Dear PoPville – Fire department abuse of authority?


“Dear PoPville,

A firetruck sideswiped my friend’s legally parked, unoccupied car this week. I didn’t see the accident, but it appeared that the truck pulled over so the firemen could grab coffee/breakfast at the coffee shop in my building – something I’ve seen them do several times. My friend arrived at her car, needing to leave for work, was told by a fireman – who identified himself as a “public safety officer” – that she was not allowed to leave until the fire chief arrived to take pictures and document the scene. My friend was forced to stay at the scene for over an hour, so that several firemen and police officers could arrive, take pictures, and fill out reports. She had to show her ID and insurance information to three separate officers/firemen. She also had to cancel a client meeting because, again, when she asked to leave, she was told that she could not do so until the fire chief arrived. (She couldn’t disregard their orders either, as the fire truck hit at an angle, pinning her car between the truck, the sidewalk, and another car parked behind it.) Finally, after all that, they moved the truck – revealing relatively minor damage to my friend’s car.

Something just rubs me the wrong way here. I’m not aware of any law requiring someone to stay at the scene when someone hits his/her parked car – especially when they didn’t witness the accident. I’m also not aware of any authority permitting firemen or “public safety officers” to detain people and their vehicles for no reason other than to fulfill the fire department’s own bureaucratic rules and limit the city’s liability. Again, it wasn’t “it will be easier for you to get reimbursement if you stay because the city government is a mess sometimes” – it was “I’m a public safety officer, and you are not permitted to leave.” I also think it’s notable that the firemen were not rushing to an emergency or responding to a call – literally just getting coffee. I see no reason why they should be treated any differently than anyone else in this instance.


Recent Stories

via U.S. Botanic Garden Exciting news from U.S. Botanic Garden: “Want to know more about the fabulously foul corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum)? Drop by the back of the Tropics house…

Thanks to Mark for sending from: “in front of the National Gallery of Art.”

Photo by Clif Burns Ed. Note: If this was you, please email [email protected] so I can put you in touch with OP. “Dear PoPville, Hey – you stopped me while…

“Foxy Roxy staying warm and watching animal planet. Silver Spring” If you have any animal/pet photos you’d like to share please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com with ‘Animal Fix’ in…

Unlike our competitors, Well-Paid Maids doesn’t clean your home with harsh chemicals. Instead, we handpick cleaning products rated “safest” by the Environmental Working Group, the leading rating organization regarding product safety.

The reason is threefold.

First, using safe cleaning products ensures toxic chemicals won’t leak into waterways or harm wildlife if disposed of improperly.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Looking for something campy, ridiculous and totally fun!? Then pitch your tents and grab your pokers and come to DC’s ONLY Drag Brunch Bingo hosted by Tara Hoot at Whitlow’s! Tickets are only $10 and you can add bottomless drinks and tasty entrees. This month we’re featuring performances by the amazing Venus Valhalla and Mari Con Carne!

Get your tickets and come celebrate the fact that the rapture didn’t happen during the eclipse, darlings! We can’t wait to see you on Sunday, April 21 at 12:30!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Frank’s Favorites

Come celebrate and bid farewell to Frank Albinder in his final concert as Music Director of the Washington Men’s Camerata featuring a special program of his most cherished pieces for men’s chorus with works by Ron Jeffers, Peter Schickele, Amy


Subscribe to our mailing list