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Firefighters’ union president demoted, suspended after disobeying orders

Chad Cunningham was demoted from lieutenant to firefighter after failing to oversee the actions of an aerial ladder

By FireRescue1 Staff

HOLYOKE, Mass. — A firefighters’ union president was demoted and suspended after failing to oversee the actions of an aerial ladder that malfunctioned on the scene of a January fire that killed three people.

Mass Live reported that 10-year veteran Chad Cunningham did not properly oversee the activity of Ladder Truck 2, an aerial ladder that malfunctioned, according to commission officials.

The commission also said Cunningham disobeyed orders to move the truck and falsified reports.

Holyoke Fire Fighters Association lawyer Terence Coles said the investigation was a “witch hunt,” and the hearing was retaliation for Cunningham’s criticizing remarks about funding, personnel and equipment decisions.

The commission suspended Cunningham for five days without pay and said he must go through 40 hours of training if he wants to be restored as a lieutenant.

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