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Firefighter sues chief for alleged drunk driving accident

A firefighter was seriously injured after his Asst. Chief lost control of the apparatus while drinking

By FireRescue1 Staff

UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A volunteer firefighter is suing his fire chief after he suffered serious injuries caused by the chief's alleged drunk driving.

Firefighter Stu Mintz, 41, of the North Bangor Volunteer Co. was assigned to ride with Asst. Fire Chief Zachary Romano, who was 20 at the time, to a parade in July 2010, according to the Express-Times.

Chief Romano had been drinking earlier in the day and while driving himself and Firefighter Mintz back from the parade, lost control of the truck and rolled it onto its side.

Firefighter Mintz's suit says that Chief Romano had stopped for a 30 pack of beer and continued to drink while he drove. After the accident, police said they saw empty beer cans in the apparatus.

Express-Times reports that police tested Romano's BAC at .16 after the accident and was charged with drunken driving. It is unclear how the case was resolved.

Firefighter Mintz says that he broke two vertebrae, tore his rotator cuff, suffered a concussion and is now battling depression and PTSD.

The suit also alleges that the fire company allowed alcohol abuse to occur.

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Bill Waugaman Bill Waugaman Monday, November 12, 2012 3:20:33 PM Stu Mintz, you need a serious foot in your southside. So you drink with and underage Asst Chief (20y/old and a Asst Chief?), in a tender, stop for brews during the parade (operate a vehicle under the influence) and then flip said brew wagon. Oh yeah, wonder who bought Romano the brews. Think PA's law is 21...Hmmmm victim NO!
Mick Chester Mick Chester Monday, November 12, 2012 6:23:19 PM How did I know this would be from PA.
Chris Larson Chris Larson Monday, November 12, 2012 6:29:37 PM I must agree with you, first question 20 and Asst Chief???? next who bought it? did he have a fake ID or did said passenger buy it? and if the passenger was sober why did he not pull up his big boy pants and take over the wheel while his asst chief was inside getting his fill? I dont see this being settled there are just to many wrongs going on here and nothing adds up
Michael Marushia Michael Marushia Monday, November 12, 2012 6:31:00 PM Wow, what isn't wrong with this picture. First, how in the hell do you make Asst. Chief at 20 in a reputable department? Then, he buys the beer and gives it to the underage Chief in the wagon, while having a few himself and he wants to hold the kid responsible? I'd be investigating this entire department, not just these two rocket scientists....
Steven W. Wilgus Steven W. Wilgus Monday, November 12, 2012 6:31:23 PM what 20 year old has anywheres near the real world experience to be an asst chief of ANYTHING? Really? the alcohol issue is another idiot case - both need firing: one for doing and the "adult" for allowing. NO sympathy - even if he "wins" he is stupid for allowing this to occur. There are OBVIOUS reasons DUI's exist - this is but another. Not to mention replacing/reparing the Rig. AND BUYING ALCOHOL IN AN FD UNIFORM? ARE you KIDDING me? In MY department that is FORBIDDEN as we are in public and it ALWAYS gives a wrong impression. Zero Tolerance and I totally agree. These sound like pogues.
Roger Sandoval Roger Sandoval Monday, November 12, 2012 7:33:53 PM Zero Tolerance means ZERO TOLERANCE in the apparatus ,,really !!! Fire the both of em !
Craig Snowberger Craig Snowberger Tuesday, November 13, 2012 4:03:00 AM This seems to be Todays Fire Service in certain places of the US.Even with National Standards............... To damm young to be a CFO!!!!!!!!!!! When will certain People listen!!!!!!!!!!!
John R Eeten John R Eeten Tuesday, November 13, 2012 10:18:30 AM In our Fire Department, one must be 21 and have a minimum of 60 hours drive time, after the EVD Classes for each type of Apparatus. Only Alcohol Swabs are allowed on the Apparatus, and the only time the Chief, Asst. Chiefs, or anyone above the Driver Operator spots drive is when there are no more D/Os. No one is voted or handed the position, one earns and works for the Rank. To be a Fire Officer of the Sunset Harbor & Zion Hill VFD, one must meet a policy of being off of Probation for three years, must have NFPA Fire Officer I, II, III, and soon IV. A Chief Officer must also meet various other qualifications, i.e.: NFA Safety Officer Certification, Building Construction, Fire prevention, RITO, NIMMS 400, along with various other Certifications and Classes. Once they have passed their testing and reviews, then they are evaluated and recommendations given by a committee of their perspective peers. Both are at fault and violation of our Fire Department's HR, SOP, SOG, and any other Common Sense Practice. Both would be dismissed as we truly have and practice a Zero Tolerance for all disregards of any and all laws of the land and that of the Fire Service.
Brian Bird Brian Bird Wednesday, November 14, 2012 8:13:20 AM I love the "battling depression and PTSD" part the most. Thank you fellas for once again casting the light of stupidity on the fire service!
Brad MacMillan Brad MacMillan Tuesday, December 11, 2012 9:59:32 PM Pure idiocy. That is all.
Brad MacMillan Brad MacMillan Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:01:33 PM Not to mention, the liquor store employees should not only question the member, but also deny him as he is in uniform

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