Firefighter Arrested While Helping Injured People For Parking Violation

FILED TO: Society and Culture

In a very bizarre scene caught on camera, a California firefighter was put in handcuffs  by a California Highway Patrol officer (CHP) and detained at the scene of a highway accident over the positioning of his fire truck.  The yet to be identified firefighter from Chula Vista was taken to the back of a police car after refusing the police officer’s demand that he move the fire truck from the center divider of the 805 freeway.

While there isn’t an official report out about the incident yet, the damning video evidence is incredibly difficult to explain from the perspective of the police officer. The accident, judged by the footage, seems to be fairly severe, and the fire team apparently took standard procedures to protect the injured victims. Chula Vista fire Chief Dave Henneman told U-T San Diego that firefighters positioned the truck on the center divider to protect those affected by the crash as they were being loaded into ambulances.

“I know clearing the freeway is a priority for the CHP,” Hanneman told the paper. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our firefighters and patients.”

Check out the footage below:


The  California Highway Patrol department and Chula Vista fire issued a joint statement later, calling it an “unfortunate incident” and “not representative of the manner in which our agencies normally work together.” It is unclear whether the police officer will face disciplinary charges over the incident.


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  • Brian Garst

    Government in a nutshell.

  • Jose Mojica-Otero

    As a former
    LEO, I can say this is not about miscommunication between agencies; this is
    more about the assertion of who has more power. Unfortunately, there is a bunch
    of morons working all over USA
    for police departments where common sense is tainted by power and authority. All
    emergency personnel should be protected, assisted, and respected by police
    officers when performing their duties as prescribed by law, and not treated
    like criminals.

    • Aaron Litz

      So it really was what it looks like, then; a pissing contest by the police.

  • IrishGrrrl

    Here in AZ, I-10 runs through the Gila River Indian Reservation and it’s only two lanes wide with no shoulder to speak of…basically if you off the road you’re in the desert. It’s the main thoroughfare down to Tucson and beyond. Accidents almost always cause the entire highway to get blocked by rescue vehicles and the firefighter/EMT’s that show up have to first and foremost ensure that their personnel are safe. The fire agency that cover the road is the Reservations. However, the highway itself is Arizona’s headache. When Highway Patrol gets there, they’re getting hammered by the public to get the highway open. Sometimes they get too frustrated with waiting and they will actually threaten to arrest the Firefighters. The Firefighters almost always respond with “Okay, if you really want to” because there is no way in hell they are going to let one of their crew get killed just so grandma can get to her cabin an hour or two sooner. The police never actually follow through on the threat because they know they’ll look like assholes, like this officer did. They’re all first responders and they’re supposed to work together. It doesn’t always work out that way and the relationship is often antagonistic because a police officer’s goals are not the same as the firefighter/EMT.

    • Steven Skelton

      Are you talking about the stretch between Phoenix and Tucson?

      • IrishGrrrl


        • Steven Skelton

          I drove that stretch dozens of times over the last few years and it is at least 4 lanes the whole way….did they remove lanes from US10?

          • IrishGrrrl

            I’m sorry, you’re correct! It is four lanes with a dirt separation in the middle. I think the reason I remembered it as being two lanes is because I’m so used to driving on the other highways around here that are all at least 4 lanes each direction. Whenever I’m on that portion of the I-10 it feels so gosh darn small. But my point still stands, the FF/EMT end up blocking it at least in one direction and if it’s a really bad wreck in both all the time. The reason I know this is because my sig other has firsthand knowledge of it.

    • Christopher Foxx

      and the relationship is often antagonistic because a police officer’s goals are not the same as the firefighter/EMT.

      Why not? First and foremost both are to protect the public. For cops to say “Well, MY priority is getting the traffic moving. It supersedes caring for the injured.” is an indication they don’t really know what their job is.

      Any cop who can’t politely but firmly tell grandma that he sympathizes but she’s going to have to wait a bit until the accident victims are taken care of should consider a different career.

      • IrishGrrrl

        On paper they both have a goal of public safety but how they define that and their methods to achieve that are VERY different. To a LEO public safety usually means everything running smoothly…to a FF/EMT it means treating and stabilizing the patients in that incident. They don’t care if the Highway ever gets opened again, they only care about safety on that scene for as long as it takes to treat the people and clear it. The LEO has much broader concerns beyond just that incident and hence their anxiety over getting the route open. On that stretch of highway there is literally no other direction, no exits, nothing but desert for many miles.

        • Christopher Foxx

          To a LEO public safety usually means everything running smoothly…to a FF/EMT it means treating and stabilizing the patients in that incident.

          If a LEO takes “running smoothly” to mean putting the care of accident victims at risk and gets “anxious” in something as basic as a temporary slowdown in traffic then I maintain that they are not doing their job correctly and are not suited to it. They’re acting like a Brazil-type beurocrat who doesn’t care what is actually happening as long as the procedure listed in form 27/B is correctly followed.

          The two (run smoothly/treat patients) are not mutually exclusive. And if the LEO wants things to run smoothly as quickly as possible then they should be doing all they can to make sure the accident victims get taken care of ASAP.

          • IrishGrrrl

            Sure, the cop in that situation would have his priorities screwed up…but that’s the reality in many cases. Unfortunately….

          • Christopher Foxx

            That it’s usually the situation is not an excuse.

          • IrishGrrrl

            I agree with you! I’m just explaining the reality, not what it “should be” like.

          • Christopher Foxx

            Fair enough.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Firefighter Arrested While Helping Injured People For Parking Violation

    The injured people had a parking violation? Wait, what?

    Firefighter Arrested For Parking Violation While Helping Injured People.


  • Simon Saez

    So apparently blocking traffic is okay for police officers, regardless of what the reason is, but not okay for firefighters when responding to an accident?

  • Jason E

    Arrested for blocking traffic? They should consider a law like that in NJ. Something tells me the governor would veto such a law.


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