Article by Simon Murfitt: An Essex Fire employee has been sacked after calling a pregnant woman who got stuck in the Buttsbury Wash a 'retard' on social media.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service was called at around 7pm on Sunday, November 20, to the Buttsbury Wash between Ingatestone and Billericay.
Sherry Doran, 33, and her one-year-old child had become stuck in four-feet of water at the flooded ford and the fire service control room could hear she was panicked.
The control operator advised her to get her child out of their car seat and sit with them until firefighters arrived and rescued the pair by 7.37pm.
Details of the incident which came at the tail end of Storm Angus which saw heavy rainfall across the UK were shared online, attracting several unpleasant comments.
These included 'stupidity knows no bounds' and 'complete idiot'. Another comment, made by a man employed by the fire service called Sherry a 'retard' on Facebook.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Sherry"]Perhaps us retards don't know the area. I certainly wouldn't have knowingly put my son or unborn child at risk. Maybe you should be less quick to judge and a bit more mindful of your choice of offensive words. Fortunately, we were lucky and I can't thank the Essex Fire Service enough.[/quote]
Sherry explained that she called 999 at around 7.40pm on Sunday after getting stuck in the floods. She had been visiting family in Billericay and was returning home to Suffolk by following a sat nav.
It led her to a ford that her black Honda Civic couldn't get through and after she got stuck, her and her child were saved by a specialist water rescue team from the fire service.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Shelly"]Sadly, a small number of people have used social media reports as a platform to make unfair judgements and comments towards me. I've read several derogatory comments online, which have only added upset to what was already a distressing incident. In response to them, the only thing I can say is I went through years of heartbreak and painful treatments to bring my child into this world and I would die before I let any harm come to him or the baby that I'm currently carrying. For people to imply that I would knowingly put them in danger by attempting to drive through four feet of water, is extremely hurtful. Had I known what was ahead of me, I would have turned around and gone another way.[/quote]
She is also calling for the ford to be more clearly marked.
The decision by Essex Fire and Rescue to sack one of their employees over the remark has attracted a range of differing views.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Chrissy Bell "]He should have just of been disciplined, not sacked. Poor choice of words used by employee, however the woman's actions must have exasperated him. These guys see horrendous things and for someone to endanger her son's life, unborn baby's life as well as her own for not paying attention to signs and surroundings well beggars belief.[/quote]
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lewis Doran"]What has happened has been terrible. It has gone from being something about the accident to what this guy said online.[/quote]
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by a spokeswoman for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service"]As and when needed, our service employs contractual workers through external agencies. We recently took immediate action against an agency worker who displayed behaviours against our service values. The use of derogatory language against members of our public is something we will not tolerate.[/quote]
Read the original article by Simon Murfitt, Essex Live