2 fire captains disciplined in Fla. victim search
None of nine Fire Rescue employees on scene found the victim’s body in a partially submerged car
By Jose Lambiet
The Palm Beach Post
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Two Palm Beach County Fire Rescue captains were disciplined this month for their performance on the scene of the Feb. 12 car crash in rural Wellington that cost the life of 23-year-old Scott Wilson and could send polo mogul John Goodman to prison.
Captains Anthony Cinilia and Scott Bielecky supervised the emergency response to the middle-of-the-night accident.
None of the nine Fire Rescue employees found the victim’s body in the car, which was upside down and partly submerged in a canal.
As Page Two first reported in March, the nine were notified soon after the crash that they were under investigation for failing to recover Wilson, who drowned.
Only when the wrecker pulled out Wilson’s Hyundai was his body discovered.
Goodman was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter. Wilson’s family is suing him.
County Attorney Denise Nieman declined to release the full report of the internal investigation, saying it is now part of a claims file.
Meanwhile, Cinilia, 51, an EMS captain, was issued a written warning two weeks ago for failure to perform his duty, according to employee records that the county did release.
The records say that Cinilia, a 22-year veteran with commendations for his work in a 2005 apartment fire and a 2000 commuter jet crash, failed to recognize the need to call in a dive team. He was ordered to pay “closer attention to detail” and remain “alert” on accident scenes.
The records also show higher-ups believe that even if Cinilia had called a dive team, Wilson would have died.
A written warning, said Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Don DeLucia, is the mildest form of punishment for firefighters.
Bielecky, 50, a 32-year veteran, received a written reprimand, a more severe punishment just short of a suspension, for failure to perform his duty and violating department policies.
According to records, Bielecky, a diver and the first officer at the scene, entered the 60-degree water in the canal without the appropriate equipment.
He was ordered to review emergency response regulations.
Cinilia didn’t return a call for comment.
Said Bielecky: “We’ve been told not to talk about it. I wish I could, but not now. I hope to be able to call Scott Wilson’s family one day to tell them we did the best we could.”
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