The Engine 15 allegations aren’t the first involving alleged sexual activity in a Chicago firehouse. In March 2000, then-Fire Commissioner James Joyce threw the book at eight firefighters for having sex at a Northwest Side firehouse, or for refusing to report the fact that a prostitute was working there.
In a handwritten statement that touched off the scandal, prostitute Jennifer Manzella claimed that she performed oral sex on as many as five firefighters a night over an 11-year period. In the statement, Manzella said she was paid $25 for every sex act, that the sex went on at several firehouses and that her roommate was engaging in similar acts.
Joyce could not substantiate those broader charges, but he said at the time: “The firehouse is a workplace — not a clubhouse, and not a fraternity house.”
In 2004, the fire department cut off Internet access at 59 firehouse computers — and ordered dozens of firefighters to undergo counseling — after determining that a computer at an O’Hare Airport station was used over a nine-month period to visit “inappropriate sites,” including possibly pornographic ones.