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of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Friday, 30 November 2007, 12:59 GMT
Firefighter loses dismissal case

A firefighter who was sacked after student flats were evacuated has lost his unfair dismissal claim at an employment tribunal.

Kevin Anderson, 30, from Glasgow, was second-in-command in November last year when students were left outside Buchanan View for almost three hours.

The incident led to 38 complaints and three firefighters were sacked.

Mr Anderson claimed his watch manager ordered the evacuation. The tribunal found he supported the decision.

The sacked firefighter told the tribunal there was a culture within Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service of not questioning orders.

He presented to the tribunal as being a knowledgeable and competent officer who ought to have known better
Walter Muir,
Tribunal chairman

He said colleagues had been disciplined weeks earlier after questioning an order to attend a Gay Pride rally in George Square.

Mr Anderson was one of five firefighters based at Cowcaddens who were subsequently disciplined following the flats incident.

The tribunal heard an investigation was launched.

It was alleged that firefighters had acted aggressively and used foul language when rousing residents to empty the building.

The fire alarm had been activated shortly after midnight and students had to wait outside until about 0230 GMT.

Private homes

Mr Anderson was dismissed by the fire service for being party to the decision to evacuate after the fire alarm had been turned off and reset.

Passkeys were used to access residents' private homes when there was no emergency.

He was also found to have failed to follow proper procedures, deployed fire services needlessly and to have sworn at members of the public, using abusive language.

Mr Anderson denied he had used such language.

However, the tribunal concluded Mr Anderson's dismissal was fair.

Chairman Walter Muir said "The claimant was second in command that night. He was an experienced officer.

"He presented to the tribunal as being a knowledgeable and competent officer who ought to have known better."

Mr Muir said Mr Anderson's "evident support of the illegal decision to evacuate was contrary to everything that he had been taught".