Chief angered by video horseplay

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Augusta Fire Chief Howard Willis said Tuesday he's none too happy about a film clip posted on YouTube.

This still was taken from a 16-second video showing an Augusta firefighter duct-taping another's mouth, neck and head. The video has since been removed by the user who posted it, according to a note on the YouTube site.  Special
Special
This still was taken from a 16-second video showing an Augusta firefighter duct-taping another's mouth, neck and head. The video has since been removed by the user who posted it, according to a note on the YouTube site.

The 16-second video shows an Augusta firefighter duct-taping another's mouth, neck and head while he appears to struggle in vain.

"I don't tolerate any kind of hazing or anything like it, and I'm (going to) get to the bottom of this," Chief Willis said Tuesday.

The chief said two firefighters involved, Brandon Trapp and his supervisor, Lt. Jeff Daniels, will be in his office this morning to explain what's on the clip and how it got on the video-sharing Web site. Mr. Trapp, 22, is the apparent victim in the entry, titled "P-Trap getting taped up."

The explainer text reads, "firefighter with smart mouth gets handled."

Both men work at Station 3 on Reynolds Street and come back on shift today.

Contacted by phone Tuesday, Mr. Trapp said the incident was no more than in-station horseplay, just a "laughing, joking around-type thing" to pass the time. He said it was Lt. Daniels doing the duct-taping, and he later helped him pull it off. He said he's not even upset that someone posted the clip on the Internet.

"It's all good," the three-year firefighter said. "I know they didn't use my real name or anything like that."

In the video, a young man in a blue shirt with the Augusta Fire Department emblem on the left sleeve is seated at a table, and a similarly dressed man standing over him holds his head and makes six passes with a roll of duct tape, covering his mouth and tightly covering his neck, ears and forehead. In the background, hysterical laughter can be heard.

Mr. Trapp said he's not sure who was laughing or who was filming.

It's not clear in the video whether Mr. Trapp is subdued -- he says he wasn't -- but he squirms and grunts, prompting the man in the background to laugh harder. Seated to his left is another figure, back to the camera, with "Fire Rescue" on the back of a dark shirt.

The only face clearly visible is Mr. Trapp's. He said he wasn't injured, and as for the pain of pulling off the tape, he's suffered injuries in fires that hurt worse.

The men at the station are like brothers, he said. Sometimes, the high jinks can go to extremes, but this wasn't one of them. He described an atmosphere of Police Academy -style pranks and retributions, all in good fun.

The clip was added March 24 by a user with the screenname jdfirre, a 44-year-old firefighter, according to the profile page. Augusta human resources office records say Lt. Daniels, a 17-year veteran of the department, is 44.

The county's employee handbook forbids violence, threats of violence and harassment, and says offenders can be prosecuted. The fire department's administrative manual says workers "shall commit no act tending to bring reproach or discredit upon the Fire Department or its members."

Chief Willis said these are firing offenses.

"They think they're being funny, I think," he said, "and there's nothing funny about it."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

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GnipGnop
12241
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 01:22 am
0
0
If the person who was taped

If the person who was taped isn't complaining what's the big deal? These guys work a stressful job and if they have a little fun and nobody is complaining I don't see a problem. We have become so PC that you can't even play practical jokes or have fun at work anymore. Seems like some employers want mindless robots.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 04/09/08 - 02:26 am
0
0
What's the problem? What if

What's the problem? What if there is a fire call while this nonsense is going on........that's the problem.

What they do on their OWN time is one thing, but they are being paid to be prepared for emergencies.

They should both be terminated, but especially the supervisor. He should be the one with maturity and wisdom to know the problems and consequences of these actions.

pablanco
0
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pablanco 04/09/08 - 02:27 am
0
0
What happened to

What happened to individuality in the world? if they were supposed to be doing something else then maybe I would be irritated if I was the chief but I was under the assumption that they sat around the fire house for very long shifts until they had fire calls. I think he should be happy that his group gets along. I would rather have clowns working for me than a bunch of grumps.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
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He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 04/09/08 - 04:08 am
0
0
I don't think it's that big

I don't think it's that big of a deal, but I'll take efficient grumps over clowns any day.

aikshop1
0
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aikshop1 04/09/08 - 04:28 am
0
0
Fire the Chief!!!!!

Fire the Chief!!!!!

aikshop1
0
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aikshop1 04/09/08 - 04:30 am
0
0
At least they were awake!!!!!

