Twelve of the 14 firefighters who were detained for stealing items from the crash-landed Fly Jamaica aircraft were still in custody yesterday.
They are likely to appear in court by Monday.
Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle said that two of the firefighters who went to the scene while they were off-duty have been released.
Six of the ranks, including a supervisor, remain in the Kitty Police Station lockups. They were reportedly placed in the lockups while still wearing their uniforms.
The detained ranks consist of the entire firefighting crew that was stationed at the CJIA.
The stolen items included tablets, cell phones and colognes, which belonged to the pilot and passengers. Police recovered some of the items, including a bottle of perfume that belonged to an air hostess. These were stashed in a fire truck.
The homes and barracks of some of the ranks were also searched.
Some of the alleged culprits have over 15 years’ service. There were also junior ranks with three to five years’ service.
The theft was uncovered after the pilot of the crash-landed aircraft reported that some of his personal items were missing from the cockpit.
One of the detained senior ranks, who lives near to the CJIA, told investigators that he was off duty but went to the scene. A junior rank also arrived at the airport in his car, but then left.
After the pilot, an air hostess and others complained about missing items, the rank who had arrived in the car was summoned back to the CJIA. He then handed over two phones that he had taken from the cockpit.
Police ranks then searched the fire tender and recovered other items, including a laptop, the air hostess’s perfume and two other phones.
While police found nothing else after searching the ranks’ homes and living quarters, a firefighter described as the ‘mastermind’ reportedly told investigators that the entire crew was involved.
Gentle, who has apologized for the unprofessional behaviour of the ranks, said that the Guyana Fire Service is awaiting the outcome of the police investigation before it deals condignly with the culprits.
“Everything is going to be swift,” he said. Kaieteur News understands that one of the ranks contacted the Chief Fire Officer to apologise, while proclaiming his innocence.
In the wake of the embarrassing incident, Gentle indicated that more stringent screening of recruits will be put in place.
“Our recruitment standards will definitely be lifted further. Our Recruitment Board is already in place, but more stringent recruitment and training is needed.”
It is the second time in recent years that the Fire Chief has had to express concern at the behaviour of some dishonest ranks.
In May 2016, four firefighters were arrested for making off with cell phones from the home of Traffic Chief Dion Moore, after responding to a fire at Moore’s residence.
One of the phones was found under the seat of the fire tender that they were in when police stopped the ranks at a roadblock.
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