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Georgia Firefighter Wins Back His Job

Georgia Firefighter Wins Back His Job

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Atlanta Journal Constitution via YellowBrix

July 10, 2010

DeKalb County, GA – A DeKalb County firefighter terminated after a deadly Dunwoody fire got his job back.

A hearing officer ruled on Friday that Capt. Sell Caldwell was inappropriately terminated and did not neglect his duties in connection to the fire that killed 74-year-old Ann Bartlett, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The county will appeal the officer’s decision, said Shelia Edwards, spokeswoman for CEO Burrell Ellis.

Caldwell was one of five firefighters terminated after an investigation found they violated county policy when they responded to a report of a house fire on Houghton Court in January. The firefighters reported no sign of a fire and left.

Several hours later, neighbors reported the house was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters found Bartlett dead inside.

On Friday, the hearing officer found the county did not correctly apply the policy when officials terminated Caldwell and reversed the county’s decision, records show.

Caldwell is the third firefighter to be re-instated after appeals. The other two were not allowed to appeal their terminations because of their ranks.

Bartlett’s family has filed a lawsuit against the county. That suit is pending in DeKalb Superior Court.