Texas firefighter fired over alleged remarks, viewing porn


By Tony Plohetski
The American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas — Acting Austin Fire Chief Jim Evans has fired a lieutenant who told a co-worker on last year's anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that he would have wanted to rape a female passenger had he been on a plane used in the attacks, according to a memo filed today.

Evans wrote in the seven-page memo that Lt. Christopher Giberson also harassed female firefighters by calling them "denigrating nicknames," repeatedly sent or viewed pornography on city computers and advised an apparently intoxicated driver in a wreck to tell police that he hadn't been drinking.

"There are no words to adequately describe how offended and disappointed I am by this behavior," Evans wrote in the memo. "His behavior is lewd, disgusting and has no place in the Fire Department."

Giberson, who was fired Friday, could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a separate action, Evans also suspended firefighter Brock Stewart for 90 days last week after he said Stewart left his assignment in January without notifying supervisors. A disciplinary memo did not say where Stewart was stationed or why he left.

Giberson, who had been an Austin firefighter for 14 years, is the second lieutenant fired by Evans recently. Lt. Michael Pooler was dismissed last month after Evans said Pooler delayed the response to a medical call for two minutes while picking up food at a neighboring restaurant.

Evans said in the memo that Giberson's comments about Sept. 11 were "of special concern to me."

"The firefighters/heroes of 9/11 fought hard to preserve life," the memo said. "Many of those firefighters gave all that they had to assist the victims of 9/11. Furthermore, Lt. Giberson's behavior is a disgrace to the men and women who are serving our country, to those who have died to protect us and to the memories of those who died on Sept. 11."

According to the memo, Giberson harassed a female firefighter by asking her what she thought about a woman in a pornographic image and told another that he might have placed bodily fluids in his coffee.

"In my opinion, as well as lieutenant Giberson's chain of command, his behavior demonstrates he has a serious problem that the Austin Fire Department is neither qualified nor capable to help him address," Evans wrote.

Copyright 2008 The Austin American-Statesman
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