5 members of HFD in hot seat over alleged misconduct

5 members of HFD in hot seat over alleged misconduct

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Some members of the Hattiesburg Fire Department are catching some heat after extinguishing a UPS truck that caught fire on interstate 59 on Sept. 1.

Five members are under investigation for possibly taking packages off the truck after they tended to the scene.

"That's what we're trying to figure out now," Hattiesburg Fire Chief Paul Presley said. "What was taken. Of course we've discussed things with UPS investigators so that's what we're trying to figure out now."

Presley said the incident is a personal issue, and names of the individuals are not being released at this time, but he said two captains, a lieutenant and two firefighters are under investigation.

"It goes against department policy," Presley said. "That's bottom line and what we're doing now is looking at our policies and addressing the issues and of course it will be taken further to a civil service."

Presley said he has put together a pre-action committee and that a decision should be coming soon. He said if found guilty, disciplinary action will be made.

"Anything from demotion to firing, that's what we're looking at," Presley said.

Presley said if the actions are proven to be true, they would go against the department's code of conduct.

"We're sworn to protect lives and property that's just part of our job," Presley said. "It's important for the public to trust what we do. We go in people's homes all the time. And it's important that people trust us. That's why this situation is being addressed the way that it is. It has to be handled swiftly and that's what we're trying to do now."

WDAM 7 reached out to UPS for a statement on the incident.

Glenn A. Zaccara, Director of Corporate Media Relations with UPS, said in a statement.

Packages that were able to be salvaged from this incident have been sent to customers. A reimbursement process has been initiated for customers who had packages on this vehicle that could not be salvaged. UPS did not give permission to the Fire Department to remove any packages from the vehicle. 

Zaccara directed WDAM7 to get details about the incident from the Hattiesburg Fire Department.