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This firefighter tried to save an old lady from a fire. Now, he's suspended.

Captain Daniel Thomas Dwyer thought he was doing his job when he tried to save a 95-year-old woman from a burning building last year. Turns out he was wrong.

This firefighter tried to save an old lady from a fire. Now, he's suspended.
Image Source: Petko Ninov / Getty Images

Sometimes, our institutional rules can override our common sense. Captain Daniel Thomas Dwyer, a firefighter from Atlanta, tried to rescue an elderly woman from a burning building. While this is part of his job description, he has been placed on suspension for doing so, Fox 5 Atlanta reports. Reportedly, his decision to enter 95-year-old Sallie Skrine's home by himself without waiting for backup is against protocol. Therefore, his commander docked his pay and officially suspended him for four days. Needless to say, the time seems rather inappropriate and extreme for the crime. He will resume work on February 19.



The incident took place in June last year. Dwyer approached Skrine's home and, at first, found it difficult to enter as she had installed "burglar bars" on her doors. However, the dedicated firefighter somehow got through and proceeded to search for her. Unfortunately, Dwyer could not get to her in time. Though he managed to pull her out of the front door and onto the porch, after which time his team joined him, she succumbed to her injuries almost immediately. This action, his commander explained, was unsafe and broke protocol. A firefighter is expected to wait for his team to arrive instead of venturing into a burning building alone.



Dwyer received a "notice of final adverse action" complaint on Monday this week. The notice outlined the details of his suspension: Because of his decision to enter the premises alone on June 27 last year, Dwyer will be suspended for a total of four working days without pay. He is expected to return to work on February 19.  The document, which claims the firefighter committed a breach of protocol, states, "You entered the structure without your crew members which are in immediate conflict with no freelancing, accountability, and maintaining crew integrity." It was duly signed by Atlanta Fire Chief Randall B. Slaughter, who said in a statement, "The disciplinary process for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department is designed to encourage safety and order."



Slaughter continued, "It also seeks to establish clear expectations in both emergency and non-emergency situations. At this time it would be inappropriate to publicly discuss individual disciplinary cases that have not been totally resolved. The City of Atlanta has a process in place where each employee is afforded the opportunity to appeal proposed adverse disciplinary actions with the Civil Service Review Board." However, Dwyer is not ready to accept the decision without a fight. He has since made a plea to appeal the decision. Only time will tell if the law looks favorably upon a dedicated firefighter who was just trying to save as many lives as possible.


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