SD FF accused of drinking alcohol before responding to call

Spearfish public safety officials said the firefighter had volunteered with the department for 30 years and made "an unfortunate error in judgement"


Rapid City Journal, S.D.

On Sunday, Sept. 13, Spearfish Fire Department command staff became aware of a volunteer firefighter who responded to a call and was suspected of drinking alcohol prior to responding. An outside agency was asked to investigate and take any necessary action.

The firefighter, Christopher Gengler, had driven a fire department vehicle to the scene. There was no damage to the vehicle, nor any injuries or compromise to the scene due to his actions.

The Spearfish Fire Department is investigating allegations a volunteer firefighter drank alcohol before driving to respond to a call. (Photo/City of Spearfish)
The Spearfish Fire Department is investigating allegations a volunteer firefighter drank alcohol before driving to respond to a call. (Photo/City of Spearfish)

The City of Spearfish is handling the incident as a personnel matter. Gengler is no longer with the fire department, and the city can't comment further on personnel matters.

“We expect all members of the Spearfish Fire Department — paid or volunteer — to demonstrate the highest standards of personal and professional conduct,” Spearfish Public Safety Director Pat Rotert said. “Chris has served the fire department and community for 30-plus years with an impeccable record. This was an unfortunate error in judgment that I believe was driven by his desire to serve and is not indicative of his character or the department’s standards.”

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©2020 Rapid City Journal, S.D.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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