Hawaii Fire Department chief faces civil rights lawsuit

Hawaii Fire Department chief faces civil rights lawsuit

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Two former battalion chiefs of the Hawaii Fire Department are suing the fire chief, claiming they were suspended for publicly criticizing him.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Ty Medeiros and Steve Loyola filed the civil rights suits against Chief Darren Rosario and the county earlier this month. The complaints say they were retaliated against for being whistleblowers.

Loyola, who is now retired, and Medeiros were battalion chiefs when they sent letters to the Fire Commission and mayor accusing Rosario of putting lives at risk because of insufficient hurricane and tsunami emergency plans.

The two firefighters had their uniforms stripped of their badges and placed on administrative leave.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Steve Strauss says the suits have no merit and the county will seek to have them dismissed.

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