HOUSTON – Channel 2 KPRC has reported that one volunteer was suspended and five paid part-time firefighters with the Westfield Fire Department were fired last Monday after a video surfaced on Snapchat and showed a firefighter strapped to a backboard and being doused with water and covered with several condiments.
The video was sent to Channel 2 Investigates by a concerned viewer.
KPRC then showed the video to Westfield Fire Chief Stephen Whitehead, who said it appears the incident took place at the department’s main fire station on Lauder Road.
The video, which is nearly five minutes in length, shows the firefighter on the ground, tied to a backboard with several straps and periodically doused with bursts of water from the rear valve of a tanker truck. Other men are then seen pouring mustard, flour, popcorn butter, chocolate, yogurt and ice on the firefighter.
“Dude, you’re crying. You want to quit, just say it,” one firefighter is heard saying on the video.
After watching the video, Whitehead immediately opened an internal investigation into the men’s actions.
“It’s totally unacceptable,” Whitehead said.
He said while nothing on the video is tolerated, he was particularly concerned about the restraints.
“I mean, that’s dangerous, you could injure him,” said Whitehead. “I’ve never seen that degree of hazing before, or harassment, never.”
Even the men on the video seemed concerned about the incident getting out to the public.
“Hey, y’all, don’t be putting this (expletive) on social media,” one man is heard saying.
“I mean, we’re here to protect lives and property, not — especially your own, you know — not cause harm,” Whitehead said.
After the story aired, Chief Whitehead sent an email to KPRC reading that, “one volunteer was suspended indefinitely, and five part time firefighters were terminated.”