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Feuding climbs the chain of command within Hartford Fire Department

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HARTFORD -- Dozens of official internal emails from the Hartford Fire Department reveal that feuding goes all the way up the chain of command.

Through a request via the Freedom of Information Act, Fox CT requested emails over a time period before and after firefighter Kevin Bell's death while on the job.

Just two days before the tragedy, an email brought to Chief Carlos Huertas' attention that safety lapses existed in Bell's company, Engine 16, including a fire truck generator out of gas as well as a pair of empty air tanks firefighters strap to their backs for oxygen.

The day after Bell's death on Oct. 7, the chief called for a board of inquiry to be convened, led by the department's deputy chief of training, Dan Nolan.

In a Nov. 4 email, Nolan criticized Chief Huertas for ordering the board to "stand down" with its investigation until all other agencies, including the State Fire Marshal's Office and OSHA, completed their own investigations.

Nolan went on to say that the chief still wanted to lead everyone to believe that the board's investigation was continuing.

Nolan pointed out that the interuption would delay the board's investigation six to eight months, and that Huertas claimed to be following orders from City Hall.

In a Nov. 6 email, the chief announced that he removed Nolan as board chair, but still kept him on as a board member.

"I'm not happy that we have to get into all these different areas of emails back and forth, there should be a smooth organization" Mayor Pedro Segarra said. "This is way too important for our community to have these emails going back and forth."

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