Firefighter suspended for breaking COVID-19 quarantine

A Seminole County firefighter on paid leave to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 was disciplined for breaking quarantine.

What started out as a joyride on a boat, ended up getting a Seminole County firefighter in hot water.

Disciplinary action forms show, firefighter Joey Piambino, suspended without pay for three days, after testing positive for COVID-19 back in June, and breaking quarantine.

Chief Otto Drozd of the Seminole County Fire Department says, "We hold not only our employees to those standards, but to a higher standard because they have to be ready to provide for the community in their time of need." 

Administrative review documents show, Piambino posting his day out on Instagram, while he was on paid leave to quarantine at home.  After boating, he went to visit a friend. Piambino told investigators that, “He was bored and that the boredom was brought on by sitting on his couch for 13 days.”

We talked to Jon DiVita, President of the Seminole County, Professional Firefighters union via phone.

"He understands, breaking the quarantine was not a responsible thing to do, but it also has to be understood that he didn’t go to a public bar. He was going to a friend’s house. A friend’s private bar."

DiVita says Piambino never put the public at risk and was only with friends. He says it was on day 13 of the 14-day quarantine.

"He was the first in our department to test positive. So at the beginning of this thing, there was a lot of unknowns and there was a lot of confusion."

Chief Otto Drozed says it's important to follow the CDC guidelines.

"We implement these policies, not only to keep the public safe but to keep our firefighters safe."

The chief says since then, the CDC has changed the quarantine time to 10 days.

Administrators say the firefighter failed to follow the Seminole County pandemic policy and county code.