I just seen this article and thought it would make a great topic for discussion. I know it will probably be one sided being the site we are on. 

I am still learning the fire procedures and environment as a whole; so any information about departments around the country would be helpful. This is not intended to be a cop bashing posts, or start an argument. I would like to know who be in charge at your scene. 

Thank you in advance for your information.  

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When we respond to a vehicle accident we are there to safely mitigate the scene. That being, extricate any patients, assist the ambulance if necessary to get the victims out and put them into the ambulance, traffic control if necessary, protect the scene from fire and cooperate with the law enforcement agency responsible for the site. The Law enforcement agency responsible for the site has enforcement responsibilities as well we have. The time to decide this level of responsibility is not determined simply at this scene. It is determined by cooperatively working each scene and emergency. I have seen many of these type issues over the years where certain law enforcement agencies have attempted to take charge of a scene in a all encompassing manner. In our region we deal with State, County and City Police agencies. Each on has a level of responsibility. However, we work cooperatively with each agency to safely mitigate each incident. As Chief of our Department and County Chief I have established a working understanding with all agencies to safely and effectively deal with all incidents where we both operate. The only time there may be a question of authority we would discuss the situation and jointly decide what is best to do. However, this comes about because we have established a understanding with these agencies and cooperatively work together. If a conflict arises we deal with it together. Or we hammer it out away from the emergency.


Curious, are you looking to start a discussion on the incident (rather than let it run its course and wait and see what happens) or is this a sly attempt to promote your website.   Just wondering...

This is more than a single agency incident so by all accounts, should be a joint command. The fire chief is correct as being the first responder official on scene and thus establishing command. (Realistically the first responder on scene, officer or not, should establish IC. command can thus be passed etc as more senior personnel arrive)


The incident aspect dealing with the medical emergency etc was handled properly it looks like, but realistically, when it comes to the vehicle and removal etc of it, that essentially is the LE end of things. The chief IMO, was in the wrong to prevent the deputy from making the call. If the chief was concerned about the fuel aspect, well then pull a damn line....and one should have been pulled already. Even if a towing company came to retrieve the vehicle, the approach on winching etc is going to be the same, so is there no reason for the fire chief's actions during that part.


However, I disagree with the deputy's decision to allow some unknown person to come retrieve the vehicle because the owner didn't have towing insurance. Most municipal and county depts have contracts with towing companies to be dispatched for accidents etc, and given the circumstances described here, such a contractor should have been contacted. Since this was an accident, most insurance companies would pay for the tow, regardless of a seperate "towing" policy or not. I'm suspecting the owner was thinking about lack of tow policy like AAA etc......most insurance company policies don't seperate towing costs in an auto if no "towing insurance" as claimed, I'm guessing the owner had no insurance. Either way, in such a circumstance a contractor should have been dispatched for the removal as opposed to someone the owner knew.


As a matter of fact I am new to this company and my position has high involvement with the recruitment of fire personnel. I also am required to report to four retired fire officers. Not having but the basic experience with the fire service I attempt to find great ways to the learn the psyche of how firefighters think and operate. It really is the best way to assist my recruitment efforts. I do not wish to use this as a "sly attempt to promote my website". It is my goal as time and money allows it to attend a local fire academy to learn the procedures. Until that time I like to use tools like this website to learn from. Reading your topics has already taught me several first hand experiences you face on a regular basis. It also gives me huge insight to the fire service culture, and how you think. It is a very unique brotherhood, that operates far different than anything else I have been a part of. Please do not ever take my topics,and there will be many more to come, as attempt to market. I am truly interested in learning and engaging in points of interest. I chose this article because it just occurred and I am not so much concerned with how the situation will play out as much as I am in learning procedures and how to handle situations, in life as well, when their are multiple leaders seeking command in a situation. I hope this has relieved your curiosity.     

I don't see a particular issue, but the concern is valid with introducing discussion as a means to promote or sell something. We have seen several vendors and the like who have been banned for doing such similar tactics......start a discussion and then look to promote products.


Given the nature of this particular article, I see it as a valid question and learning experience. As I mentioned in my first reply and as Chief Sharp also implies, such an incident will become a joint matter how informal the process goes. I doubt you would see the "cop bashing" or even one sided arguments because it really is a cut and dry type of incident. Both entities could do better, but in the end there really is no trumping of one agency.


Now if similar "discussions" in the future take the same type of approach, I don't have a problem. If we start seeing links and promotion of the website and so forth, then there are issues. Curiosity and looking to learn from the site is fine, but keep it at that. Even in the short(er) time I've been a regular here, I have also seen such discussions formulated only to be a front to promote a product, site, etc. Quite simply, if the goal is to advertise, go about the correct way and pay for the advertisement, otherwise expect some concern from members who are astute to such tactics as Jack points out.

