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Update On Ozark Fire Chief

By: Sarah Cantey Email
By: Sarah Cantey Email

We have an update in a controversial case involving a local fire chief.
Today first responders filed a formal complaint against Ozark Fire Chief Greg Boutwell to the E-911 board.

Fire Chief Boutwell remains on unpaid suspension as the city council figures out what to do. This investigation started when Chief Boutwell got involved in an accident outside of his jurisdiction.

Dispatcher: I have a four wheeler accident patient unresponsive, unconscious, bleeding from the ears possibly broken neck, has a bulge in his neck.

That was a call dispatch made to paramedics after a serious accident on County Road 61 and County Road 59. But, when crews arrived they released they needed a medical helicopter.

First Responder: Go ahead and get Flatiron (medical helicopter) en route please.

The dispatcher called for the chopper but that’s when Chief Boutwell got involved.

Ozark Fire Chief: Negative on Flatiron. Negative on Flatiron. Standby. See what we got.

This accident happened outside of the chief’s jurisdiction. However he serves on the E-911 board of directors. Board members say that’s why the dispatcher had to take his commands into consideration. That caused hostility between the dispatcher and crews on scene.

Dispatcher: All units be advised, per FD-1 (Fire Chief) he is advising me to stand by until he is on scene, Ozark Fire Chief is advising me to stand by.

First Responder: Be advised this is Echo saying we are requesting Flatiron at this time. Do dispatch Flatiron at this time.
“My multiple radio requests were ignored,” said a first responder.

Ultimately Chief Boutwell advised the dispatcher to send the helicopter. But, there is a discrepancy on how long he took to make that call. Regardless, paramedics decided they had to take the patient by ambulance.

And now there are questions whether the chief’s interference affected the patients care. But the E-911 Board and first responders want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Henry Steagall, E-911 Attorney, said, “We have a large set of guidelines for our dispatchers. But this particular incident may have touched on something that was just not envisioned before and we may have to draft some new policies concerning an incident that occurred like in this case.”

We do want to point out Chief Boutwell never went to the accident scene. The victim is in serious condition.

Also at the E-911 meeting the attorney said they are reviewing their bylaws to make it easier to reprimand unethical behavior of any board member.


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