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Fire captain hurt in blaze files grievance after being denied promotion

Capt. Joseph Fontaine earned the ninth highest test score, but was not promoted to rank of battalion chief


By FireRescue1 Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A fire captain who was seriously hurt in a fire last year has filed a grievance against the city after being denied a promotion.

Turnto10.com reported that Capt. Joseph Fontaine earned the ninth highest test score on an exam, but was not promoted to rank of battalion chief during a ceremony Friday.

"I can't promote somebody into a position that they'll never hold the position because they're disabled," Steve Pare, commissioner of public safety, said.

Fontaine, a 32-year veteran of the Providence Fire Department, has been on leave since March 2016 after suffering cyanide poisoning during a fire.

"Why did they let him take the test if they weren't going to promote him?" Paul Doughty, president of the Providence firefighters' union, said.

Pare said the decision not to promote Fontaine wasn't personal.

"He nearly gave his life a year or so ago and so this isn't about him or his performance," Pare said.

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