A Detroit EMS paramedic disciplined by his department after a fire run last month will not be suspended, authorities said Tuesday.
On Sept. 18, Jeff Gaglio provided a blanket to a senior citizen whose home was ravaged by a blaze.
Two weeks later, Gaglio was officially informed that he would be brought up on departmental charges.
On Tuesday, Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin said Gaglio was not disciplined for giving away property but “for failing to follow department policy related to inventory accounting for an ambulance.”
In a statement, Austin went on to say: “It is the Fire Department’s policy to assist the public in any way possible, including comfort in times of need; definitive care for the injured and ill; transportation to medical facilities; and protection from risk hazards to the greatest possible extent. The members of the Detroit Fire Department are compassionate EMS personnel and firefighters who are committed to protecting the safety of the citizens of Detroit and the public at large.”
Fox 2 broke the story last week, interviewing Gaglio and citing EMS chief Jerald James, who said employees need prior approval before giving away EMS property. The blanket, Fox 2 reported, was donated to the department by the charity Firefighters Support Services.
After a number of online news outlets such as Yahoo! News posted the story, the Detroit blanket case went viral on the Web and started to draw nationwide attention.A Facebook page dedicated to the “Blanket” scandal also drew hundreds of comments.
People pledged to send blankets to James and posted letters they mailed to the EMS chief and Mayor Dave Bing.
The issue even spurred activists to plan a blanket-donation rally in front of the Detroit Fire Department’s headquarters at West Larned at 1 p.m. Friday, according to the Facebook page.