HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A probationary firefighter has been fired for posting inappropriate photos of a deadly crash to social media, North Hays County Fire Rescue said in a statement Friday.
Firefighters responded to an incident early Wednesday involving a deadly crash in which several others were injured. While not specifically identified as the incident involving the firefighter, one teenager died and three others were seriously injured when their car sped off the road on RM 150 in Hays County and crashed into a tree, early Wednesday morning.
An internal investigation concluded the firefighter did post the photos to a social media site. He was fired Friday morning.
“On behalf of its commissioners, paid staff, and volunteer personnel, the District expresses its most sincere and deepest sympathy and condolences to the relatives and friends whose family members were affected by the accident and this incident,” the agency said in a statement. “The District also wants to convey its sincerest apologies for the intentional and wrongful actions of this terminated individual, and reiterate this type of behavior is not and will not be tolerated or condoned by the District.”
The Hays County Emergency Services District No. 6 said they want to assure the community that the “wrongful actions” of one employee is not representative of the district’s culture or core values.
The State Firefighters’ & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas says incidents like these allegations are unacceptable. While they are not directly linked to the Hays County incident, they do say there are general guidelines all firefighters should abide by.
“You’ve allowed us to come in and help you and we have an obligation at that point that we wouldn’t bring your private life out into the public,” Mike Richardson, 2nd Vice President of the association says.
Richardson is the chief of a department in North Texas, he says he teaches his firefighters to not take any pictures involving work and says if something similar were to happen, he would have zero tolerance. He tells his firefighters to treat every situation they arrive at as if it were their family member who was in need of assistance.
“Stepping that close into their lives and don’t do anything there that you wouldn’t do to those people in your family,” Richardson says.
Hays County Sheriff’s Office says no criminal investigation is underway; the incident was handled internally by the fire district.
The incident came to light after a KXAN Viewer submitted a tip of a Hays County firefighter posting graphic images of a crash site, at which time we began investigating.