Fire Department response called unacceptable

Reported by: Terri Hendry
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Updated: 6/27 9:31 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The City of Reno issued a statement on Friday following a News 4 On Your Side investigation that revealed the Reno Fire Department refused to respond to a call to lift a patient.

Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger issued the following statement:


"Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez has assured me the Reno Fire Department's response to future incidents of this nature will not be handed in the manner as the June 17th incident. Some of the actions taken by the Reno Fire Department on June 17th were unacceptable. The Reno Fire Department will continue to provide assistance to the Reno Police Department, REMSA and/or any other agency requesting assistance during a medical emergency."


News 4's On Your Side investigation revealed fire personnel refused to respond to a call to lift a patient. The heavy set man was inside a boat being pulled by a trailer. The incident happened on Lemmon Drive in Lemmon Valley.

Documents News 4 obtained show 30 minutes after Reno Police and REMSA asked for help, the Reno Fire Department had not arrived to the scene. A report indicates Reno Fire canceled their response and requested REMSA's bariatric unit respond. However, Reno Police were never informed. When no one showed up, officers called Reno Fire again.

Nearly 45 minutes after the initial call, a Reno Battalion Chief arrived on the scene to assess the situation. He decided his crews were not available and blocked other fire departments from helping by not making a mutual assistance call.

Evenutally the man was lifted from the boat to the ambulance, but it was Reno police officers and REMSA medics who did the lifting. While they worked, the Battalion Chief reportedly took pictures of the ordeal.

The man was eventually transported to the hospital, but the delay was 1 hour and 37 minutes. News 4 learned the man was admitted to the hospital suffering from pulminary edema, which is a build-up of fluid in the lungs.

Earlier this week, Reno Fire officials blamed a new lift assist policy. They said firefighters were getting injured in lifting patients and REMSA was not reimbursing for the injuries.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez spoke with News 4 after the statement was issued. "We immediately implemented some changes to our policies and we feel that as a result of the actions of the Lemmon Valley incident, we have a better process and we're going to work with the community, improving our communications with not only REMSA but also the Reno Fire Department."

He explained there would be one fundamental change in the policy. "I think the fundamental common denominator of the policy is if someone calls for assistance, we're going to help. If it does not meet our criteria, we're going to look at it and correct it on the backside and not refuse lifting anybody or patients." 

As for any disciplinary action, Chief Hernandez said, "We're looking at the actions of the Battalion Chiefs in totality. Once we complete our internal investigation, we'll make that determination. We're in the middle of that investigation right now so we really can't comment on anything further."
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Rickerwill - 6/29/2014 9:04 AM
0 Votes
What policy of our public servants says they are not to serve the public? Where did it become the responsibility of a private (duplicate?) corporate entity - REMSA - when a public servant is injured on the job? On what basis can a battalion chief, who does not even show up for 45 minutes into a medical emergency call, stand and watch and tell other departments not to dispatch? There is a whole lot to this story we shall never hear, but that chief should suffer more than a paid vacation and a little write-up in his employee jacket (suspension and reprimand). If, indeed, these are policies of RFD, then it is high time for some serious re-writing of policy to ensure the public is served appropriately. I feel for the poor man who suffered for over an hour and a half while RFD dawdled and watched RPD and REMSA do their job! Disgraceful.

RomeoTango - 6/29/2014 6:31 AM
0 Votes
Batt chief needs to be fired and criminally charged with abandonment. Should be flipping fries at burger joint instead weighing people's tragedies for his amusement. Should never work in fire again.

RomeoTango - 6/29/2014 6:31 AM
0 Votes
Batt chief needs to be fired and criminally charged with abandonment. Should be flipping fries at burger joint instead weighing people's tragedies for his amusement. Should never work in fire again.

sierra11 - 6/28/2014 5:36 PM
1 Vote
Sounds like a $3 Million dollar deficit this year(in just the fire dept.). Does the City think they will find a magic pot of gold in the next three months? If they do I believe 35 Accountants and Admin employees need to go first! If your savings and checking accounts are overdrawn you can't keep spending on your credit cards. Which brings us to the banks.....they are sitting on foreclosed houses but have Not filed final foreclosure(pretty crafty eh?). So long as the house is in the homeowners name they are not paying property tax, the banks must be writing it off to a bad debt-No Revenue! Business profits are still low..........the OLD low is now the NEW high, again No Revenue. Commercial buildings are still vacant..No Revenue, the list goes on. We cannot sustain a Fat local government of 2008 anymore, if the City, County and State cannot balance expenditures to revenue income they will bankrupt! Come on folks and get with it! The rest of us have had to endure and adjust to this pathetic economy. As for the fire chief......you better pull your head out and become a leader! This is not the time to play games and try to put anyone over a barrel. Just keep f'n around and this may turn into a ALL Volunteer Fire Department! If you think that is ridiculous or funny, just wait!

freedomrings - 6/28/2014 12:11 PM
1 Vote
Witnesses say this battalion chief laughed and took pictures on his phone while cancelling the call for help. If this is true this over paid piece of garbage needs to be fired immediately.