At least they were awake!!!!!

chatty814
0
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chatty814 04/09/08 - 04:42 am
0
0
I believe Mr. Trapp referred

I believe Mr. Trapp referred to the incident as "just killing time", as a taxpayer (paying his salary) I am shocked at that comment. Is he being paid to perform the duties of a firefighter or is he being paid to "just kill time"? I've never had a job where I have been paid to just kill time, in fact if caught "just killing time" I think there would be reprocussions!!!!!!!!!!

chatty814
0
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chatty814 04/09/08 - 04:43 am
0
0
If they did have a call, I

If they did have a call, I would like to know how long it would take to untape the firefighter so he could answer the call and perform the duty he is being paid to perform?????????????

Just My Opinion
5638
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Just My Opinion 04/09/08 - 04:58 am
0
0
You people on here who are

You people on here who are being critical here are really being ridiculous and you don't know what you're talking about. You must think that, to be prepared to leave the firehouse on a moment's notice, these guys have to sit still with their boots and helmet on! It's also not your fault that you have this opinion...it just tells me that you don't know any firemen. They are basically good, hardworking people who have a job that requires them to work very long hours together. During that time, horseplay will come up...it's just human nature. I don't care what job it is, it's going to happen. The ONLY reason the chief is upset, is because someone brought this to his attention, and he feels like he has to respond because of attitudes like yours. I'm quite sure he did it in the past. He's probably still doing things like this. And that's okay. So, you guys need to lighten up and stop being part of the problem!

Dark_Knight
0
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Dark_Knight 04/09/08 - 05:02 am
0
0
Having worked in Fire Rescue,

Having worked in Fire Rescue, I know those days and nights can be very long, and sometimes boring. This appears to be one of those days when there is nothing to do but either excercise, field reports, training, or sleeping till the next fire call or priority 1 call comes in. ( priority 1 calls are emergency calls handled by EMS, but fire will first respond) Its innocent guys, no harm done, and believe me, if you call for a fire truck we will be there quicker than a guy whose paying for a hooker whose charging by the minute.

Ralph_Wiggum
0
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Ralph_Wiggum 04/09/08 - 05:08 am
0
0
Firemen are good people.

Firemen are good people.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 04/09/08 - 05:47 am
0
0
I agree... not that big of a
Unpublished

I agree... not that big of a deal. They're paid to be waiting around waiting for something bad to happen... I can understand it getting boring! Perhaps not the best choice of things to do, but not something that should get anyone fired.

christian134
1
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christian134 04/09/08 - 05:54 am
0
0
Boys will be boys...As long

Boys will be boys...As long as it was done in joking and not some kind of "hazing" then leave them alone...

charlie-D
1
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charlie-D 04/09/08 - 05:57 am
0
0
I think all the ranters need

I think all the ranters need a chill pill or a cup of coffee. These guys were just playing around for a short period of time. I don't think they get standard breaks. Why don't you'll give them one?

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 04/09/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
I can see the chief's point

I can see the chief's point since the badge was clearly visible and the rule about bringing disgrace down on the department isn't new, but firemen spend a lot of time on "stand by" and the high jinx helps pass the time. No harm no foul, except for that badge.

prmedia
0
Points
prmedia 04/09/08 - 06:33 am
0
0
It's nice to know you can get

It's nice to know you can get paid for killing time. And to think these are the guys who compare themselves to the men and women of the Sheriff's Office, who rarely have any time to kill, whenever talk of raises comes up. This should open the eyes of everyone as to who deserves raises, and who doesn't. If the fire department deserves a raise, why have they never asked for one on their own. They only ride the coat tails of the Sheriff's Office because they could never get a raise on their own merit. Let's see how long it takes them to throw up 9-11 to defend themselves in this matter.

pantherluvcik
628
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pantherluvcik 04/09/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
I'm a taxpayer and I have no

I'm a taxpayer and I have no problem with these guys having a little fun, now whoever posted it was dead wrong. I think he should be held accountable for that. I'm sure it gets boring sitting around doing nothing until an emergency response is needed. Get a grip everyone goofs off a little bit, i'm sure they are still quite capable of doing their job. The chief needs to pull his feather off his head, bust the balloon in his a@@, and lighten up. Unhappy employees produce sloppy work and in their capacity that's a dangerous combination.

sliique
0
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sliique 04/09/08 - 06:45 am
0
0
Supposedly "grown," men,

Supposedly "grown," men, video taping something to put on YouTube. Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 04/09/08 - 06:48 am
0
0
prmedia one life saved by

prmedia one life saved by these guys is worth all the "killing time" in the world. The sherriffs office has a different role in society, and with that they have different duties. They call the fire department for help with rescues. It's crazy for you to think they should have no down time, they have to wait for rescue or emergency calls. They risk their lives at times without a second thought, give them a break.

