Two firefighters disciplined in fatal crash response

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) - Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist has demoted two city firefighters over a fire engine response to a report of a car on fire.

Eighteen-year-old Nick Melton died in June 3rd incident that occurred just outside the Jackson city limits.

Battalion Chief Kinley Hullom and engine driver Nathaniel Bell have been suspended since June 29th. Their suspensions were extended yesterday.

The city personnel director says when the men return to work, it will be at lower rank with lower pay.

Gist said in announcing the demotions that Melton didn't die because of the firefighters' conduct, but their actions still merit punishment.

The city engine crew saw Melton's burning vehicle from a distance and didn't understand there was a person inside it.

Taped radio dispatches reveal the engine crew also thought county fire engines were already at the scene. In fact, the city engine was the first to arrive.

Attorneys for the firefighters protested the decision and Hullom's lawyer said a quick appeal would be filed.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)