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Firefighter cuffed, put in squad car, helping crash victims

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Top news coming in to a warm San Francisco today is about a firefighter who was arrested and removed from the area while he was trying to help crash victims at a freeway crash scene.

Newser.com says that the whole thing is being deemed an "unfortunate accident."

The story is that one firefighter was helping victims of a freeway crash when he was handcuffed and told to sit in a police car by a CHP officer.

The cameras were there to film it all happening and just as CBS8 were filming, Jacob Gregoire was told to move his fire truck out of the fast lane on I-805 in Chula Vista, CA. Gregoire, however, refused, saying he would have to check that request with his supervisor.

He then carried on helping the freeway victims. (a sedan car had jumped over a guard rail made of concrete) but the CHP officer thenhandcuffed him.

"What a terrible carry on, those people needed the firefighter's help," says San Francisco resident, Alice Marshall.

One of those crash victims was sent to the hospital and the Chula Vista fire chief told press that he stands by his firefighter, who at that point had to sit in the back of the police car for 30 minutes. Gregoire was an officer with 12 years experience.

Finally, Gregoire, who has been with the Chula Vista fire department for 12 years, was released without charge but only after spending around 30 minutes in the back of a patrol car.

Supervisors from both agencies had to intervene to have him released.

One crash victim, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital.

It turns out that it is correct procedure for firefighters to use their trucks to block oncoming traffic from hitting crash victims and other emergency responders.

The fire chief told the San Diego Union-Tribune :

"Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our firefighters and patients."

He has now met with CHP officers to make sure this never happens again, even though a similar situation happened in 2010 when a Montecito Battalion Chief entering a crash scene in Santa Barbara County was "handcuffed by the CHP after also refusing to move a truck that was blocking traffic."

Follow Sheila on Twitter (@Sheilamba)

Source: Newser.com

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See the video that accompanies this article for more on this story. See the story on the man who was cuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald.

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