Firefighter Handcuffed for Doing His Duty

California firefighter refuses officer's demand to move engine

Responding Firefighter Detained At Scene Of Crash
Firefighters are used to putting themselves in harm's way while doing their duty. Heat, smoke, toxic chemicals, explosions -- all can cause injury or death, whether at someone's home, at a business, or while attending a car accident. There's no secret about the danger.

But after a dozen years in the business, Chula Vista firefighter Jacob Gregoire just learned a new twist: being handcuffed. That's what happened to him the other night when he refused a highway patrolman's demand to move a fire engine while in the middle of trying to help victims of a crash, according to Gawker.

On Tuesday evening, a white Honda Civic went over a concrete guard rail on I-805 in Chula Vista, flipping into the oncoming fast lane and injuring two people, as the San Diego Union-Tribune and television station KFMB reported. Three fire department vehicles arrived on the scene, according to KFMB.

Sending fire engines to a crash is a standard emergency response. Not only are the firefighters available should a car burst into flame, but they are also trained and equipped to remove people from vehicles and work with EMTs and ambulance personnel.

The fire engines parked in the fast lane, with Gregoire's rig directly behind the car. According to what Chula Vista Fire Chief Dave Hanneman told the Union-Tribune, it is standard practice for the Chula Vista fire department to park engines to keep traffic away from the accident and protect both victims and rescue personnel.

"I know clearing the freeway is a priority for the CHP [California Highway Patrol]," Hanneman said. "Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our firefighters and patients."

As KFMB reported, a CHP officer order firefighters to remove the three engines from the fast lane. Two did. Gregoire was checking the car for any possible additional victims and answered that he would have to check with his captain, according to the Union-Tribune. The CHP officer handcuffed Gregoire -- in front of KFMB's cameras.

"Hey, I just want to let you know that he is arresting me," Gregoire called out to fellow firefighters. "It's unbelievable that you have to do this," he said to the officer. "It's unbelievable that you guys have to treat us like this. We are on the road trying to help people."

The officer detained Gregoire in the back of a patrol car for several minutes, then released him without an arrest.

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According to KFMB, other CHP officers have previously threatened to arrest other firefighters for not moving their trucks out of traffic lanes while responding to accidents. CHP and Chula Vista fire department officials met yesterday to discuss the incident and released the following joint statement:

Last night there was an unfortunate incident at the scene of a traffic collision on I-805, where both our agencies had responded. Both the CHP and the Chula Vista Fire Department share a common goal of protecting the public and providing the highest level of safety to responding emergency personnel, involved parties and other drivers at collision scenes.

Both of our agencies have the utmost respect for each other and our respective missions. This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.

This morning representatives from both agencies met to discuss the incident to improve communication and ensure the highest level of service is provided to the public. This incident will be a topic of future joint training sessions, in an ongoing effort to work more efficiently together.

This is not the first time there has been a public dispute between police and firefighters. In 2008, a police officer had to pay $18,000 for having arrested a firefighter in 2003 under similar circumstances, according to LiveLeak.com.

San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

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cbstinc

Another perfect example of a cop beliving he's above the law..But reallity is. That everybody else thinks he's a dumb Ass.

June 13 2014 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wigeflyer

This country is going to hell in a hand basket. when the State of California; especially the HWP should be brought up on charges. Its real interesting that two CHP blocked traffic while the fire department was doing their Job saving lives. I ve known many Police Officers to whom I talk to about this situation and agree the idiot CHP was totally out of control; he needs to be fired and removed from the position. I am hoping the state of California will remove this idiot from the department. Does anyone in this state have any common sense at all.......!!!!!!

March 31 2014 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jacksoncwj

AND what will the reaction be when one day a police car is involved in a crash and the firefighters do NOT block traffic and then another car hits the crashed police car killing the officer who survived the initial crash and then the driver suing the fire department for not making it known that there was a crashed car in the road ?

February 13 2014 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
clearhoads7

This show this guy should have never been a cop in the first place! the fireman is right not to in danger the accident victims and the firefighters! what was this cop problem that is protocol they need train people with coping skills and tone down there mighty then you attitude! if a car hits the fire truck no body gets hurt move the truck they get hurt! commonsense is all it takes! I am not a cop hater but every situation has two way to deal with and the cop chose the wrong way!

February 12 2014 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to clearhoads7's comment
William J

And what makes you think it was the cops problem? Your extensive and in depth knowledge of what went on out there?

February 13 2014 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stevemontani

they should have piss tested the cop.

February 11 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stevemontani's comment
tony

Y? every 1 knows that they piss.

February 12 2014 at 7:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
acsuissa

OK, boys you both have a big "stick". Now lets try to play nice.

February 11 2014 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tommie20h

It's bad enough that our nation’s leaders can't work together...now it seems that our first responders can't work together either.

February 11 2014 at 7:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

They both were trying to do their job. The ranking fireman in charge should have been consulted since the fire department was there first and since a life was in danger, and it was his decision to make. My guess is that he would have moved the truck enough for the police officer to get through, then moved it back so general traffic could not get through, assigning a fireman to stay with the truck in question. Too many police officers think they have the upper hand and its just not true. They have to follow protocol.

February 09 2014 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
JohnBoydStrother

According to KFMB, other CHP officers have previously threatened to arrest other firefighters for not moving their trucks out of traffic lanes while responding to accidents.
This was an isolated incident and not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together toward our common goal.
why does these two statements do not match? Somebody lied. Now who was it? CHP that is who.

February 09 2014 at 8:27 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
M

Another stuffed-shirt cop, so self-important he lost sight of the bigger picture.

He may be facing additional responses with a civil lawsuit by the firefighter, like the other officer mentioned. And the article seemed to indicate the officer himself paid the $18,000...

February 08 2014 at 8:23 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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