Only On 7: SFFD assistant chief fights suspension

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Only On 7: SFFD assistant chief fights suspension
An assistant San Francisco fire chief is fighting a suspension that stems from a crash between a fire truck and a motorcycle last year.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An assistant San Francisco fire chief attended a special hearing on Monday to fight a suspension that he says he does not deserve. It all stems from a crash between a fire truck and a motorcycle rider last year, and it's a story you'll only see on ABC7 News.

"We have nothing to hide at all," said attorney Matthew McNaughton. "Chief Franklin didn't do anything wrong."

Assistant Fire Chief David Franklin and his attorney arrived at fire headquarters Monday morning, hoping to get his eight day suspension overturned. Franklin was one of the top commanders who arrived on the scene to investigate the accident.

"He did the best he could," said McNaughton. "The best relying on his training and education and experience and was subsequently brought up on charges,"

Also at the hearing Monday were fellow firefighters who came to support Franklin and to learn why he's being suspended.

Bryan Rubenstein heads the San Francisco Fire Chiefs Association.

"We need to know more about what it is that was objectionable about Chief Franklin's performance," he said. "Chief Franklin claims now and has claimed that he's followed our rules."

Franklin is one of four firefighters disciplined by Chief Joanne Hayes-White in the aftermath of last summer's collision between a fire rig and a motorcycle. She has not revealed what the charges are, saying they're personnel matters

Hayes-White also recommended terminating firefighter Michael Quinn who drove the truck. But he resigned instead.

The accident happened last June at 5th and Howard streets as the fire truck was responding to a call.

Video shows the rig blowing through a red light, hitting 50-year-old Jack Frazier, and sending him across Howard Street where he slammed into a fire hydrant.

Frazier was seriously injured.

Quinn's sobriety tests showed blood alcohol levels above the legal driving limit.

Hayes-White launched an investigation to see if other firefighters at the scene, including top commanders, covered up the incident.

At the hearing Monday, both Franklin's attorney and Rubenstein asked for an open hearing, even though this was a personnel matter.

But Fire Commissioner Francee Covington closed the meeting, saying the evidence heard Monday would include privileged information that would come up when the other three firefighters appeal their suspensions.

Covington will report her findings to the full commission and they will vote on the appeal.

ABC7 News has also learned that the other three firefighters, including another assistant fire chief, are also appealing their suspensions.

Their appeals have yet to be heard.