- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Despite heroic actions and international accreditation, history will mark 2010 as Los Alamos Fire Department’s most scandalous year.
Firefighters have been charged with crimes ranging from thievery to voyeurism and investigations are underway into cases of pornography and indecent exposure.
In February, Driver Engineer Steven Fierro, just months from retirement, was caught in a sting operation that revealed he had stolen cash from a fellow firefighter. He was sentenced to a diversion program and LAFD terminated his employment.
Capt. Aaron Adair, an 11-year veteran resigned last month after admitting to police that he had placed a video camera inside a paper towel dispenser in a fire station restroom and destroyed evidence in the case. He was sentenced last week to 364 days of supervised probation among other penalties.
During the county’s investigation into Adair’s case, pornographic images were discovered downloaded on a number of fire department computers. While not a crime, viewing pornography on work computers breaches county policy. The number of firefighters involved remains unknown at this time.
In November, Brandon Gore, a 4-year veteran with LAFD was charged with indecent exposure in Bernalillo County. The incident is under investigation and Gore remains on administrative leave pending the outcome.
These startling incidents have overshadowed the many upstanding individuals who make up the LAFD. The selfless bravery they exhibited throughout the year helping accident victims and responding to countless emergencies has largely gone unnoticed or been forgotten.
On Dec. 4, a team of firefighters conducted a dangerous high-angle rescue of a 6-year-old canine stranded 80 feet down in Bayo Canyon. Brody, a 60-pound Rottweiler mix had been hiking with his owner when he spotted a squirrel and pursued it over the cliff’s edge. He suffered a punctured lung and broken tail but survived because of the skilled actions of the rescue team.
Hill Diner owner Denise Lane credits LAFD firefighters for saving her restaurant from a kitchen fire on Dec. 13. The fire grew so fierce so fast that Lane said if not for the swift response from firefighters at the scene, Hill Diner would have been destroyed.
Firefighters also contained and extinguished a massive blaze that occurred in March at Quemazon Montessori School. A Dodge Caravan driven by a local woman left the roadway, struck a gas meter and crashed through an exterior wall of the school. Students and staff members were unharmed during the incident and praised the firefighters for saving their school.
These are just a few of the many acts of bravery performed by the men and women at LAFD. The department received international accreditation and was deemed among the best in the world during a special ceremony in Chicago in August.
As for its fall from grace, Fire Chief Doug Tucker recently said that while the behavior of some of his firefighters casts embarrassment on the entire department, “We will react to it, we will fix it and we will get it behind us.” Tucker added that he will do everything possible to restore the department.