LAFD Station 63 is in the news once again, this time for a semi-risqué video that includes a 21 year old hula hoop performer, Delila Santos, several on-duty firefighters, fire apparatus, and a fire pole.
The video was published on YouTube last week. It was part of a promotion by a California based company, Hoopnotica, that promotes hula hooping for physical fitness. It contains no nudity and probably the most risqué thing about it is it’s title: Firehouse Burlesque Hula Hooping
Station 63 in Venice Beach was involved in a serious controversy last year after a porn actress gained access to an engine company and used it as a backdrop in an adult video. It is also the station at which Fire Chief Brian Cummings served as a captain, and allegedly allowed firefighters to pose for some risqué photos.
The current controversy seems to be much more tame than the prior incidents and includes shots filmed inside the station with actual firefighters, turnout gear, apparatus, and a fire pole. Nevertheless, the LAFD Professional Standards Division is investigating.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Santos said “This was totally harmless. … We were just having fun hooping.”
Here is the video.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department is on the defense following the release of a YouTube video depicting the treatment of a female patient in 2010. The video appears to show some level of complacency by responders allegedly because the victim was a prostitute, but it also shows something else: firefighters taking cellphone images of a helpless victim.
OCFD has already adopted a formal digital imagery policy that will address photo taking going forward. Fire Chief Keith Bryant has raised a number of questions about the video, including the fairness of the editing and commentary by its maker, Brian Bates. Chief Bryant insists the treatment rendered was appropriate and the unedited video proves it. There will be more coming on this one, I’m sure.
An additional disciplinary action has been announced by the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department following the YouTube video shooting prank that occurred on September 18, 2011. Yesterday, Fire Chief Marvin Riggins increased the punishment for Fire Captain Stephanie Burke from a 2 day suspension to a demotion and 20 day suspension.
The reason for the increase was the disclosure of text messages between Capt. Burke and firefighter Chris Hughes that showed she was much more deeply involved in planning the prank than was previously believed. Hughes was the only member terminated. A total of 8 firefighters have been disciplined.
Burke was demoted to Lieutenant, and based on Macon-Bibb’s schedule her 20 day suspension equates to roughly two months off without pay. Burke, Hughes and the other disciplined personnel still have the right to contest their penalties.