Ky. Fire Commission investigating Southeast Bullitt Fire Dept. - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. Fire Commission investigating Southeast Bullitt Fire Dept.

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BULLITT COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local fire department is under investigation, accused of falsifying training records.

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

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

Strong allegations against the Southeast Bullitt Fire Department where DiEnno used to be a volunteer firefighter.

"At the fire station, they would have their board meetings, and every now and then, the training sheets would be out on the table for everyone to sign," DiEnno said. "If you weren't in the training, it would be okay for you to sign them."

On Tuesday, two auditors with the Kentucky 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 KY 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, says over the last couple of months, he fired DiEnno and two other volunteer firefighters for various reasons, and another paid firefighter quit. Hatfield denies that his department falsified any records.

"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, says the concerns for the community include, "lack of training of personnel...their tax money is really being not used right."

The Kentucky Fire Commission says there are three options: it could decide to interview firefighters and continue fact gathering, present the info to the Education and Eligibility Committee which is made up of Fire Commission Board members appointed by the Governor, or take no action at all.

With safety and taxpayer money on the line, the Fire Commission says it's trying to find out the truth.

Roberts says, "If you are a career firefighter, you get an incentive pay of $3,100 a year to have these training hours. If you belong to a volunteer fire department, 50 percent of your people have to have at least 20 hours training to receive $8250 a year for state aid."

He says state aid goes to the individual departments.

The Kentucky Fire Commission says the investigation could take up to two months.

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