HOT WATER: Fire Marshal ‘Insults’ Firefighters

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The state Fire Marshal is in hot water over words he recently used to describe many of the firefighters he leads.

Members of the Des Moines firefighters union are now demanding an apology.

They`re upset over a column written by Ray Reynolds In July`s issue of the Iowa Firefighter Magazine.

Travis Hurley is still scratching his head over the article where Reynolds calls out city firefighters for not volunteering their time on the weekend to install smoke detectors.

Reynolds wrote, “You care so little about your community and the reputation of being an Iowa firefighter that you actually have to get paid to do what is right.

“Don`t think I can`t find 300 volunteer firefighters that do the job the right way that would be willing to come into your city and show you what being a real firefighter is like.”

Members of Des Moines` Association of Professional Firefighters point out that the law prohibits them from volunteering without getting paid.  Hurley is the vice president of that union and says Reynolds disrespected all non-volunteer firefighters in a magazine distributed to 16,000 firefighters each month.

“When I read it, it appeared to me as kind of a bully tactic,” Hurley says.

The association`s president sent a letter to Reynolds` boss, Commissioner Larry Noble that says, “Director Reynolds should appreciate and uphold this (labor) law without making veiled references to career professional firefighters as not 'real' firefighters..”

The letter goes on to say that Director Reynolds should make an apology and “he should be directed to write a retraction within the same periodical to hopefully reverse any animosity he intentionally created.”

"We're proud to be a part of that city, and we're proud to serve those citizens,” Hurley says. “To imply that we're not is, again, downright insulting."

A spokesman for Commissioner Noble says the commissioner personally called the Des Moines Association`s president and Noble offered his apology on behalf of the Department of Public Safety.

But the firefighters say so far, they haven`t received an apology from Reynolds and Reynolds did not respond to Channel 13’s request for an interview.