As the fire raged in Andale late June at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sedgwick County responded.
Wichita fire responded as well with an aerial platform to hit the roof of the tall church, but that Wichita unit left before the fire was out.
Now, more than one person has been disciplined for the action within the Wichita Fire Department.
“Talking about the Andale fire, we had an administrative investigation,” says Deputy Wichita Fire Chief, Stuart Bevis. “Beyond that it’s a personnel issue and our department policy and the policy of the City of Wichita is discipline to employees so it’s not something that we release.”
Union leaders are still trying to find out who was disciplined and why.
The IAFF Local 135 President, Matt Schulte, is still asking questions.
“We don’t know who those people are, several people that have been disciplined over this deal,” says Schulte. “I can tell you, it’s none of the rank and file of captain and below so that leaves battalions, deputies and the chief really as far as the rank structure goes. Those are personnel issue that unless they’re brought to us, we don’t get that information from the city.”
Schulte says he has filed paperwork to get that information.
Bevis confirms the Wichita Deputy City Administrator took at look at the investigation and nobody got fired.
“It’s already been reviewed by the city manager’s office,” says Bevis. “There’s been no terminations in relations to this. Nobody has changed their work status.”
Bevis points out that Chief Tammy Snow issued an apology after that aerial platform left before the Andale church fire was out. And, he says, policy was not followed and that is why discipline has been issued.
But Schulte says he is left with many question.
“If we violate policies, you usually have to pay the piper. But there again, that’s outside us. That’s above the (union) bargaining unit because we represent the firefighters,” says Schulte. “I haven’t been downtown to represent anyone that was at that fire. I would assume that would be a Battalion Chief or above that was disciplined and that part they don’t share that with us.”
Schulte says the union still is offering an apology as to what happened that day, to go along with Chief Snow’s apology. Schulte also says he is confident in the fire leadership that it won’t happen again.
KSN did reach out to the Wichita City Manager’s office through spokesperson Van Williams.
Williams said the City of Wichita does not comment on personnel matters.
KSN reached out to Sedgwick County Fire Chief Tavis Leake, but the Chief was out of town on Tuesday and not available for comment.