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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Glascock1
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Glascock1 04/09/08 - 11:08 pm
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I see them all the time,in

I see them all the time,in convenience stores scratching lottery tickets and noone cares.This is just a case of Willis trying to be in the news Masters Week.........

Rose
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Rose 04/09/08 - 11:45 pm
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Childish behavior . so

Childish behavior . so juvenile. these are grown men and should act like grown men. I don't care who they are, they should not be doing this crap.

DrillSgt1
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DrillSgt1 04/09/08 - 11:56 pm
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Public Safety, Hazing???

Public Safety, Hazing??? What...just because this article mentioned hazing it is automatically assumed now that this is what took place that day. It couldn't possibly be that these men were having fun and destressing which sounds healthier to me than walking around stressed and anal all the time like some people seem to do. Especially when the young man that was taped even said it was all in fun. Do you actuallly work public safety and if so, in what capacity?

As far as the comments about embarrassing this city...give me a fricking break. Our commissioners, Ronnie Few and the attitudes of most of the people around here took care of that a long time ago. A prime example of this was just posted by Glascock1 who stated about the Firemen in the convenience stores scratching lottery tickets. Let's see...they can drive the pumps/engines to the store(s) to refuel them to make sure they have the fuel to get them to their calls but heaven forbid they actually buy anything else while they are already there. I agree with GASoldier...Sounds like this is a case of someone with a hidden agenda who hasn't/won't come out of hiding.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/10/08 - 12:30 am
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There sure are some funny

There sure are some funny posts on this non-subject. While the Chief may have got his shorts in a bunch over the clarity of the badge in the video, nothing in the article indicates the men weren't doing anything but passing time 'til the next alarm. Anyone that's never experienced a job that required you to stand by until needed and then had to instantly be at top alert for instant action, doesn't realize how trying the down time is. The tape on Trapp could have been instantly removed with a nick between the wrists and a little pain, thus bringing him instantly to max alert. Unless you've been in a similar situation as these men, it's hard to talk intelligently about what took place......obviously.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/10/08 - 12:36 am
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DrillSgt1, I'm beginning to

DrillSgt1, I'm beginning to think the same thing...Sounds lke this is a case of someone with a hidden agenda who hasn't/won't come out of hiding. Especially after I read "Public Safety"'s post.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/10/08 - 12:39 am
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I think justus4 wants Ronnie

I think justus4 wants Ronnie Few back in.

Public Safety
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Public Safety 04/10/08 - 12:48 am
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DrillSgt1 to answer your

DrillSgt1 to answer your question, yes I am in public safety, as a lieutenant in the fire service, and as a supervisor the last thing you are to do is to place you hands on a subordinate. The title suggest Mr Trapp was being dealt with for his for lack of better words "mouth". which to me says maybe Mr Trapp was a problem and the Lt. chose an ill advised method for dealing with him. Your signature suggest that you are a military person who trains troops. Duct tape one of your soldiers and record it and put it on you tube, and then let us all know what happened to you.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/10/08 - 01:05 am
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you tube is just too tempting

you tube is just too tempting for too many people. With so many who "don't play" having access to the videos, we're bound to have a lot of people with bullet holes in their foots.

paramedichope
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paramedichope 04/10/08 - 03:58 am
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I am a firefighter and I have

I am a firefighter and I have seen stuff like this happen before. People need to know that a 24 hour shift isn't all horseplay. You saw 16 seconds of horseplay. Why not ask what went on the rest of the shift. Sometimes doing something stupid is the only thing that can help you keep your sanity in this job. Posting it was wrong, I won't even come close to defending that, but for all you know, these people had dealt with a dead child or something that scars us in ways that you will never imagine. So chill out and get over it.

gonefromaugusta
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gonefromaugusta 04/10/08 - 04:03 am
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I am very disappointed and

I am very disappointed and agree with "R u Happy". What ever happened to playing checkers and cards? Throwing darts, if you are a little more sadidtic?? I am sure they can find things a little less dangerrous than duct taping a fellow fire fighter. Seems a little extreme to me, like a payback or someone less popular than the others. Shame on you, supervisor. Fire Chief, do what you have to do, to maintain integrity for the company. You have my support !!!!

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 04/10/08 - 08:35 am
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leave rose alone , she's got

leave rose alone , she's got a right to her opinion , i met her personally, and she is well grounded, intelligent and makes a damn fine point here.
i have a son with an iq of 138, been on honor roll so long we quit counting, junior hospital volunteer of the year, etc.,etc., but he likes to dip "copenhagen" snuff...did i allow this, or teach this? hell,no.
i despise this and it has nothing to do with anything but him and his "peers" watching ads on tv that glorify the good ol' boy pick up truck-tight jeans with can of snuff imprint that looks cool. i'm currently working on curtailing this, but you can rest assured he wasn't taught this habit by me or his mom......
get off rose's back......she's cool...

