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.

Comments (204) Add comment
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Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:46 am
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Maybe I should not have told

Maybe I should not have told you to go back to school

cash bail
0
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cash bail 04/09/08 - 11:47 am
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Rose go get a LIFE. You

Rose go get a LIFE. You can't watch kids 24/7 but you can RESTRICT them from getting on websites on the computer. DUHHH!!!!!

GnipGnop
12321
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 11:47 am
0
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Well you said I was a kid

Well you said I was a kid that didn't understand life...then you said I didn't understand English and should go back to school. I have seen your posts on here you always call people names or attack them if they don't agree with your point of view.

GnipGnop
12321
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 11:48 am
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Like I said you want to argue

Like I said you want to argue the points. I am game. I may not agree with your opinion but I respect that you have one....even if it's wrong :)

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:49 am
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cash bail yes you can limit

cash bail yes you can limit their internet time, but what about their friends? You live in a dream world if you think your kids are not capable of doing anything wrong just because you think you are a great parent.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:49 am
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cash bail I have a LIFE.

cash bail I have a LIFE.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:50 am
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duhhh!!!!!

duhhh!!!!!

cash bail
0
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cash bail 04/09/08 - 11:50 am
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Rose-get a job and stop

Rose-get a job and stop making something out of nothing. Kids do stupid stuff, grown folks do stupid stuff whether seen in tv, at home, school or anywhere. that is life.

cash bail
0
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cash bail 04/09/08 - 11:53 am
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Well go worry someone else

Well go worry someone else about a more serious issue. Miss Saint, I guess your kids never did anything stupid. You say your son's this and your son that in his kids life. The mother did something I am sure- OH noo.... you were there

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:54 am
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i will defend myself. You

i will defend myself. You call me names I can dish it right back. I can be nice, but I don't bite my tongue like I use to. I guess it comes with age.When I state my opinion, it is my opinion, and I don't appreciate being called liberal, idiot, stupid just because I don't think the same as others. If you don't bully me, then I won't either.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:55 am
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cash bail you want to tell my

cash bail you want to tell my husband to make me get a job?

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:56 am
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It is not 5the parents fault

It is not 5the parents fault everytime a child even farts. Who told you that? You are wrong.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:58 am
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Why are you so interested in

Why are you so interested in my getting a job? What business is it to you?

GnipGnop
12321
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 11:58 am
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I go back to my original

I go back to my original argument. Guys unwinding from a stressful job. Whether government paid or private sector is not a big deal to me. Nobody got hurt or got their feelings hurt. I would think people would have a little sympathy for fire fighters unwinding. They do have the ugly job of pulling bodies out of fires. So if that's the way they chill then it's not a big deal to me "a taxpayer". You can't watch your kids 24/7 but if they do something stupid then they or you have the responsibility to admit they were stupid. Not be so litigious and want to blame someone else. End of story!!

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 12:04 pm
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If the idiots want to tape

If the idiots want to tape their mouths and pepper spray others, fight, whatever, then go for it, but don't show it to the world. I have no problem with them so called joking around, but keep it private. If a child acts out what they see, it can be tragic. Think of preventing that.Achild watching someone pretend hanging have tried that and died.

GnipGnop
12321
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 12:06 pm
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Ok we can agree on the

Ok we can agree on the keeping it private. Maybe I didn't say this earlier. I don't think it should be broadcast to the world but if I found out it was going on it wouldn't bother me one way or the other.

GnipGnop
12321
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 12:08 pm
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I still don't think you

I still don't think you should blame someone for putting something on the internet if someone tries it and gets hurt though. Stupid is as stupid does.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 12:09 pm
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What if a 10 yr old watches

What if a 10 yr old watches it and tries it? The firemen can joke all they want to, but posting it was wrong.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 12:18 pm
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wyldsfam4 we don't agree on

wyldsfam4 we don't agree on everything and that is ok. I just think it is wrong to clown around by pretending to harm someone, but posting it for the whole world to see is childish and and stupid. the firemen can joke all they want, but what is funny to them is not to others.

bone
23
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bone 04/09/08 - 12:20 pm
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this whole

this whole freedom-of-speech-save-the-child issue is completely out of whack. the amount of information available to kids these days that the parents can't filter on the internet is incredible. my first recommendation is to do what schools do: monitor all internet activity. this means no child should be able to use a computer without parental supervision. ridiculous? i'm sorry, but true parenting often means having to make some decisions for your child - this one should be a no-brainer. i realize that this doesn't account for the times your child isn't around such vigilant adults (like at a friend's house), but expaining the rationale to your child and standing firm has to be done. the internet is not going to be sanctioned anyday soon and kids REALLY DO learn thru seeing behavior of others; it's called modeling and is an important educational theory (especially for young students).

