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Firefighters face alcohol probe

Authorities are investigating whether Sacramento firefighters were drinking on duty at a "Porn Star" party last weekend but did not test them for alcohol use following allegations of a sexual assault at the event.

"When we responded to the station, there was no indication at the time that they had been drinking," Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Justin Risley said Thursday.

Firefighters from Station 20 in North Sacramento also are under investigation for allegedly violating Fire Department policy by attending the "Porn Star Costume Ball" at the Radisson Hotel last Friday night. Seven firefighters, including a captain, are on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Photographs have surfaced purportedly showing firefighters from Station 20 with drinks in their hands at the party.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Niko King said firefighters are not routinely tested for drugs and alcohol, except when there is a strong suspicion of use. "If anybody's suspected of consuming alcohol on duty, you are suppose to notify your supervisor immediately," King said.

The firefighters would be taken out of service and tested, which did not occur early Saturday, Risley said.

Authorities also are investigating whether the crew of Engine 20 failed to respond to a 911 call Friday night, shortly before the alleged sexual assault took place. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, authorities released details of 911 emergency calls to Station 20 that shed light on the crew's activities.

Sacramento Fire Chief Julius Cherry said the dispatch logs show that for about two hours Friday night, four firefighters listed themselves as "available on radio," which means the firefighters were away from the station.

No supervisor above the rank of captain knew exactly where the four firefighters were between 9:44 p.m. and 11:39 p.m.

Two firefighters on the Station 20 ambulance also told dispatchers they were "available on radio" from 9:41 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. During that time, fire officials believe three crews arrived at the "Porn Star" party in the Radisson ballroom at 500 Leisure Lane.

The woman who reported she was sexually assaulted said she left the party about 11:30 p.m. and went with a firefighter to Station 20's grass-fire rig parked outside. At 1:15 a.m. Saturday, she called police to report an assault that took place inside the rig.

Emergency dispatch logs released Thursday showed the engine and grass-fire rig from Station 20 were directed to four calls Friday night and early Saturday. On the second call at 11:15 p.m. Friday, the crew declared itself "unable to respond" to a medical emergency on Lindley Drive.

Cherry said he doesn't know why they said that they were unable to respond or who said it.

"What we do know is that someone was listening to the radio and that somebody said they were unable to respond," Cherry said.

Another fire truck and crew that had remained at Station 20 at 300 Arden Way took the second call, along with the ambulance that was believed to be at the Radisson. Both units arrived at the Lindley Drive residence by 11:23 p.m. The medical unit transported the patient to UC Davis Medical Center and returned to the station by 12:25 a.m. Saturday.

At 11:39 p.m., Station 20's engine and grass-fire rig were dispatched to a third call, which they responded to. They arrived within 11 minutes and cleared the call by 12:01 a.m. Saturday. At 12:05 a.m., they arrived at the station.

At 12:35 a.m. the engine and grass-fire rig answered a fourth call and returned to the Radisson after receiving a report of an unconscious person at the hotel lounge. The crews returned to the station by 12:47 a.m.

Cherry said he wants the investigation to be accurate and set up a hotline for the public to call. Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call (916) 433-1625.


About the Writer

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The Bee's Elizabeth Hume can be reached at (916) 321-1203 or ehume@sacbee.com.

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