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Facebook Comments Lead to Bel Air Firefighter Suspensions

Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company Chief Edward Hopkins suspended members of the fire company over "inappropriate" comments on Facebook that suggested ignoring any fire calls at Bel Air's Sonic Drive-In.

Nine members of the were reprimanded this week over inflamatory comments made on Facebook.

Three members of the fire company were suspended for four weeks along with a recommendation to the company Board of Directors they be terminated from the fire company, , spokesman for .

In addition to the three suspensions, one member was demoted from regular firefighter to entry level firefighter and placed on a year of probation, a second was demoted from lieutenant to firefighter and the remaining four were given verbal reprimands and additional work details, according to 's .

The action stems from a Facebook thread started May 30.

On Monday, June 4, a concerned citizen emailed the fire company and local media about the Facebook posts, which were made by firefighters with the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

Attached to the email was a screenshot of the conversation on social media.

The posts revolved around firefighters' outrage over being denied a discount at the .

"Even when myself and a full engine crew are in turnout gear at Sonic for lunch, the manager still says only police and military get discounts. Cool, thanks we appreciate the support," the initial post read.

The post received 20 comments which included suggestions that someone set the business dumpster ablaze and that the fire company not respond if the business were to catch fire.

"Yea I smell a delayed response there," one user wrote.

Additional comments such as, "Let it burn," and "Wait til its on fire, then see what he says... Epic fail on sonics part [sic]," followed.

Bel Air fire chief Edward Hopkins told ExploreHarford.com Tuesday, that he recognized some of the posters as people who possibly belong to other fire companies, according to a story on the site.

“This is unacceptable behavior of our membership," "I am extremely disappointed and ashamed that any of our members would make these statements. This type of activity has been dealt with swiftly. I cannot express my disappointment to these members enough."

President of the fire company, , expressed similar sentiments when he spoke with WBAL.

"I'm embarrassed. I'm disappointed I have to stand in front of a camera and apologize to everyone, to firefighters everywhere, over these few individuals who believe that they are entitled to some special consideration," Coliano said in the WBALTV.com interview.

Check out the on Patch.

MVPHKR June 15, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Well, this is what passes for fire protection in Harford County, a good old boy network thinking they are better than ordinary folks.
FirefighterAdvocate June 19, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I believe it is poor business practice for any business to discriminate! If you are going to offer discounts to public servers don't pick and choose...include them all. What is really sad about the situation is most firefighters in Harford County are volunteers and should be given discounts considering. Being volunteers does not slow them down or stop them from promptly responding to an emergency. They respond faster than the paid Harford County Sheriff's Department! Go figure. STOP DISCRIMINATING SONIC!!!!
Alyssa Silks July 19, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I know so many immature tool-bags my age that are a part of the volunteer firefighting brigade in Harford. I feel as if they mainly do it for their ego- [the few I know of] think along the lines of "Chicks love firefighters, I'm a firefighter". Dude- get laid on your own time & let people that actually WANT to volunteer out of the kindness of their hearts do it... not volunteer because they think it boosts their "macho". Posting immature things on FB is exactly the type of things they do. They don't get their way, so they pull the "I'm a firefighter" card. No- you're a volunteer. You should be doing this because you WANT to... not because you think there are benefits to it. The reward is having the good feeling of helping your community- & if that isn't enough of a reward for you for filling a volunteer position, then I don't know what is. & Just so there is no confusion, I'm talking about the type of guys that volunteer- whom, two of them, both tried asking me out on a date on multiple occasions & I politely declined (because of boyfriend, busy with school, etc.)- & had pulled the "firefighter card" on me. Then proceed to cuss me out for "rejecting" them: "yada yada yada, I'm a firefighter- your lucky if I save your ass" yada yada yada." I don't care if you're a "firefighter" or not- you're an inconsiderate, arrogant, degrading a$$hole. However, I wish the best of luck & thanks to those volunteers working hard to protect our community.
Bel Air Native July 20, 2012 at 01:07 AM
STFU!!!! This topic has been OVER FOR WEEKS. Sorry that the fireman broke your heart. Get over it.
Ahmad0001 December 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
That fire fighter may very well save your life one day. Just because that is the way it has always been it doesn't mean it is right. http://www.onlinedatastoragesite.com/softwares/why-you-ought-to-consider-online-data-storage-back-up.html

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