DoubleD
0
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DoubleD 04/09/08 - 12:22 pm
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Chatty, thanks for paying my

Chatty, thanks for paying my salary too. Last night I called my subordinate who assits in the shop to tell him that I will not be at work until 11AM becuase I was drinking and having a good time. I had now it's 1215 and I really haven't done anything yet. I had a microwave Chimichanga and a Coke Zero. Now I'll probably surf the net for about 45 more min, until one of my guys comes in. Then I'll have to run an "errand." I'm sure it kills you. WAIT! I pay taxes too, does that make me self employed.

myheart
0
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myheart 04/09/08 - 12:24 pm
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My son was a fire fighter for

My son was a fire fighter for 15 years. Joking around is part of being a team member.If you eat and sleep with the same people year after year, there will be incidents like this.The Lt probably should have intervened to keep it off you tube. But I agree with taping up a smart mouth. And unless they were going next door he would have plenty of time to be the tape off and get ito his gear. These young men and women are first on the scene and make a lot of sacrifices to be a firefighter. Most have a second job because the pay is so poor. God Bless them one and All. Remember they Run to what everyone else is running From.

murph
0
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murph 04/09/08 - 12:26 pm
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I have several friends on the

I have several friends on the Dept. and while they do need to be ready in a moments notice there are times of utter boredome from what ive been told. The chief should do alittle [filtered word] chapping and move on, and remind these local heroes of ours not to post things on youtube for the world to see, especially a 20 second video that doesnt tell the whole story behind the prank, you can take alot of things out of context in 20 seconds worth of video.

Beastmaster
0
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Beastmaster 04/09/08 - 12:34 pm
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Rose.. we dont use volunteers

Rose.. we dont use volunteers so whoever came to your home was not related to the Augusta Fire Department. You may want to pass your concerns and complaints onto Hephzibah Fire since they use volunteers, but keep your complaints to yourself if you dont know what you are talking about.

reader59
36
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reader59 04/09/08 - 12:59 pm
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I bet if they sent this to

I bet if they sent this to America's Funniest Videos and won 10 grand that they donated to charity, EVERYONE would be applauding. Reprimand is all that is needed NOT ruining a persons Career who is willing to risk their life. And all parties involved were in agreement. I recall the drug user in the dept. several years ago who was fired but got his job back. But I bet if there had been a call those guys would have been there just as quick tape and all.
As it says on the back of the fire trucks -STAY BACK. I say to this the BACK OFF!!!!!!!!

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 01:08 pm
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Beastmaster you talking to

Beastmaster you talking to me? When was the last time I called the fire dept? It might have been about 15 yrs ago when I saw a fire near us.

Rose
17
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Rose 04/09/08 - 01:10 pm
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And any complaints I have, I

And any complaints I have, I don't have to keep them to myself if I don't want to.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/09/08 - 01:18 pm
0
0
I am disappointed at that

I am disappointed at that type of "prank", it's very unprofessional and duct tape is not always compatible with human skin. There have been reactions to it. It would be a bit embarrassing to pull a stunt like this and the taped person have a reaction to the Duct tape, but at least the First Responder Emergency Equipment might come in handy. I hope they choose to be wiser in their choice of pranks. But putting it on YouTube was a bad call. That embarrasses the department, definitely unprofessional. As far as Rose, she is a long-time poster, no matter whether she and I agree or disagree (and we've done both), I like that she cares deeply about others and stands up for herself. I really wish people wouldn't be so hard on her. Especially those who tell her to get a job, I wish they'd take their own advice. If you have a job and can post here, what makes you think she doesn't?

atwitsend
5
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atwitsend 04/09/08 - 01:25 pm
0
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With over 118 responses to

With over 118 responses to this silly article, it seems to me the citizens of Augusta have too much time on their hands! Aren't there MORE IMPORTANT issues to tackle?

TCB22
639
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TCB22 04/09/08 - 01:35 pm
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Defending this shameful

Defending this shameful behavior is just making it worse. You "supporters" are not helping to improve the image of Augusta that these immature and senseless acts have tarnished by continuing to defend it. It's in the news paper, for goodness sakes. A grown man being all taped up like it's a bondage movie. Have some pride. More people are shaking their heads in disapproval of this matter than you can imagine.

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