Fire chief concerned after she says video shows firefighter struck by firework

Local

Concerning, that is what one Wichita Fire Marshal is describing video he says shows a battalion chief getting assaulted while writing a citation on July 4.

“You can see one of the citizens actually using a firework, what may be a roman candle or something, to sort of hit the fire officer in the back of the head,” said Wichita Fire Marshal Stuart Bevis.

That’s what Fire Marshal Bevis says some firefighters got for trying to enforce the fireworks ordinance on July 4.

You can hear insults being hurled at a police officer and battalion chief after issuing a citation for illegal fireworks.

“It is very alarming,” says Fire Marshal Bevis.

Fire Chief Tammy Snow presented her concerns and a report filed from that night to city council. They are echoed by Fire Marshall Bevis.

“This is not something they are trained for or equipped for. There were several instances where the officers backed out of the situation because it was too volatile,” says Bevis.

Enforcing the law is something that Bevis says his department will always do. In fact, he says nearly everyone from the department was involved.

“Almost every exempt employee was out writing citations that night,” explains Bevis. “If they were not on duty almost every one of them was out on the streets.”

But after hearing about these situations, Bevis says they are planning to have more conversation on just what should be expected of the fire department.

“This is something that we have to take at look at and be decided on down the road. Right now, as the mayor put it, I believe that there is a lot of information that the council wants to digest.”

Bevis says the discussions about enforcement will go before the district advisory board meetings months in advance of July 4 next year too decide how the ordinance should be enforced.

He maintains that training his staff is not a viable option.
 

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