A Northeast Side volunteer fire department has been suspended while the Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office investigates allegations of misconduct among its members.
County officials this week informed the Camelot Volunteer Fire Department that it would not be permitted to respond to emergencies while fire marshals investigate allegations that its members discriminated against a firefighter because of his sexual orientation, said Camelot VFD Chief Edwin Eisenbeck. The suspension was effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
â€œWe’ll get through this,â€ Eisenbeck said Wednesday afternoon. â€œIt’s just a small stumbling block.â€
The suspension could last up to six months. For now, departments in Windcrest and Converse will respond to emergencies in the 3 1/2 miles that cover Camelot’s boundaries.
â€œWe were already on automatic response for their fires,â€ said Windcrest Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dan Reese. â€œNow we will be responding to medical emergencies.â€
A former volunteer told investigators that colleagues damaged his car because he’s gay, Eisenbeck said. That employee also told investigators that he was terminated because of his sexual orientation.
But Eisenbeck denied that allegation Wednesday.
â€œI fired him after I found out he stole a couple dollars from other firefighters,â€ he said. â€œHe told me it was because he was gay. I told him it was because he stole.â€
The department was already in trouble with fire marshals after an alleged hazing incident in recent months.
County commissioners suspended the department’s funding after the hazing allegations. Eisenbeck said a captain and lieutenant were terminated as a result of that investigation.
â€œThat wasn’t any hazing going on, but there was a bunch of guys making bad choices,â€ he said.
Staff Writer Valentino Lucio contributed to this report.