Fire mom - 6/28/2014 11:16 AM
2 Votes
I'm curious as to when Joe Hart and KRNV are going to broadcast either a retraction or a correction regarding the Reno Fire Department's drug and alcohol policy. It has been made well known the source of the story, the RGJ, used carefully selected excerpts from a policy addendum, to concoct a story that smeared the men and women of the RFD. The actual policy, one of zero tolerance based on the 1988 Drug Free Workplace Act was never referenced by the RGJ nor KRNV. As of this writing, no media outlet has stepped forward to right the wrong done to Reno's firefighters. This is a travesty of epic proportions, and local media has yet to fulfill their oaths as objective and ethical journalists. It is becoming readily apparent that KRNV is standing shoulder to shoulder with RGJ as a supporter and standard bearer of small-town political corruption.

Fire mom - 6/28/2014 11:15 AM
1 Vote
I'm curious as to when Joe Hart and KRNV are going to broadcast either a retraction or a correction regarding the Reno Fire Department's drug and alcohol policy. It has been made well known the source of the story, the RGJ, used carefully selected excerpts from a policy addendum, to concoct a story that smeared the men and women of the RFD. The actual policy, one of zero tolerance based on the 1988 Drug Free Workplace Act was never referenced by the RGJ nor KRNV. As of this writing, no media outlet has stepped forward to right the wrong done to Reno's firefighters. This is a travesty of epic proportions, and local media has yet to fulfill their oaths as objective and ethical journalists. It is becoming readily apparent that KRNV is standing shoulder to shoulder with RGJ as a supporter and standard bearer of small-town political corruption.

Fire mom - 6/28/2014 11:10 AM
0 Votes
It has been six days since the RGJ posted its hit-piece implying Reno Firefighters negotiated a policy allowing them to drink and/or do drugs on duty. The RGJ knows this was a calculated effort to continue an intricate smear campaign designed to malign the reputations of the men and women of the Reno Fire Department and create hostile disdain in the public's eye. The motivations behind this campaign of lies has been spearheaded by several members of the City's staff as they have fed reporter Anjeanette Damon documents that not only told just part of the story, but allowed her to spin the information aiding them in their cause. Reno Fire administrators, the Firefighters Union and individual members of the community have repeatedly informed the RGJ of their errors, be they intentional or otherwise, but as of this writing, the RGJ has done nothing to right the wrongs done to the Department and its members. I ask the following...When is the RGJ going to uphold its moral and ethical obligation to report the whole, truthful story? When is the RGJ going to give the Reno Firefighters their equal time? When is the RGJ going to stop being the mouthpiece of small town political corruption brought about by small minds obsessed only with their own political hubris? When are the citizens of this city going to demand the truth?

Fire mom - 6/28/2014 11:10 AM
1 Vote
It has been six days since the RGJ posted its hit-piece implying Reno Firefighters negotiated a policy allowing them to drink and/or do drugs on duty. The RGJ knows this was a calculated effort to continue an intricate smear campaign designed to malign the reputations of the men and women of the Reno Fire Department and create hostile disdain in the public's eye. The motivations behind this campaign of lies has been spearheaded by several members of the City's staff as they have fed reporter Anjeanette Damon documents that not only told just part of the story, but allowed her to spin the information aiding them in their cause. Reno Fire administrators, the Firefighters Union and individual members of the community have repeatedly informed the RGJ of their errors, be they intentional or otherwise, but as of this writing, the RGJ has done nothing to right the wrongs done to the Department and its members. I ask the following...When is the RGJ going to uphold its moral and ethical obligation to report the whole, truthful story? When is the RGJ going to give the Reno Firefighters their equal time? When is the RGJ going to stop being the mouthpiece of small town political corruption brought about by small minds obsessed only with their own political hubris? When are the citizens of this city going to demand the truth?

MikeR - 6/28/2014 8:04 AM
1 Vote
The responding battalion chief needs to be fired. It's obvious he lacks the intelligence to make critical decisions and will only be an ongoing liability to the Reno fire department. But of course the greased palms of the fire fighters unions will keep him and the other druggies on the force.
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