Virginia Firefighter Arrested For Drunken Fire Engine Joyride; Drunk Passengers Turned Over To Supervisor

Reprinted with Permission

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA (WUSA) - A spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriffs'Department says that a late night joyride in a fire truck led to the arrest early Saturday morning of a volunteer firefighter.

The spokesperson says that on March 5, 2011, shortly after 2:00 AM, Sean Richard Swanson, 27, a volunteer firefighter with Co. 5 in Hamilton, was driving the company's 1989 Pierce Lance pumper truck eastbound on Harmony Church Rd (Rt 704) near Canby Rd (Rt 662) at a high rate of speed.

A Loudoun patrol deputy heading toward the truck had to veer into the ditch to avoid a collision. The deputy turned around and stopped the vehicle at Woodburn Rd (Rt 769).

According to the spokesperson, Swanson was given a series of field sobriety tests and then placed under arrest. He was transported to the Loudoun Adult Detention Center, where he was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. Later in the afternoon he was released on his own recognizance.

The Sheriff's Office says there were four additional passengers in the fire truck, all of them identified as volunteers within the Loudoun Co. Fire-Rescue system. All four had been drinking. They were released to a sober driver and the truck was released to a supervisor from the fire company.

The incident remains under investigation. Deputies will consult with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to consider any additional charges.

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Oh boy!!!!
These are the type of f'in idiots that make the rest of us look like retards.He just creates a stereotype and we can't seem to shake.pisses me off!!!
no ecuses, no 2nd chance, turn in your gear, Vol work hard engough to gain the respect of other FD's, this can not be tolerated. A hugh black eye to the Fire service. Putting the public at risk, whom you are supposed to be there to protect. And that goes for all involed.
Nice going, you morons....
What the frack were you thinking?
Oh yeah.. you weren't.
The chief must be so proud of you he gave you the rest of your days off. Your so bright your momma called you son.
I won't even mention there was a cop and a minor on board...
Heh heh heh, I am not at all surprised. Really, not at all, other than they didn't hit (and kill someone), no surprise.
Do a little digging and find more than one incident involving Loudoun County firefighters. You guys are giving rednecks a bad name!
We are public servants no this is not a first but how does it keep happening.
A very unfortunate thing, as there will be others that will judge volunteers based on the actions of a few very stupid people.( Its the old 85% 15% rule The stupidity of 15 % OF THE GUYS MAKE THE REST OF THE 85% LOOK BAD ) I would hope all those involved will be dismissed from the department as well the driver should face some pretty serious charges. Not saying that these guys where drinking at the hall or started there but one might want to look at this if you still allow alcohol in your station. I know a lot of volunteer stations allowed alcohol in there station as part of a social thing and most guys don’t or didn’t abuse this. But unfortunately there are always a few that don’t think. Alcohol was removed from our station about 15 years ago Alcohol has no place in the station. I don’t know the details of this situation but from the sounds of it this is not a first? One may also want to look at the administration of this station officers and chief? In many of the discussions in the past it has been said that firefighters have a duty to act in manner which reflects the morals ethics and character that is expect of a firefighter on or off duty , one really has to look at the members of their station, I might be wrong but I bet this is no surprise to some that these guys were involved in this act of stupidity
Yes there has been a couple of incidents involving Loudoun County volunteers. In the past, only thing handed down to them were suspensions, then they were back in the saddle again. One previous incident resulted in resignations before any punishments were handed down. Luckily, some county fire officials grew a set of nuts and said those involved were not allowed to apply for membership at any volunteer fire company in the county.

There has always been a different set of standards for county career firefighters, and volunteers with the VFDs within the county. In the past, do something wrong on the career side, and it's termination, do something wrong on the volunteer side, like give the nearly killing a patient, mishandle a fire scene, it's no big deal. Just a learning experience.

Hopefully now the county will start to hold career and volunteers to the same standards. No matter if it's training, disciplinary, etc.
I fully agree. A firefighter should be a professional both on and off duty. We are expected to hold up to a higher moral standard than everyone else because we maintain a high profile public image. People look up to us. It is part of who we are. John Doe didn't ask us to become firefighters, we chose this. If you are going to fill these boots, do so as I have done, in a respectful manner!

A victim in a car crash won't ask if you are volunteer. They will know you are a firefighter. How can you look someone in the eye who has been drinking and driving and condone their actions when you've been drinking yourself? It's part of accountability. The chief should know he doesn't need a breathalyzer ignition in his truck and the rest of us shouldn't have to blow before we go!

Quite frankly, I have grown weary of hearing the words "he's only a volunteer." One should expect exceptional performance from any firefighter doing his or her job. No buts about it. As far as training... two words... Unified training. That's what IFSTA is for. It is also how one would be judged by their peers.

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