFD brothers did a nice job on that vid... admin see's things in a different light.
Chad Bronkhorst Chad Bronkhorst Tuesday, April 02, 2013 4:28:21 PM Good catch Glen McCoy, It was hard to tell on a few other things 1. 2 in 2 out, you can hear sirens later in the video. 2. No 360* in todays service this is a must. 3. calling for a hole on a self venting fire on a 900sq. foot house. Training is good with these videos but it needs to be done honestly.
Rich Benkwitt Rich Benkwitt Tuesday, April 02, 2013 5:19:07 PM Nice knockdown and good work! but they should have gone through upper channels for approval to release.
David P Strawn David P Strawn Tuesday, April 02, 2013 6:18:32 PM @Pete, what did this video show that would upset the family? They already know that the house was on fire. It shows nothing but what a firefighter sees, or doesn't see. Nobody was harmed!
David P Strawn David P Strawn Tuesday, April 02, 2013 6:22:31 PM @Mark, Why would you have your mask on while riding in the engine? Hell the thing would be all fogged up before you got there, & it takes no time to "mask-up" on the scene.
Teresa Allen Teresa Allen Wednesday, April 03, 2013 12:17:12 AM Yes the videos are great for training - but as for someone who has lost everything in a house fire I would have hated to see it posted on the net. It was bad enough that I had to see it one time when it was burning ,( yes I was there the whole time ). The owners of the property need their privacy - and as far as other across the street or where ever (not on the property) it is a shame they have rights and the owners of the property don't......I say good for you chief!
Jon Whiskey Jon Whiskey Friday, April 05, 2013 7:20:15 PM I'm thankful the man posted the video...shameful that I had to find it by an article like this. Too bad the Chief isn't proud of his firefighters instead.
David Blair David Blair Saturday, April 06, 2013 8:48:53 AM I think the engine company made a good stop on what seemed to be a well involved fire. I see nothing wrong with the video.
Josh Chitty Josh Chitty Sunday, April 07, 2013 10:44:45 AM Teresa your comment makes no sense. Because of the quick response and the aggressive fire attack, they minimized fire damage and saved this families house! So now they can rebuild what was burned and the family can remain in their house. That's what a fire dept is suppose to do!
Josh Chitty Josh Chitty Sunday, April 07, 2013 10:50:45 AM This was a comment posted on firehouse. Just clarify some of these outlandish comments. A few days ago, a Dallas firefighter posted a helmet camera video of their engine making the initial attack of a one-story, wood-frame house fire. The link for that video is here: The fire looks like a textbook example of your basic "bread and butter" house fire that we handle every day. Apparently, the media saw it, was impressed, and wanted to find out more about the cameras. They tried to get more information but couldn't get it in as timely a manner as they'd like for the evening news, so what did they do? In the typical "reporter" fashion, they made up their own story and made it one of the lead-in stories on the evening news. Here is their spin: A friend of mine is an Assistant Chief with the DFD and offered this perspective. He said that the news reporter tried to contact the PIO who was out to lunch and apparently was too busy to take the reporter's phone call. The reporter then went to the fire station (where the firefighter with the camera was assigned) and tried to get an interview and, per the DFD rules, they were referred to the PIO. A long story short - the PIO never returned their calls and the media made up a "controversy" about the cameras. The Fire Chief got mad because the PIO didn't do his job and now you have not only a controversy, but a "mad" Fire Chief. The reporter took a little liberty with the story and concluded that some type of investigation would occur and added that to the media "frenzy". Not only that, but apparently one of the firefighters at the station where the reporter was trying to get the "unofficial" interview was asked by the reporter if he was a member of the union (which led to the "Firefighter's Association is also refusing to comment..." The summary is this: reporters will say anything to get a story. Most of us know that already. They will also spin anything you say in a fashion that you almost don't even recognize it. In this case, the only "controversy" was that the reporter couldn't get a story in the time-frame he wanted it. From the Fire Department's perspective, they should have been more proactive in managing what could have been an awesome PR opportunity. Instead the media has portrayed the DFD command staff, and specifically the Fire Chief, as having buried his head in the sand. Ironically, they created a social media policy within an hour of this story making the news.
Josh Chitty Josh Chitty Sunday, April 07, 2013 11:03:05 AM Donna what was a tragedy? Nobody died?! There house was saved! And guess what the family can now rebuild and remain in there house for years to come only because the DFD did there job! You should go and thank your local department
Josh Chitty Josh Chitty Sunday, April 07, 2013 11:15:54 AM Let me help you out Chad. Number 1. 2 in 2 out. In Dallas we have 4 guys on the engine, 2+2=4 right.. The 2 FFs go in, driver pumps and the officer does a 360. So thats 2 in and 2 out!! Where's your confusion? Number 2. As I already mentioned, the officer did do a 360, and number 3. Just bc you see fire doesn't mean it's ventilated. Ventilation is a process that needs a continuem to actuall force the smoke out

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