Firefighter Ticketed for Leaving Accident Dismissed From Department

WOLCOTT, Vt. (AP) -- A Wolcott volunteer firefighter who received a traffic ticket for leaving an accident involving his own car while on the way to fight a fire has been dismissed from the department.

Thirty-seven-year-old Matthew Secich (SEE-kitch) says he was stunned when he was fired by the town's fire chief.

In a statement in a local weekly newspaper, the department said Secich's dismissal followed a lengthy investigation of the accident and Secich.

On Jan. 15 Secich lost control of his vehicle and rolled over near the station while responding to a chimney fire. He wasn't hurt.

Secich ran to the station. He says a second firefighter was required on the truck and he told the sheriff's department about what happened.

He was given three traffic tickets.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Sounds on the surface like the right action was taken. I am not sure I would have fired the Volunteer but we dont know if this person had given the Department other issues prior either. I might have brought him in and explained why what he did was wrong and that he was being suspended for a period of time and reprimanded for his actions. But we arnt the Chief and dont know all the circumstances.
No one is above the law. So why put this discussion up FFN? do you think firefighter are special?
Probably to try to give fellow firefighters something to ponder, case actions that can be used in training, you know, exactly what I joined this site and furthering my knowledge base. Who would have thought?
Monday morning quarterbacking is tough and the news very rarely has or chooses to report all of the facts but here are my thoughts. The guy made a stupid mistake, he reported it to the police and was ticketed. I think that the Chief had an obligation to address the incident and impose some sort of diciplinary action, fireing him is redicules. There are obvious felonious offences that demand immeadiate termination, based on the news article this is not one of them. I believe that there are different degrees of "wrong", intent has alot to do with it and dicipline should be administered accordingly ( do speeders deserve the death penalty?). Being a betting man I'll say that he is a victim of the current PC hypocrisy that governs most jurisdictions, he created a negative image of the department so fire him. I hope that his Chief and local politicians are meeting the same moral standards that they are holding their employees to.
This is a tough one! Fleeing the scene of an accident is a Felony in the State of Oregon and I believe we can't be on our department if we've been convicted of a Felony...I'm not sure if this is only for violent felonies or what but I think we can all learn from this. A Chimney Fire...any not worth risking our lives and the lives of the general public...sure he was on his way to help someone, however, it is not reasonable to put others in danger in order to help some else...who is more important!

Our job and duty as volunteer firefighters is to help people, we can not do that if we drive in an unsafe manner. We are also looked up to and must always keep that in mind...follow all laws and be a good example to those around us.

It is sad that he was fired however, his department is liable for his actions when responding to a it worth the risk of a lawsuit for the fire department to keep him on the department? I agree with Chief Sharp, we do not know if there were previous incidents with this individual, we do not know the "whole story" .

What I get out of this is to SLOW DOWN...keep the adrenaline under control so we can arrive at the station safely and be part of the solution not the problem.
I think that the Chief had an obligation to address the incident and impose some sort of diciplinary action, fireing him is redicules.
It's not when you consider we're meant to be representing an emergency service and promiting what's right to the public.

As a FF, he knew better.

I believe that there are different degrees of "wrong", intent has alot to do with it and dicipline should be administered accordingly
And what he did was wrong, and if your laws are like ours, then it was illegal.
Sounds like it could be a toss up. Yea action should hav been taken. Fire him don't know would have to see his priors. May have been a history of reported reckless action. DK. Yes he was helping someone no that does not put us above the law.
i think there must me something missing from the report he might had done other things wrong in the past or there is more to the MVA like possible dui or past dui's that we don't know about like was there property damage at the very least if i was the only other person responding and there was only one firefighter on the truck i would had called dispatch and let them know about the MVA but if there is any damage to anything other then my truck i would had never left its a hard thing to answer i mean we all know the law but we don't know how the fire was called out was there anybody trapped in the house or was it a just a lil small nothing to it fire(if it was nothing to it i would not left the MVA) i will say this if you folow the laws of the road and drive safely there should be no reason to flip you pov unless somebody pulls out in front of you and you was trying to miss them if the road is wet slow down if your going around a curve slow down if you come to a intersection slow down even if it is green if it is red STOP if you ant part of the solution you are part of the problem if he had become trapped in his pov they would had had 3 problems 1 short on man power 2 a house fire 3 a MVA with entrapment
We are told if we are involved here as long as there are no injuries and we contact dispatch we would be ok but who wants to chance that, leaving the scene?
Yopu are NOT above the law.......your name isn't George Bush is it......? Oops.....wasn't supposed to say that was I.....Oh well....King George is gone.....Back to the issue....He was have driven in the way that resulted in a rollover....He was wrong to leave the scene.....and to be honest he is wrong to have it published as if he is being treated unfairly.....Just my point of view......Paul
heres my queston can the dept do that i mean i know its wrong to leave the scean of an accident but
can they rightfully fire him
It's not when you consider we're meant to be representing an emergency service and promiting what's right to the public.

Ahhhh good ole Public Preception and managements knee jerk reactions to it, I'll try not to get on a soap box with that one.

I agree that Mr Secich deserved to be diciplined and what he did is Illegal but without ALL of the facts and insight into his diciplinary record I will have to say this is excessive. Hell I'd hate to have to tell my wife I wrecked my car going to the firehouse.

Back to your statement, I'm not sure where your from, about your laws and whats considered acceptable or not so this might not apply you.I assure you that everyone that posts on this site has broken some sort of law this week ( hopefully very minor) or have presented themselves at sometime in a way the would generate a "negative " image for their department unless they have not left their house. For the non believers here a few things to consider, dirving( have you cursed anyone or flipped them off) or, Superbowl, New Years, wedding , divorce, promotion, retirement, or St Patrick Day parties etc., just imagine if a video camera was rolling. Does this mean that you should loose your job?
Most firefighters take alot of pride in doing our job and providing quality service to the people we encounter. We are however human, most dont claim to be perfect and we do make mistakes. This is where "intent" from my previous post comes from. I didnt see any malice in his actions, just alot of stupidity, and stupidity usually can be corrected.
Be careful when you put yourself on a pedistal, when you fall off, the sudden stop at the bottom hurts alot more.

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