No more fire runs for special firefighter

Posted at 6:02 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 18:02:22-04

He's not an official firefighter, but many at the Georgetown Fire Department consider him on of their own. Tonight, they are rallying around the honorary firefighter with special needs after he was told he could no longer hang out with them on the job as he has done for years.

Robert Jones isn't an officially trained firefighter, but he's definitely part of the crew at the Airport Road Fire Station. He's been hanging out with members of the Georgetown Fire Department for years. Jones has done hands-on training, he helps wash trucks and even goes on emergency runs.

Due to safety and liability issues, Georgetown's Mayor says Robert can no longer ride on runs with firefighters and must have a guardian.

"I was not fully aware he was going on emergency runs, so I will not apologize for looking out for Robert's safety and the liability concerns of the city," Mayor Tom Prather tells LEX 18.

Many firefighters are upset about the decision and don't believe the city handled it well. They say Robert, who has special needs, showed up at a station and was asked to leave. His family is disheartened by the situation.

Mayor Prather says the city had been speaking with Robert's dad about the possible changes, but when they were finalized, no one got back to him.

Instead, Robert got the news.

"I have apologized to Bobby for my get back with him so I think Robert got more of a blunt message at the fire department than either his parents or I wanted to happen," explained Prather. "He is welcome anytime. He belongs to the family at the fire department, parades, honorary firefighter...those roles."