Thanks Chief Crabbe,

I see all your concerns. Trust me I have no products to sell or services to offer. So marketing here is not my concern. If someone did their due diligence, if they were concerned, my website link under my profile would show that I have nothing to sell. I am a recruiter that seeks to hire retired fire officers to fill position in our organization. I am a marketing student and have my degree in such, and the best way to evaluate any target market is to learn their physcographic. Since as I mentioned I only have the basic of knowledge of the fire service I thought joining groups like this would be the best way to learn from firefighters who use the same communication tools as I do, meaning social networking. Since I know I had to have approval listing what little involvement I do have on my registration might be the only way to get acceptance to use this site. I assure I will not use this as a tool for marketing.

In regards to the article. I read online viewer comments below the listed article, or one on the same story, and read multiple posts where fire officers and police both weighed in and it was more of a fight of who was in the wrong and "cop bashing" as it was put. I figured on here with the comments I have read on other topics I have seen insightful officers give their opinion on the operations of their department, and I believed this topic would present the chance to possibly strike a strong debate, but also to see how command procedure operates. I have looked at the SIMS training and I am trying to get my company to allow me the time take the online courses, because I feel it may be a better tool to seeing how you are trained. 

I respect your concerns and please for all future posters please ensure it is not marketing stunt or tactic just an opportunity to understand my role a little better; so that I may extend a sincere respect to the fire officers that I am hoping to work alongside. 

Holy shit, don't call me a chief....White helmets kill brain cells.


I'm just an informed firefighter.

My state has it spelled out in written law. (RSA 154.7) states the senior fire official and the senior law enforcement officer are in charge of a scene in Unified Command during a motor vehicle collision for which involves rescuing injured civilians. So the law forces the two agencies to work together.


Now on the other hand, when the rescue has been completed the recovery of the car is the LEO's responsiblity in my state, unless there is a concern of fire or hazmat during the recovery effort then it reverts back to unified command.



I think the fire or hazmat concern you referenced was the issue the fire department had with the police department. In that situation, if I.C. then reverts (by the way, don't say "reverts back") to unified command, how does that square with the chief getting locked up?

I see you edited your post. I wasn't able to play the video, but the accompanying story indicates the chief was concerned about scene safety with respect to a remaining fire or hazmat issue. (And nothing wrong with "revert". I was breaking your balls about your use of "revert back"). That phrase belongs in the Department of Redundancy Department.

     Who here knows the state law regarding the Fire Officer's true responsibility for mitigating a motor vehicle collision with a leak, spill or concern of fire? That information will provide you with the answer you are looking for.

     As far as clarifying my comments to your concern Philly... I was answering the OP who asked who would be in command in your jurisdiction, granted "revert" was probably a poor choice of words. I was attempting to state through two different examples (vehicle recovery with no leak verse leak) that it would be run as a unified command until stabilized like mentioned previously under the life safety issue. 

     But each state in the United States have different laws in regards to, "Who is in charge" of the scene of a MVC in a roadway, therefore I am only speaking for mine. MVC with injury - FD and LEO are in Unified Command. Nobody has more power over the other agency. Post Stabilization of Life Safety (Rescue has been completed) and road cleanup, towing issues only remain. Vehicle recovery without a concern of fire or a hazardous leak - LEO problem, they call for a wrecker, they direct traffic and they re-open the roadway, etc. Vehicle recovery with a concern of a potential fire or hazardous leak - Unified Command remains in effect with the FD remaining on scene and stabilizing the situation until deemed safe to give it to a civilian agency like a tow operator or a private citizen with a winch and car trailer.

     Regardless of what I say, it all comes down to the written law of who is ultimately in charge in this specific case.  Many fire chief's and police officer's do not understand the laws for which they are expected to operate under.  If the state law says the FD is in charge than the Fire Chief in this case needs to lawyer up and sue the LEO, and the town or state for unlawful arrest. (payday) but if the state law says the PD is responsible for all aspects of vehicle recovery post rescue, (regardless of leak, etc.) pay your bail and prepare for court.


Philly here is the video.

Fire Chief's need to research the law for your individual states and understand the responsibilities specific to MVC. many are written different. In this interview I still don't get the feeling he knows them. Otherwise if I was talking to the media, I would be citing the written law as how I was mistreated by the LEO and arrested while attempting to do my job of protecting the citizens.


Video's are always the downfall, like you can witness him being detained, but you also can see that the scene is not secured, nobody is in PPE, and if there is a fire concern, why is there so many civilians standing next to the car?

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