Jeffersonville’s Fire Merit Commission will investigate a disputed reprimand given to a city firefighter relating to an Aug. 4 water rescue.

The firefighter’s union is filing a grievance in relation to the written reprimand filed against Capt. Dave DeArk.

On Aug. 4, as a massive storm brought record floodwaters to the area, DeArk was called to rescue a couple from a basement apartment on Howard Avenue.

Eric Hedrick, union president, said he was present the morning of the storm and recalled that “a large amount of water began to fill the apartment” after a wall inside gave away. DeArk, who called for assistance from other firefighters, broke a window as a means of escape for both himself and the couple. However, he was pulled out of the apartment before the civilians.

DeArk was pulled out first in order to clear glass out of the broken window, according to Hedrick. He said one firefighter was cut so badly from the glass that he had to receive several stitches.

“This was an on-the-spot situation,” Hedrick said. “The entire rescue took 25 seconds.”

A complaint was filed and an internal investigation found there was apparently no written operating procedure for such a rescue, according to Hedrick. But despite that the reprimand was issued.

“We think it’s not justified or supported,” he said.

Attempts to reach DeArk and Mayor Tom Galligan were unsuccessful on Wednesday. A request has been made for a copy of the complaint against DeArk and the reprimand but neither were available by press time. Hedrick said he hasn’t seen the complaint and did not know the names of those making the complaint.

The matter was discussed briefly during a Wednesday morning meeting of Jeffersonville’s Board of Public Works. The board essentially voted to put the matter in the hands of the Fire Merit Commission, which doesn’t technically have jurisdiction to handle personnel issues until Jan. 1.



IN OTHER BUSINESS

• The board open bids on the third phase of a sidewalk project on Charlestown Pike. The low bid was submitted by TSI Paving at $210,150, which was less than hundred dollars off the engineer’s estimate of the project costs. Nine company submitted bids. The board took no action on the bids, instead, opting to take them under advisement.

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