LLOYDSVILLE (KDKA) — A volunteer firefighter in Westmoreland County was suspended after making some controversial comments about overdose victims.
Initially posted on FireRescue1, a Facebook page and website dedicated to firefighters, Lloydsville volunteer firefighter Don Smith posted, in part, “Worthless junkies can just die … They made the choice to stick a needle in their arm. I make the choice to not play God and let them die.”
The post immediately sparked comments on the internet. Some agreed with Smith’s statement on overdose victims, but many called it out of line and unprofessional.
Shortly after Smith’s online message, Lloydsville Volunteer Fire Company officials suspended Smith and put out a statement regarding his post.
They said in part that they are “deeply concerned and saddened by the comments this individual made, and we wish to advise our community that these beliefs are his own, and do not represent the beliefs, morals, or ideas of the rest of the department.”
The post goes on to say, “Each member of our organization signs a strict social media policy upon becoming a member, and is sworn to an oath to serve the public. This has been a blatant violation of both of these, and simply will not be tolerated.”
Smith didn’t want to speak to KDKA-TV on camera about the matter, but he did send the following message to KDKA-TV’s Ross Guidotti:
“A hundred other people said what I did and worse. No hard feelings Lloydsville let me go. I am fine with it. I get it was a harsh way of putting things, but there’s a lot people don’t know.”