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 04/10/08 - 08:39 am
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thanks thunder.

thanks thunder.

LynxRHot
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LynxRHot 04/10/08 - 09:41 am
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Glascock1, regarding your

Glascock1, regarding your 11:08 pm post....you obviously do not know Chief Willis. If there has ever been a Chief who wants to stay out of the limelight...it is Chief Willis.

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 10:36 am
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playlikethunder2 thank you.

playlikethunder2 thank you. Everyone has their own opinion,and I certainly am not going to let anyone tell me what to think. I have a daughter-in-law I love very much, and we don't agree on a few things. She is a Bush supporter and I am not. She respects my right to my own opinion, and I the same with hers. I think those firemen should be "taken to the woodshed".That was s stupid thing they did. You can't justify it by saying they were bored and were just having a good time. What about people who injure and kill just because they were bored and wanted to have a good time? Jails are full of them.

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 01:31 pm
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Another thing. A 22 yr old

Another thing. A 22 yr old does not have a whole lot of experience as a fire fighter.He is still wet behind the ears.

DrillSgt1
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DrillSgt1 04/10/08 - 02:17 pm
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My name might suggest that

My name might suggest that I'm a military person which couldn't be farther from the truth. This shows once again that things aren't always what they seem to be but yet someone assumed that to be the case. The name I put was actually given to me by a family member. As far as the "mouth" part goes, if I said to my kids, "I brought you into this world and I can/will take you out" while having a smile on my face, that I was really to be taken seriously then. I was never taken seriously and evidently Mr. Trapp didn't take this seriously either. I find it hard to believe that you have never said something that sounded one way but took on a whole different meaning simply by your facial expressions. I personally use sarcastic humor all the time!!! I still don't see how this could be interpreted as hazing especially when the person involved said it wasn't. Rose...you nor I know what kind of training this 22 year old "wet behind the ears" firefighter has received but because they played around some out of a 24 HOUR SHIFT then by assumption he must not be a well trained firefighter....right???

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 03:29 pm
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DrillSgt1 wrong.how many yrs

DrillSgt1 wrong.how many yrs has he been an adult? Huh?

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 03:31 pm
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Playing around is one thing,

Playing around is one thing, but this act was more than playing around. It was juvenile and dangerous.

DrillSgt1
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DrillSgt1 04/10/08 - 03:52 pm
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So...when someone reaches the

So...when someone reaches the age of 44 they aren't supposed to be able to have a sense of humor or want to play ever again? I personally am happy that these men are still even able to have a sense of humor period with everything they see and deal with. Alot healthier than a sucking on a lemon attitude like alot of people have these days. Dangerous...let me guess...we're back to the children issue again. I'm so sick of people wanting to blame everything for a child's behavior. It isn't everyone's elses fault if a child does something harmful and they have no commonsense or DON'T THINK FOR THEMSELVES. For the record being 22 isn't a CHILD...just YOUNGER ADULT. A child couldn't do this job. Still sounds like people wanting to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 04:54 pm
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I said he is an adult, but

I said he is an adult, but how many yrs experience does he have?

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 04:56 pm
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He is not experienced. He

He is not experienced. He might be qualified to be a fireman, but he does not have much experience at all.He can't because he is just 22.

robartbyrrd
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robartbyrrd 04/10/08 - 09:56 pm
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How stupid is stupid?

How stupid is stupid? People, give it a brake, it was all locker room fun. They are in the locker 24 yrs a day. Rose, not picking on you7, but you and all the bashers need to shut the f up and get on with the program. No error, no foul!

Rose
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Rose 04/10/08 - 10:05 pm
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robartbyrrd so I need to shut

robartbyrrd so I need to shut the f up. You want to try to make me shut the f up? Try it you idiot moron f er

robartbyrrd
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robartbyrrd 04/10/08 - 10:09 pm
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OK, enough about what the

OK, enough about what the chief will do, he did the same thing in 1998, so I heard. If so, he needs to "investigate" then let it quietly die! If he doesn't. shame!

robartbyrrd
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robartbyrrd 04/10/08 - 10:13 pm
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Come on Rosie, let's both

Come on Rosie, let's both take a chill pill and agree no harm no foul, coochie, coochie, feel better now?

justme24
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justme24 04/16/08 - 04:00 pm
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ok first off! I do understand

ok first off! I do understand firefighters like to cut up and have a good time while they are on and off duty. But I can't believe that anyone would think this is funny. It is immature and completley uncalled for. These are grown men and you know what guys, you all need to act like it its time to GROW up. i'm not saying there is anything wrong with playing jokes but if it was just a joke why was it put on YouTube. And If it was JUST a joke it shouldn't have been recorded just to be put on the internet, b/c you know these days if something destructive gets put online most of the time it gets reported. I think there should be serious consequences for this video tape. And for the "so called" LT JDANIELS, yeah some LT you are, what a good role model you are to the younger guys in the fire house. Serious action should be taken and I hope it happens.

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