San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — Two top San Francisco Fire Department officials have been suspended for their handling of an incident last year in which an allegedly drunken firefighter struck a motorcyclist and left the scene before being tested for intoxication, sources said Wednesday.
The two assistant chiefs on duty the night of the crash June 29, Art Kenney, 78, and David Franklin, 48, were notified by letter this week that they were suspended for 10 and eight days, respectively, said sources with knowledge of the matter.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the suspensions are a confidential personnel matter. Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge had no comment on Kenney’s and Franklin’s status.
The department’s reasons for suspending the two assistant chiefs were not immediately known. Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White has said “better decisions” could have been made the night of the crash, but has not been more specific.
Kenney and Franklin came to the crash scene after a rig being driven by then-firefighter Michael Quinn collided with motorcyclist Jack Frazier at Fifth and Howard streets at 11:33 p.m. The rig’s red lights and siren were on, but Quinn ran a red light without ensuring the intersection would be clear, investigators found.
Franklin, who has been with the Fire Department for 24 years, was responsible for the crash scene initially, but Kenney – a 50-year veteran – later took over command as the senior officer. Neither could be reached for comment Wednesday.
Frazier suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung when he was thrown into a fire hydrant. A surveillance camera filmed Quinn entering and drinking water at a bar at Fifth and Howard streets after the crash.
Quinn left the scene just after midnight and showed up at his firehouse just before 2 a.m. He submitted to at least three sobriety tests, each of which showed his blood-alcohol level above the 0.08 percent that constitutes drunken driving, according to sources familiar with the case. The Fire Department has a zero-tolerance policy for on-duty drinking.
In November, Kenney and Franklin were notified that they faced suspension, triggering an appeal process, sources said.
Under city rules, the chief can impose suspensions of up to 10 days without approval from the city Fire Commission. Any firefighter’s appeal of a suspension would go before the commission.
Quinn, who faced possible firing based on a battery of misconduct charges, resigned. He was indicted in March on three drunken-driving related charges and has pleaded not guilty.
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