Escambia County

Journal documents a litany of harassment allegations

January 30, 2018

Escambia County is in the midst of an investigation of harassment of a former female professional firefighter in its Escambia Fire Rescue Department. To date, Fire Lt. Joseph Martin has been given a Letter of reprimand, Firefighter Christopher Watson dismissed, and Chief Patrick Grace relieved of his duties.

The female firefighter’s name has been redacted from the reports. However, Inweekly has obtained her personal journal, 24 pages, in which she documented her experiences working in Escambia Fire Rescue over the past two years.

The first entry is dated June 20, 2015 – before she was hired: “Chief Sanders used terms such as “sexy” and “baby” during the PAT. He told one guy getting his vitals to ‘come one over here and sit down by this sexy thing.'”

According to the journal, it was Chief Sanders who later gave the prospect her “sexual harassment” talk – “there would be a certain level of sexual harassment I would have to deal with,” I would not report it,” “I needed to feel comfortable enough to confront the other firefighter and tell him to stop.”

On Oct. 24, 2015 – her first day of work: Lt. Akerman reportedly told her, “None of the battalion chiefs want you. Chief Hollingsworth got stuck with you because he’s the newest battalion chief. You were sent to St. 19 so no one has to deal with you or train you.

While at St. 19, Firefighter Reed used “Bitch” as a nickname when he referred to her. Reed later give her a City of Pensacola job application and told her to go work there. She later writes that an application was also placed on her bed at St. 12 when she was out on a medical call.

She wrote about the station conditions: “On too many occasions to count I’d find toilets not flushed with feces and/or urine on the floor where it was obvious it was an intentional mess. The female bathroom was normally designated the lieutenant’s bathroom.”

She wrote: “In almost two year I have only spent six weeks total with two different fire officers that would stand up and protect me from issues like I experienced. The rest of the time I’ve been stuck with known problems. These crews include but are not limited to known drug and alcohol problems, disciplinary actions, suspensions, and pure laziness.”

She added, “I love my job because I get to help people…But this is not the fire service that I signed up for. I’ve worked for a fire department before and it was not anything like this. I was never given a chance to succeed here.”

Read Fire Journal.

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3 Comments

  • Reply FedUp February 2, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? It sure is a shame that a young woman has to go ruin it for women in the future for the fire service. She could’ve took her real, true and legitimate issues and had them resolved but instead she embellished and drug everyone’s name through the dirt she could think of. If I were a male firefighter and a female came to work at my station, I’d wear a body cam with audio 24/7. You can’t trust anyone these days and whatever the person says that makes the allegations is always correct. There’s still plenty of us that respect and appreciate our escambia county firefighters regardless of what the city fire chiefs daughter has to say about it. Good luck and stay safe out there guys!

    • Reply C February 2, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Obviously you don’t read well! She took her issues to her immediate supervisor every time and no change was made. Her purpose in all of this was only to make ECFR a better place to work for all firefighters- male and female.

  • Reply morphus January 31, 2018 at 9:09 am

    What the public NEEDS to grasp is, this female firefighter’s journal reports a public safety crisis which impacts every person in Escambia County.

    Unfortunately, this female firefighter’s toxic workplace good ole boy cultural experiences is not new. As her journal notes, this corrupt culture within the fire service EXTENDS BEYOND sexual harassment.

    For years, Escambia County administration, the Public Safety Administration, and ECFR worked hand-in-hand suppressing complaints about a toxic dysfunctional good ole boy workplace which endangers the wellbeing of public at large.

    Individuals raising concerns are labeled as complainers who then are treated like whistleblowers ostracized for “attacking” the “system”. Abused citizen’s complaints are routinely “investigated” and closed without further action.

    ANY firefighter with a mistaken belief their meritorious complaint will be address by their superiors about a toxic and hostile workplace, discrimination, disparate treatment, and unsafe work conditions quickly learn they, the complainant, become the target of false allegations who are then defamed and ultimately forced from their jobs.

    Firing Chief Grace, FF Watson, and LT Martin will NOT address the long standing dysfunctional culture within Escambia County administration, HR, EEOC, and ECFR which, in turn, endangers the public when there’s no one ensuring public safety protocols are being enforced.

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