Hartford fire lieutenant fires back at chief after being reassigned

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HARTFORD –A Hartford Fire Department lieutenant is firing back at the department’s chief after he was abruptly reassigned from the position of public information officer.

Lt. Raul Ortiz wrote in an email, which was obtained by Fox CT, that he was sent “back to the line” in February on the same day he returned from a city-paid media training trip.

“I have attached an email/fire service for your review regarding some of the issues you had with me and my work,” Ortiz started off in his email, dated February 27.

In the attached document, Ortiz refutes, one by one, 16 reasons Chief Carlos Huertas listed in a previously obtained email for reassigning Ortiz. They included questions such as, “Why is the refrigerator at Engine 5 not working?” “Did you order uniforms for yourself?” and “Why did it take 3 days to get the garbage out of the EOC?”

“I don’t know why the refrigerator is not working,” Ortiz wrote. “Once I was informed that it was not operational, I asked the lieutenant who reported it if they had a backup refrigerator that be used for the time being. I was informed they did.”

“The reason it took three days [for the trash to be taken out] is that the EOC was being used during the storm,” Ortiz said of the garbage concern.

In a final paragraph, Ortiz defended his integrity writing, “Sir, I give you all the respect afforded to your position, but your list of hearsays, false accusations, and misinformation make it apparent that you did not want me in this position any longer.”

“You gave me no indication that you were not satisfied with my work while I was there,” he wrote, “I was completely blindsided by the email and articles written about me.”

Ortiz was removed from his position as Hartford Fire Department PIO on February 6. According to documents obtained by Fox CT through a Freedom of Information Act request, Ortiz returned from a four-day “PIO boot camp seminar” on February 6. The cost of the trip, which was paid for by the city, totaled roughly $1,500, not including meals or Ortiz’s salary.

The full text of Lt. Ortiz’s email can be read below:

Reassigned Hartford Fire public information officer responds to chief

For full coverage on the controversy surrounding the Hartford Fire Department, click here.