Fire chief, firefighters suspended following alcohol allegations



FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - A fire chief and some firefighters are off the job for the moment while the city of Flagler Beach looks into allegations that they were working while under the influence of alcohol.

Flagler Beach City Manager Bruce Campbell showed WFTV's Lori Brown letters from city fire firefighters that expressed concern that the fire chief and a fire captain responded to a fire after drinking at the department's Christmas party.

Fire Chief Martin Roberts and three other members of the department are all off the job for now. The city manager suspended them with pay while an investigator looks into two separate drinking allegations.

"They are serious allegations," said Campbell.

The first incident is alleged to have happened at the Flagler Beach Fire Department's Christmas party at Friends Cafe in Flagler Beach.

Firefighters wrote in the letters that they saw Roberts and Fire Captain Steve Wood appear to be drinking at the party.

According to the letters, at 9:40 call came in for a fire.

The firefighters said that Roberts responded to the fire in a city vehicle, and Wood in the city's tower truck.

According to the letters, when one firefighter asked Roberts about drinking he reportedly admitted that he had a few drinks while at the party, and that Wood had been drinking, but was fine to operate tower 11.

The second incident allegedly happened Christmas Day.

The firefighters wrote that when assistant Fire Chief Shane Wood and firefighter Jacob Bissonette came off duty at 8 a.m. they drank moonshine and beer, while in uniform at the fire station.

"I'm hoping it's not true, because I think they are a great bunch of guys there," said Jane Mealy, chair of the city commission.

The attorney for Steve Wood told WFTV that his client was not under the influence of alcohol when he was operating city fire equipment. He said he expects his client to be vindicated.