ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 1365 held a news conference Wednesday to discuss what it calls the "wrongful termination" of an Orlando firefighter.
Joshua Granada, a 10-year veteran of Orlando Fire Rescue, was terminated on Nov. 21 because officials say he violated privacy expectations by recording Regina Hill while on a call to the penthouse at the DoubleTree Hotel on Aug. 27.
Granada said he had no idea the woman in distress was Hill, but he would have hit that button and recorded the 30-second clip no matter who it was.
“I have never received disciplinary action prior to this and my actions were to protect my crew after I felt threatened,” he said in a prepared statement.
In an exclusive interview with News 6 two days after his dismissal last week, Granada described a penthouse hotel room that looked like the aftermath of a “college rager.”
“There were empty liquor bottles everywhere, and the whole room reeked of cigarettes," Granada said. “Cigarettes were smoldering in the carpet.”
Granada said after EMT first responders were able to revive Hill, she started shouting and making
“It was cursing, cursing, cursing, 'I hate you, you’re trying to get me in trouble,'“ Grenada said. “'I hate all of you firemen,' and that’s what I heard and I swear to you, I still didn’t know who she was.”
Grenada said the words turned to sexual innuendo when Hill allegedly yelled out, “'Stop touching me, …all of you are trying to hurt me, you are all trying to do things.'”
Hill has declined to comment on the events of the day or the prior evening.
Granada told the media that his post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis stemmed from his response to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016.
Veteran attorney Geoff Bichler, a long- time advocate of PTSD treatment for first responders, said
the truth will provide compelling leverage to get Granada, Florida’s 2017 Firefighter of the Year,
back into the job he loves.
“We’re asking the state to reinstate my client immediately while this investigation continues,“ Bichler said.
He and his partner were finishing transporting patients to Orlando Health on June 12, 2016. Once he heard the call about the nightclub shooting, he and his team member jumped into action making five trips to the nightclub. Granada and his partner transported 13 injured people that night.
Watch the full press conference below.
FIREFIGHTER FIRED: Orlando Professional Fire Fighters union holds press conference on firefighter fired over audio recording of Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill. Full story here: http://bit.ly/2AHWGEwPosted by News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
He had repeatedly requested treatment for PTSD and even wrote the Fire Department chief a letter seeking treatment.
He told News 6 during a news conference that he feels that the city let him down by not listening to his requests to seek treatment.
The Orlando Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 1365 said in a news release Tuesday that Granada's lapse in judgment might not have happened if he had received the PTSD treatment he requested.
"Since the events at the Pulse nightclub, Granada has been suffering from the emotional stress associated with helping the victims of the shooting. He has repeatedly sought treatment for PTSD from the fire department, only to be denied. Instead of assisting Granada with treatment, the Orlando Fire Department continued to expose him to emotional trauma," the news release said.
Granada was named co-Firefighter of the Year for his heroic actions at Pulse.
“I was a great fireman, it seems like, until the Pulse, ... After the Pulse, all of a sudden I’ve been treated differently,” Granada told News 6.
In a statement to News 6, the Orlando Fire Department said:
“The last meeting OFD leadership had regarding firefighter Granada's treatment, Local 1365, including President Ron Glass, indicated firefighter Granada was getting the care he needed. It is troubling to learn there may have been ongoing issues that the union was aware of and they failed to notify OFD administration or direct firefighters to the resources available to all public safety personnel.
While the specific services provided to any particular firefighter would be confidential under privacy laws, no firefighter was denied mental health services nor was any firefighter harassed for seeking treatment.
Unfortunately, Granada's actions the night of the Pulse shooting, however heroic, do not justify the illegal recording of a patient receiving medical care – violating their right to privacy.”