Home Fire News Former Tallahassee firefighter takes stand in federal whistleblower trial

Former Tallahassee firefighter takes stand in federal whistleblower trial

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An ex-Tallahassee firefighter is taking the stand in federal court for a whistleblower trial against his former employer.

Back in 2013, when Mark DeCarlo was interviewed by WCTV, he listed some of the complaints he had about the Tallahassee Fire Department. They included safety violations with fire engines and ladders and the department’s reluctance to get faulty equipment replaced.

Faulty hoses (L) Mark DeCarlo (R) reported to his superiors were rotting and fraying
Faulty hoses (L) Mark DeCarlo (R) reported to his superiors were rotting and fraying

When taking the stand he’s likely to outline these problems in greater detail. On Tuesday, DeCarlo testified that he consistently told his superiors about rotting hoses and fraying ladder lines– which put firefighters’ safety at risk.

However, despite his repeated efforts to tell them, DeCarlo says he was “largely ignored” and “repeatedly disciplined” for questioning the dept’s priorities.   He says he was fired for blowing the whistle.

The department had apparently opted to buy new winter coats and duplicate badges instead of replacing critical equipment- according to the local CBS affiliate.

The legal team representing TFD denies that the city retaliated against DeCarlo for his complaints. According to court documents, DeCarlo was disciplined for “inappropriate use of city email and insubordination.”

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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