DC Fire Department Officials Busted For Running Prostitute Ring

Apparently all the fire in Washington D.C felt by officials of the D.C. fire department are not just burning properties, but also from a criminal investigation now in progress following allegations that at least two employees of the department are running a prostitute ring.

Chief Dennis L. Rubin said he asked police to launch an investigation after getting an anonymous tip that some employees were exchanging sex for money or other benefits. Rubin declined to provide specific details.

"It's an allegation, and we're taking the allegation very seriously. We're not taking it casually," Rubin said in an interview. "We're going out very aggressively, and the police have been great."

Other officials said the probe was triggered in part by an episode July 29 at the Engine Company 8 firehouse in the 1500 block of C Street SE. A fire sergeant allegedly exposed himself to a female colleague, an emergency medical technician; he was off duty, and she was not. The sergeant, whose name has not been released, has since resigned.
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Wider allegations of sexual impropriety in several fire stations soon came to the attention of top officials, authorities said. The Washington Times reported yesterday that authorities were investigating allegations about a prostitution ring.

Rubin, who took over the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department in April, announced this week that fire and police investigators have teamed up in a new unit that will examine a range of misconduct allegations. Fire officials mentioned the July 29 incident at that time but did not say the investigation into it had led to bigger concerns.

Rubin said yesterday that all fire stations in the city will come under scrutiny. The investigation apparently focuses on several firehouses, including Engine Company 27, at 4201 Minnesota Ave. NE, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The sources said investigators are looking into at least two employees, including a commanding officer, who are alleged to be involved in coordinating various prostitution activities. One is also alleged to have paid for sex, the sources said.

Authorities are also questioning a larger group of fire department employees about their possible roles in the scandal, the sources said. It is unclear how much of the improper activity took place at D.C. fire stations, the sources said.
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Kenneth Lyons, president of the union that represents emergency medical workers, said he was asked whether he knew of a "sex ring" involving firefighters and emergency medical technicians during a meeting with fire officials about the incident at Engine Company 8. He said an equal employment opportunity officer revealed at the meeting that allegations had surfaced involving firefighters requesting sex from emergency medical workers.

Lyons said that the female worker at Engine Company 8 initially informed fire officials at her station, including a battalion chief, about the incident involving the sergeant. But she felt the allegation wasn't being investigated properly or taken seriously, Lyons said.

Lyons said he brought the matter to the attention of top officials at a day-long diversity training seminar attended by Rubin and the entire senior command staff. During the event, senior department leaders discussed various issues involving sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as other topics. All department employees will attend the training.

With rumors swirling throughout the department, Daniel Dugan, president of the firefighters union, said his organization is taking a wait-and-see approach in the case.

"We owe it to our members to sit back and see what is fact and what is fiction," Dugan said.

Rubin said he will not tolerate misconduct in his department.

"It's disturbing to think we have to deal with these issues, but it's part of human nature," Rubin said.

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