9 Investigates fire department vehicle misuse



ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Fire Department has 24 take-home vehicles in its fleet: 13 pickup trucks, six SUVs and five passenger cars. 

The department said the vehicles are needed for emergency response and are to be used by assigned members of the department for official use only.  However, the department admitted to Eyewitness News it does not track where the vehicles go.

On Aug. 12, Lt. David Pegues’ OFD Ford F250 pickup truck was spotted at the Zellwood Station Golf Club near Apopka.  The vehicle remained in the parking lot for about two hours. 

An internal investigation started after Eyewitness News asked about the vehicle’s use revealed that Pegues, who lives near Apopka, had taken his son to a golf lesson at the club.  At the conclusion of the internal investigation, Pegues was given a verbal reprimand for the use of the vehicle for personal use, a violation of city of Orlando policy.

“They are an emergency response vehicles,” said OFD District Chief Mark Gregory.  “It’s a value to the department and the citizens to have these people available to respond back into the city should they be needed.”

But Orlando Fire Department does not have a requirement for employees with department-issued vehicles to live within the city or even within Orange County. 

Pegues lives near Apopka, 20 miles from the Orlando Fire Department.

In addition, the Orlando Fire Department said it does not track vehicle usage, with the exception of scheduled maintenance.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the city of Orlando wrote, “The investigation into Lt. Pegues found that he violated the Orlando Fire Department policy related to city vehicles.  As a result, Lt. Pegues has received the appropriate discipline.  The city encourages members of the public to contact the 24-hour hotline at 407-246-2678 to report any possible occurrences or witnesses improper use of city property or resources.”