Fired Dispatcher Fights For Job

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A dispatcher accused of an error that delayed emergency response by four minutes was working on Wednesday to get his job back.

According to Licking County officials, Matt Wheeler failed to open the public address system and dispatch firefighters to a fire in November where a man was trapped inside a home.

Todd Swinehart, a union representative, said that there was “no real delay” in crews getting to the scene, 10TV’s Chuck Strickler reported.

“It was a mistake, Swinehart said. “We are all human in the dispatch center.”

Wheeler, who also serves as a chief at the Licking Township Volunteer Fire Department in Muskingum County, admitted to the oversight and said “he would take whatever discipline was warranted, but he would love to keep his job.”

Wheeler was fired from the dispatch center in mid-December.

According to investigators, Wheeler had three suspensions and two reprimands over the course of his five-year employment, and the five issues were contributing factors in his firing.

The Communications Workers of America union filed a grievance on Wheeler’s behalf to get his dispatching job back, but a decision could take weeks, Strickler reported.

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