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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LynxRHot
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LynxRHot 04/09/08 - 01:44 pm
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For those who think that

For those who think that firefighters have plenty of spare time on the job, go spend an 8-hour day with them Monday-Friday. You will be amazed to see these guys mowing the lawn, painting, house-keeping, washing AND WAXING fire trucks, mopping and waxing floors, repairing things around the station, all while waiting on the alarm to sound. These guys perform physical labor even when they aren't on the fire truck....I know because I'm married to one. As a firefigher's wife, I would be so angry with my husband if I were to find out he participated in the kind of horseplay shown in this picture. There are plenty of ways to have fun on the job without tormenting someone. Even though Mr. Trapp says it was all in good fun, i have a hard time believing that any man in his right mind would let another man duct tape him and restrain him. Lt. Daniels needs to be demoted if not fired.

What a joke
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What a joke 04/09/08 - 01:57 pm
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I'm not at all concerned with

I'm not at all concerned with the prank or the goof-off behavior. I know that firemen have to de-stress and build comraderie and this is one good way. I do object to the video taping and especially to the posting onto the internet. What happens in the spur of the moment and is funny to those people at that time may come back to bite them if a record is kept or posted for all to see. Some reprimand is needed for the video camera operator, the supervisor and the internet poster. Let this be a lesson on common sense.

ITDoc
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ITDoc 04/09/08 - 02:49 pm
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What a joke: Common sense

What a joke: Common sense died a horrible death. It was in all the papers. It's now widely held that the Republicans are holding common sense hostage until one of the potential nominees are elected. I'd say parents have failed to teach common sense to children for years, but I don't want anyone to "not attack me".

owensjef
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owensjef 04/09/08 - 02:56 pm
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The joke is not the issue,

The joke is not the issue, what happens in the fire house stays in the fire house.

SunDown
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SunDown 04/09/08 - 02:56 pm
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justus is full of it... there

justus is full of it... there are thousands of worthless people in Augusta that are getting government checks, food stamps, subsidized housing, free medical care and doing nothing but "killing time" on street corners and crack houses. I say put their azzes to work, make them earn their own way for once their pathetic lives and get out of my back pocket!!!! As for these firemen I think a little common sense is in order. If there is anyone out there that does not know the kinds of hours these guys put in then you need to hit yourselves in the head with a tack hammer. If there is anyone out there that doesn't think they have to come up with ways to deal with the boredom, again back to the tack hammer. This whole ridiculous mess could have been avoided however if they did not post it online. My only criticism here would be that if the guy was taped up it could affect response time (bad fireman!).

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/09/08 - 03:15 pm
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atwitsend, you read the

atwitsend, you read the article and the comments, too, so apparently you don't have anything more important to attend to, yourself. How about some ideas?

pablanco
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pablanco 04/09/08 - 03:16 pm
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*farts in Roses and Just here

*farts in Roses and Just here for the Farts mouth*

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/09/08 - 03:17 pm
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What is Aususta?

What is Aususta?

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 04/09/08 - 03:18 pm
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excuse me folks, but

excuse me folks, but horseplay on any job is not acceptable...it leads to accidents,temper flareups, real trouble.i highly doubt i would sit still for that crap,and you can be assured these guys are not paid to act like high school boys...supposed to be professionals......right, heroes and all that....

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/09/08 - 03:22 pm
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"Just here for the Masters",

"Just here for the Masters", If you're glad you don't live here, visit, have a nice time, and don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way outta your rental house to head back "home". I'm not too happy about some of the comments either, but its better to continue to attempt to communicate, for better or for worse, than stick your head in the sand trap. I'm glad that people can show their true colors here. I've discovered I've been very naive most of my life. I've learned a lot on here, somethings I wish I didn't know (and my typing is improving!)

