Fire department accused of falsifying training records for cash

FireRescue1 Staff

BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. — A volunteer fire department is under investigation after being accused of falsifying training records.

WDRB reported that there have been strong allegations against the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department.

"There have been a lot of falsified training sheets," said Gabe DiEnno, a former volunteer firefighter with the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department.

Each month, the Kentucky Fire Commission gives paid firefighters money for training, and volunteer firefighters who attend training get money for their departments.

On Tuesday, two auditors with the fire commission were at the fire department to investigate if names have been added to training records.

"We have found discrepancies in some of their training records," said Bruce Roberts, the division director for the Kentucky Fire Commission said. "What it is … firefighters are required to get so many hours per year for training to either receive state aid or incentive pay, and what they do at each class is fill out a training roster of all participants — and we have found a little discrepancy in the rosters."

Fire Chief Julius Hatfield, who didn't want to go on camera, said over the last couple of months, he fired DiEnno and two other volunteer firefighters for various reasons, and another paid firefighter quit, according to the report.

"What we're looking at is to see if participants were actually there," Roberts said. "We'll take rosters we have, compared to rosters they have, to see how they all compare."

Joey Stinnett, a former volunteer firefighter who was also fired, said the concerns for the community include, "lack of training of personnel … their tax money is really being not used right."

The Kentucky Fire Commission said there are three options: it could decide to interview firefighters and continue fact gathering, present the information to the Education and Eligibility Committee or take no action at all.

With safety and taxpayer money on the line, the fire commission said it's trying to find out the truth.

"If you are a career firefighter, you get an incentive pay of $3,100 a year to have these training hours,” Roberts said. “If you belong to a volunteer fire department, 50 percent of your people have to have at least 20 hours training to receive $8,250 a year for state aid."

The investigation could take up to two months.

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