Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon fire chief placed on leave; he went to fire scene after drinking

Tarpon Springs' fire chief has been placed on administrative leave after he admitted to city officials that he showed up at a fire on a night he had been drinking.

Chief Stephen Moreno, who has led the department since 2005, notified Mayor Beverley Billiris and City Manager Mark LeCouris, Billiris said Friday.

"I immediately called for a full investigation of the matter," Billiris said. "He notified us of the lapse in judgment before we received any complaints from anyone."

The city has since received several complaints about Moreno's actions at the fire that killed a prominent doctor and gutted a million-dollar home.

Among them, a letter from Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Deputy Craig Maciuba to Don Sayre, a Tarpon Springs fire division chief, accusing Moreno of risking the safety of everyone at the scene.

Moreno showed up in civilian clothes and began issuing orders that conflicted with those of the officer in charge, according to a memo from Palm Harbor Lt. Scott Sanford.

"I made some judgment decisions that went outside of the best practices that are established in Pinellas County and created a little bit of confusion and heartache," Moreno said Friday.

At about 11:30 p.m. Jan. 14, firefighters responded to a report of a mattress fire at 1304 Belcher Drive at the home of Dr. Frederick Roever, 69.

Moreno reported that he had been out socially when the fire call came in. He indicated Friday that when he arrived at the scene a significant time had passed since he had consumed alcohol.

Seventeen units from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and East Lake responded.

Roever, 69, died in the fire. His wife, Patricia, escaped.

Moreno will remain on leave until the investigation is complete, Billiris said.

The investigation was ongoing Friday. The city was in the process of interviewing Tarpon Springs firefighters who were at the fire.

Demorris Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174. Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Tarpon fire chief placed on leave; he went to fire scene after drinking 01/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.