BARTOW, Fla. (FOX 13) - Polk County Fire Rescue planned to fire Fire Captain James Williams before he submitted his resignation at a meeting Tuesday, according to a 78-page investigation the county released Wednesday.
Williams was ordered to meet with HR at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, but just as the meeting was getting started Williams submitted his resignation.
The 78-page document released Wednesday outlined an investigation into whether fire captain James Williams violated policy. The investigation concluded with a recommendation for Williams to be terminated, but before the department could fire him, he resigned.
The internal investigation comes amid concerns Williams shared a video of fire scenes with people outside the department on multiple occasions.
The first instance was a Snapchat video he captured of a fatal fire back in November where 67-year-old Lorretta Pickard died waiting for rescuers to save her.
"They know I'm in here, right?" Pickard said in the call.
"Yes," a dispatcher replied. "They know you're in there."
The department suspended Williams for 24 hours without pay for sharing the video on Snapchat.
The second instance came to light after Williams captured video of a previous fire 5 days before and texted the video to someone outside the department. The second instance led to an internal investigation accusing Williams of violating 3 separate policies when he captured video of a fire scene and texted it someone, deleted video which is a public record and refused to hand over his phone for inspections.
In an interview with the investigator William's said he didn't know how many times he's shared videos with people in the past, but argued the purpose of them was to share with crew members to critique the team's work despite admitting he may have also shared the videos with who he was dating at the time.
Despite his actions, Pickard's niece believes Williams isn't the only one to blame.
"We weren't out to get him we were out for safety," Amber Addison said. "So this doesn't happen to another family."
The big question still remains why Lorretta Pickard was never rescued. The fire department is now paying an outside firm $38,000 to answer that question. Their investigation is expected to be completed in May.