ListenAndLearn
0
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ListenAndLearn 04/09/08 - 07:01 am
0
0
My Dad was a firefighter for

My Dad was a firefighter for many years and believe me...they got the job done, but did lighten the mood with their hi-jinx and fun. The fellowship grew into lifelong friends who showed up when my Dad was sick years after his retirement and lightened the mood for a man who was about to die. Thank you for the memories you made with my Dad - for him and for his family. I grew up with leaning to do a good job and having fun while doing it. Lighten up world. My family remains friends with many younger firemen who Daddy helped train and grow up at the same time. Several are still firemen and now my son wants to be a fireman. How great is that?

lovingmom
0
Points
lovingmom 04/09/08 - 07:12 am
0
0
A great big thank you to all

A great big thank you to all firefighters for being there to help and serve. Maybe your boss doesn't appreciate you, but I do. You are sitting at the fire station waiting for a call. How many law officers are seen sitting at fast food establishments just talking and joking around when they should be patrolling our streets? Their job is not an "on call" job. Yours is. I know there are law officers who are doing their job and I thank you also.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 04/09/08 - 07:20 am
0
0
Those of ya'll critizing

Those of ya'll critizing these men....get a life ....and chief that goes for you too!!!!! Thank you too all of those who protect and serve!!

tdp
0
Points
tdp 04/09/08 - 07:23 am
0
0
Sounds like some people need

Sounds like some people need to get a sense of humor & stop taking everything so seriously. If the guy getting duct taped didn't mind then why should the rest of us? I hope the Chief will just dimiss it as "all in fun" once he talks to the parties involved. Being a firefighter can be a long & boring job; lots of time to sit around & think of ways to amuse yourself. Firefighters do a great job for us & if that's the way they blow off a little steam & make the time pass, good for them. Have fun!

Sir William
4
Points
Sir William 04/09/08 - 07:27 am
0
0
I have served on this

I have served on this department for 24 years. It is appropriate to sleep on duty under the appropriate circumstances. It is against the rules to engage in this type of horseplay. Fire house horseplay at times in the past did get out of hand. I know first hand. I know this crew and they are very professional and competent employees. The 17 year veteran in question is one of our best and would never do anything to cause harm. This particular horseplay incident is completely harmless. It is however unfortunate that the video ended up on you tube and this news paper. The video can lead one to believe that negative consequences are possible.
Living at a fire station and performing some of the duties that we must places much stress on the average employee. This type of behavior may be inappropriate but it helps with the stress and is one of the tools used to build that all important brotherhood that helps the men make it through the 24 hour shift. For those of you that think these guys should be punished, you'll get your wish. For those of you that think this is no big deal, you are right!

UncleBill
6
Points
UncleBill 04/09/08 - 07:32 am
0
0
Poor judgement. May be a hard

Poor judgement. May be a hard lesson that follow.

us legal
0
Points
us legal 04/09/08 - 07:37 am
0
0
He should be ashamed of him

He should be ashamed of him self. Doesnt he know our teens see these videos and are influenced by them. They have enough bad rolemodels with out adding the fire department to them. He should be aware of how bad this looks for Augusta and our area. He should be put on suspension. same as if our children were caught doing this in schools.

oldhampshire
0
Points
oldhampshire 04/09/08 - 07:39 am
0
0
Lighten up.

Lighten up.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 04/09/08 - 07:46 am
0
0
Silly and bad judgement to

Silly and bad judgement to put on the Internet, but not reason enough to fire these guys. Their job is boring, sitting waiting for something to happen and is dangerous. A little humor never hurts!!

marien
28
Points
marien 04/09/08 - 07:59 am
0
0
I agree us legal, the person

I agree us legal, the person who placed it on youtube should not be excused either.

Yak1
1
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Yak1 04/09/08 - 08:03 am
0
0
I love all the complaints

I love all the complaints about just "sitting around" You know we had a Senator who complained about the JUST Sitting around stuff. Of course most of the panty waists complaining never have had to work a 24 where it may take 12 to 20 hours just to get over it. Nor have they had the fun of body recovery and had to go back in the line. Yeah most of the Complainers here would probably wet their double knit polyesters if they had to face what these people face.
The only mistake was letting it get out...what happens at the firestation should STAY at the fire station.

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