Two Firefighters Demoted After DWI Arrests

Two Rocky Mount firefighters were suspended and recently demoted after drunk driving arrests.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Varnell says George Pridgen and Jason Bland were both suspended for four shift days after violating policy.

Pridgen was charged with DWI by Kinston police on April 24th, while state troopers in Nash County arrested Bland back in January. Both happened while the firefighters were off duty.

Varnell says Pridgen was demoted from fire engineer to firefighter on June 7th. He's worked for Rocky Mount since 1983. Bland was demoted from senior firefighter to firefighter on June 11th. He was hired in 2007.

Bland has a July 27th court date, while Pridgen's court date is August 2nd.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Brenda Location: NashCo on Jul 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM
    We all need to start holding ourselves to higher standards and set good examples for our kids - don't drink & drive, don't use illegal drugs, clean up your potty mouth, respect others. etc. Kids, really people of all ages, look up to our public officials, and for that reason they really do need to watch how they carry themselves. We also need to quit comparing EMTs, Firefighters, police officers, deputies, and troopers etc. They're all important, none more than the other. They each serve a different need. The only thing they have in common is that they are all public "servants" and put their lives on the line each day in an effort to keep us safe, whether the threat to our safety is a fire, wreck, robbery, idiot with a gun, etc. None of officers are perfect, but then neither am I. We all have to pay for our own screw-ups. Would you throw away all your books because of 5 bad ones, all your video games because of 3 bad ones, all your shoes because of one uncomfortable one? Of course not, so don't judge a whole group of people because of the mistakes of a few in the group.
  • by McDonald Location: Anywhere on Jul 1, 2011 at 03:43 PM
    Why dont they fire NCSHP troopers that drink and drive off duty?..There are 2 in Martin Co, That drink and drive on a regular basis.Give them all a lie detector test and see which ones fail. Ask them if they have driven after drinking
  • by Greenville Fireman Location: Greenville,NC on Jul 1, 2011 at 01:11 PM
    I think its a shame and a HARD lesson should be put into place! Suspend them for only 4 days thats a disgrace on RMFD!! Too many people that OBEY the law are looking for jobs and how many wrecks do you go to and cut these people out for drinking and driving!! GREAT QUESTION....DID THERE PAY GET CUT ???? Chief Trey Mayo of all people this is all you do!!! STEP up and FIRE them!!!!
  • by ignorant human Location: world full of ignorance and evil on Jul 1, 2011 at 11:27 AM
    Reality and an ideal society are too different things. That does not mean we should not keep trying to do better. Call a little old lady if your house is on fire.
  • by rolo Location: on patrol on Jul 1, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    Remember innocent until proven guilty?? Regardless of their occupation, they are due that right.
  • by DWI VIC DAUGHTER Location: FOUNTAIN on Jul 1, 2011 at 11:04 AM
    my mother was hit by a drunk driver 20 years ago her life has changed drastically. my best freind was killed by one. If these 2 men do not get the importance of not driving while impaired after what they see going to accidents daily, no one will ever get it. This is sad. My husband works with the Sherrifs dept and this would not be tolarated in Pitt County. I hate for anyone to lose their jobs, but i think people need to be held accountable for their actions no matter what they are.
  • by m on Jul 1, 2011 at 10:42 AM
    whosaid ever heard of spell chcek?
  • by Ex-Chief Location: Greenville on Jul 1, 2011 at 10:24 AM
    Both professions should be held to a higher standard. LEO's must operate motor vehicles and with a DWI conviction the city's insurance would most likely not cover them. The two FF's were not required to operate a vehicle after their reductions in rank. But, as stated by Chief it is a disgrace to Emergency Services.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 1, 2011 at 03:06 PM in reply to Ex-Chief
      They don't drive fire engines??? Who does then?
      • reply
        by anonymous on Jul 1, 2011 at 04:32 PM in reply to
        engineers are the ones who drive the fire trucks, they were reduced in rank so they shouldn't be allowed to drive the trucks again. Either way they should be fired. These guys are considered local heros to our communities, it sets a bad example to our children.
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jul 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM
    The police officer Arsonist, accused child molester was hired and fired by 3 different law enforcement offices(police,sheriff and prison system) before his move to beaufort county.
  • by me on Jul 1, 2011 at 09:39 AM
    I agree with Chief---some jobs are accepted with the notion of being held at a hirer reguard to others, because of the job. People who are hired just need to accept this, or either don't accept the job. This is a disgrace.......I'm not sure who to trust in an emergency............
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