Loose Lips

Is the District Setting Personnel Records on Fire?

D.C. police and firefighters union officials are asking for an investigation into what they say was a giant blaze involving three dumpsters and an abandoned car's worth of personnel records, including medical files containing private information.

In a letter sent to the Office of the Inspector General today, the heads of the two unions say that last Friday around 5 p.m., a D.C. fire engine company was dispatched to the city's fire department training academy to put out three dumpster fires. After the firefighters started putting out the fires, they realized that some of the documents were personnel files of cops and firefighters, the letter says.

The letter continues: "In addition to the burning documents, there were unburned documents scattered on the ground throughout the training facility and unburned documents in an abandoned car. Members of FEMS were able to identify their own training and medical records in the documents in the abandoned car."

The unions also provided the IG with pictures and videos from the incident, which LL has posted below. In one picture, you can see one file that looks like records from some sort of EMT certification class in 1997. The fire company left after putting out the fire, but not before expressing concerns about the status of their records with Deputy Chief Michael Willis, the letter says. At 11 p.m., the letter says the same company was called back to put out a fire that had started in the abandoned car holding more records.

The union heads are asking for the IG to investigate whether city rules regarding the safekeeping of personnel files were followed. The unions also express concern that some of these records could be potential evidence in current or future lawsuits. "In this case not only did someone make a decision to burn potential evidence, but also they used District resources to transfer the documents, load the documents, and left them burning in garbage dumpsters—causing dangerous tires that required the attention FEMS personnel," the letter says.

LL is awaiting a response from the fire department's spokesman and will updated as needed. The ultimate question here: What are these files, and why were they burning?

Here's the letter, the pictures, and a second video.


Comments

  1. #1

    I swear DC politics and backroom dealings are better than any soap opera or drama on TV. Some production company could run a "Wire-esque" TV show about the district and use all the source material direction from the headlines.

  2. Crooked Politics
    #2

    There is no excuse for this. If a DCFEMS employee was ordered to set this fire by high ranking official, it doesn't look good. We were ordered to sign a BS ethics pledge and it seems no one is honoring it.WTF!

  3. #3

    Crap rolls uphill on this one and the man at the top needs to answer for this and should be removed from his office.

  4. #4

    Apparently some of these documents could be found well up Shepherd Pkwy.
    Hmmmmmm!
    That explains why the Cadets were walking around doing trash pick today by the dumpsters, cars & up/down Shepherd Pkwy (guided by their Lt & Sgt)
    Seems to me someone may have been trying to hide something.

    THIS SHOULD TAKE THE HEAT OFF OF:
    2 CADETS BEING ARRESTED AT BEST BUY IN UNIFORM FOR THEFT.
    And a certain Lt at Truck 15.
    What dirt does she have on the Chief?
    She should be on Admin leave but is still assuming duty.
    opps! Did I say she?

    Case Number: 5E00483516

    Court System: DISTRICT COURT FOR PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY - CRIMINAL SYSTEM
    Case Number: 5E00483516 Tracking No:111001715565
    Case Type: CRIMINAL
    District Code: 05Location Code:02
    Document Type: SUMMONS Issued Date:04/24/2012
    Case Status: ACTIVE
    Defendant Information

    Defendant Name: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Race:
    Sex: FHeight:5/02 Weight:135DOB:
    Address: xxxxxxxxxxxx
    City: WASHINGTONState:DCZip Code:20011 - 0000
    Court Scheduling Information

    Trial Date: 06/06/2012Trial Time:10:30 AMRoom:261
    Trial Type: TRIAL
    Trial Location:COURTHOUSE,14735 MAIN STUPPER MARLBORO 20772-3042
    Charge and Disposition Information

    (Each Charge is listed separately. The disposition is listed below the Charge)
    Charge No: 001Description:BURGLARY/2ND DEGREE/GENERAL
    Statute: CR.6.203.(a)Description:BURGLARY/2ND DEGREE/GENERAL
    Amended Date: CJIS Code:2 3010MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X
    Incident Date From: 01/06/2012 To: 01/06/2012 Victim Age:
    Charge No: 002Description:MAL DEST PROP/VALU - $500
    Statute: CR.6.301Description:MAL DEST PROP/VALU - $500
    Amended Date: CJIS Code:3 4025MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X
    Incident Date From: 01/06/2012 To: 01/06/2012 Victim Age:
    Charge No: 003Description:THEFT: LESS $1,000 VALUE
    Statute: CR.7.104Description:THEFT: LESS $1,000 VALUE
    Amended Date: CJIS Code:1 0621MO/PLL:Probable Cause:X
    Incident Date From: 01/06/2012 To: 01/06/2012 Victim Age:
    Related Person Information

    (Each Person related to the case other than the Defendant is shown)
    OFFR
    Connection:COMPLAINANT/POLICE OFFICER
    Agency Code:

  5. Inside looking out
    #5

    LL should get on the case and find out whats going on with the info Shining Star provided. I'm sure Ms Noble already has a head start !!!

  6. Truth Is Stranger
    #6

    I wish I could write stuff this good! Where's that Law & Order sound when I need it?

  7. #7

    I better go make some popcorn. This is all just too good.

  8. #8

    TWO CADETS WERE ARRESTED AT A BEST BUY??????? WHILE WEARING A DCFD UNIFORM???? ARE THEY STILL COMING TO WORK?????? IS THAT BEING COVERED UP AS WELL??????

  9. #9

    The ultimate responsibility for the training academy and its contents, to include all records, would be that of the Assistant Medical Director. However, until the current medical director provides the council and the chief with a name(s), the current medical director as Assistant Chief of EMS, has the sole responsibility for training and the training academy and all of its contents. This whole incident is a clear demonstration of what happens when there is a gross breakdown in leadership and unclear duties and responsibilities. Given the violations of federal law regarding privacy and the destruction of confidential government documents, I see no other recourse than to turn the investigation over to the federal authorities.

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