Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lifeguard fired after participating in beach rescue

Via Moonbattery

As lifeguards are paid and trained to do, Tomas Lopez rushed down the beach to rescue a drowning man — and then got fired for it.

The problem: Lopez stepped out of the beach zone his company is paid to patrol, a supervisor said Tuesday.

"I ran out to do the job I was trained to do," said Lopez, 21, of Davie. "I didn't think about it at all."

At least two other lifeguards have quit in protest.

"What was he supposed to do? Watch a man drown?" asked one, Szilard Janko.

Lifeguards in Hallandale Beach work for Orlando-based company Jeff Ellis and Associates, which has been providing lifeguard services for the city's beaches and pools since 2003.

Company officials on Tuesday said Lopez broke a rule that could've put beachgoers in his designated area in jeopardy. The firm could ultimately have been sued, officials said.

"We have liability issues and can't go out of the protected area," said supervisor Susan Ellis. "What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do."

More @ Sun Sentinel

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