GE
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GE 04/09/08 - 03:29 pm
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glory,glory,hallelujah,this

glory,glory,hallelujah,this has brought more attention to the fire dept than few,s leaving augusta for washington.it has been said that a broken computer is a sign of a dirty house,roses computer has been on fire from all the comments ,no 3 may be coming to put out the fire if they can get the duck tape off.if anyone out there at some time or other has not done something or said something they wish they had not including myself,cast the first stone and they all left and the word was not to do it again.i know that some results are worse than others.firemen and police is not a job or profession that i want to do .it has a special calling for special people and they do a wondeful job for the pay they get for the same people that gripe about the pay they do not pay for their salary.may god bless you rose and all the others that are perfect.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 03:33 pm
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I still want to know when I

I still want to know when I called the fire dept to my house. that is a new one on me.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 03:34 pm
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GEEWHI if you think I am

GEEWHI if you think I am perfect you are wrong. Nobody is perfect, and certainly not you.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 03:39 pm
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cash bail told me 5 times to

cash bail told me 5 times to get a freakin life. What is your freakin problem? I don't agree with you so you get teed off? Then sue me!

mrfixit
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mrfixit 04/09/08 - 03:43 pm
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Let's not forget when Chief

Let's not forget when Chief Willis was a private or officer at a station and the pranks he played while on duty. After all here is a chief that is going to possibly fire these two firemen and he did not even meet the requirements to be the chief.

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 04/09/08 - 03:50 pm
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Rose, I believe it was a

Rose, I believe it was a poster named CARTER, that mentioned volunteers.

iluvdundee
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iluvdundee 04/09/08 - 03:52 pm
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if people are going to be

if people are going to be upset with us fire/ems/police joking around with each other at work, then we all may as well be fired, because everyone does it. i still agree it should not have been posted, but sometimes we do get bored. but we are each others families, i consider my paramedic partner and my two firefighters brothers because i see them more than my own family. we fight and play like a family. being taped like that, if a call went out, im pretty sure he would not have been left alone to get out of the tape, and the response time would not have been affected. and we dont just sit around all day. granted my ambulance is more busy than my firefighters at my station, but they do a lot of training, and then having nothing to do. one just the other day hid in the trash container outside when the other one was bringing out the trash. he scarred the guy and it was funny. ive been tied down, got a call, was released in SECONDS, and was still well enroute before my minute was up. we are not going to do anything at work that is going to put our response time in jeopardy, so let us have our pranks.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 03:53 pm
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HYPOCRITES2008 the 12:34

HYPOCRITES2008 the 12:34 poster said I called the fire dept to my house.

GnipGnop
12467
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 03:54 pm
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Baroness just so you don't

Baroness just so you don't have me confused with anyone. I don't really care if Rose has a job or posts all day from work or home or whatever. I will argue my point against anyone. I don't like to make personal attacks but I will if someone else casts the first stone. I would rather argue about the topic at hand. I don't condone a lot of the comments that people say to each other. I still think you can argue your point without calling people names or questioning their employment.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 03:55 pm
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wyldsfam4 then take your own

wyldsfam4 then take your own advice.

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 03:56 pm
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excuse me Rose?

excuse me Rose?

GnipGnop
12467
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 03:58 pm
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I never attacked you until

I never attacked you until you first attacked me. I never said anything about you getting a life or a job. Unless you have me confused with someone else you might better go back and reread my posts.

GnipGnop
12467
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 04:06 pm
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Well either she is rereading

Well either she is rereading or I made my point.

sanders20
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sanders20 04/09/08 - 04:12 pm
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i was always told "not to

i was always told "not to believe everything I see or hear"...commonsense folks. kids need it too!!

sanders20
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sanders20 04/09/08 - 04:13 pm
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and if you can't teach your

and if you can't teach your child commonsense.....well commonsense tells me you shouldn't have kids to begin with.

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 04/09/08 - 04:14 pm
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Amen GASoldier and thank you

Amen GASoldier and thank you for your service!!!

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 04/09/08 - 04:16 pm
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Rose, look at Carter's 10:54

Rose, look at Carter's 10:54 am post. He was the one to mention volunteers. I believe that you was wrongly singled out, for that comment.

sanders20
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sanders20 04/09/08 - 04:16 pm
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GASoldier...thanks, well

GASoldier...thanks, well said!

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 04:25 pm
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wyldsfam4 I never called you

wyldsfam4 I never called you a kid.

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 04:26 pm
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And I had things to do for

And I had things to do for awhile is the reason I quit posting for awhile.

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