OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A disciplinary hearing was held Friday afternoon for an Oklahoma City Fire Department Major who rushed a young burn victim to the hospital in his fire engine after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Firefighters with knowledge about the disciplinary action tell KFOR that Maj. Corey Britt has been relieved of his role as a Senior Company Officer at Station 34.
Britt was forced to sneak out the back of Station One Friday afternoon following his disciplinary hearing at headquarters.
“We don’t transport patients,” said Fire Chief Richard Kelley with Oklahoma City Fire Department. “That’s not our job.”
Kelley says this policy is also a state statute.
Friday, the veteran of 25 years learned he will keep his pay and rank but will face what the chief calls “internal corrective measures”.
Chief Kelley says the initial complaint against Britt came from EMSA, the emergency service that was more than 20 minutes late during the call on Christmas Eve.
“Most of the times those calls are excellent, but if you miss the mark, we talk about it and correct it as necessary,” Deputy Chief Mike Walters with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said.
7:05:10 P.M. – Engine 34 was dispatched on a medical call of a toddler with second degree burns all over her body
7:05:55 P.M. Brush-Pumper 32 was added to the incident
7:09:59 P.M. Brush-Pumper 32 arrived on the scene and initiated patient care
7:13:17 P.M. Engine 34 and Major Britt arrived on the scene and assisted with patient care
7:17:55 P.M. Major Britt requested that EMSA upgrade their response from a Priority 2 to a Priority 1
7:17:59 P.M. EMSA response status changed to Priority 1
7:22:00 P.M. Major Britt requests an ETA of EMSA. EMSA was responding from the “Mercy” Area and had been on the road route for 4 minutes
7:29:44 P.M. Major Britt informed dispatch to cancel EMSA because these people decided to go POV due to the nature of the emergency
7:30:00 P.M. Major Britt asks OKCFD Dispatch if they were clear to cancel EMSA
OKCFD Fire Dispatch relayed that EMSA just advised that they are right around the corner on this call.
Engine 34 responds, “I’m clear. They’re going.”
With no sign of EMSA, Britt decided the little girl couldn’t wait and drove her to the hospital himself.
OKCFD says the Automatic Vehicle Locator on the EMSA unit indicated that it was less than 1/2 mile from the scene when canceled by Engine 34.
“The firefighters have heard it before: ‘We are right around the corner or we are almost there,'” KFOR Anchor Ali Meyer asked. “In some cases, it’s more than an hour. Does that mindset, the pattern and the delays play a role in the firefighter’s state of mind?”
“It could,” Walker said. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the officer’s state of mind, but on the other side, we are trained to deal with these emergencies.”
The Amme’s family, however, says their little girl is forever grateful for Britt’s decision.
“I appreciate every decision he made when the system failed us,” Kristin Amme said.
Some of Britt’s colleagues also say they stand in support. They didn’t want to go on camera, but told us, “None of the firefighters feel like this is fair. Yes, we know he broke policy, but he was only trying to help the child.”
Cameron Weems, the President of OKC Firefighters Local 157, released the following statement to KFOR Friday night:
“In light of recent events concerning the discipline on an OKC Fire Department member in regard to transporting a pediatric burn victim to the hospital, Local 157 stood in full support of him during his investigation. While his actions would not be considered routine, Major Corey Britt gave to the department the reasoning behind his decision. Unfortunately, obstacles arising from both COVID-19 and staffing on transport vehicles has caused issues with longer-than-normal wait times for patients on scene of an emergency. Going forward, this Local looks forward to productive conversations with all parties involved to find remedies to this issue. In doing so we will be able to avoid putting our personnel in the unenviable position of trying to provide quality care while also being unsure when additional assistance will arrive in the form of a transport unit.”CAMERON WEEMS, PRESIDENT OF OKC FIREFIGHTERS LOCAL 157