Atlanta fire chief responds after captain suspended for solo rescue

Chief Randall Slaughter told the city’s public safety committee that Capt. Daniel Dwyer’s actions could have put other firefighters in danger


By Laura French

ATLANTA — Atlanta Fire Chief Randall Slaughter responded to the suspension of a fire captain who went into a burning house alone to rescue an elderly woman, saying the break in procedure could have put other firefighters in danger.

Slaughter spoke with members of the city’s public safety committee on Tuesday afternoon, saying, “While it might seem courageous and commendable to go outside of the incident command system and take it upon yourself to do an act of bravery, you actually could not only jeopardize your life in the process but jeopardize other firefighters who have to go in after you once you get trapped,” according to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Atlanta Fire Chief Randall Slaughter told members of the city's public safety committee on Tuesday that Capt. Daniel Dwyer could have put other firefighters at risk when he went into a burning house alone to rescue an elderly woman. Dwyer was suspended for four days without pay and his currently appealing his suspension. (Photo/City of Atlanta, GA)
Atlanta Fire Chief Randall Slaughter told members of the city's public safety committee on Tuesday that Capt. Daniel Dwyer could have put other firefighters at risk when he went into a burning house alone to rescue an elderly woman. Dwyer was suspended for four days without pay and his currently appealing his suspension. (Photo/City of Atlanta, GA)

Meanwhile, outrage over Dwyer’s suspension has come in from across the nation, with firefighters from other departments and states calling the captain a hero and decrying his suspension is unfair. 

“The National Fire Protection Association has got guidelines for us to follow; all of the departments that I know of, for the most part, they follow them,” Tennessee Firefighter Joe Rape told FOX 5. “However, we risk a lot to save a lot.”

Additionally, Atlanta IAFF Local 134 President Lt. Paul Gerdis spoke with Mike Brooks, a former firefighter and D.C. police officer, on his radio show to defend Dwyer on behalf of the union, and also told CNN, “Time is of the essence. Captain Dwyer did exactly what firefighters are sworn (in) oath to do. We are absolutely against the decision to suspend him.”

Many firefighters voiced their opinions on the FireRescue1 Facebook post announcing the news as well as on the Facebook post sharing the chief's response.

Dwyer is currently appealing his four-day, unpaid suspension, under which he will not be allowed to return to work until Feb. 19.

The woman that Dwyer pulled from the fire, Sally Skrine, 95, later died from her injuries.

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