6:31 am in Uncategorized by BigFurHat
miami herald — A South Florida lifeguard who rushed to save a drowning man has been fired for leaving the section of the beach his company is paid to patrol.
The Orlando-based company, Jeff Ellis and Associates, says Tomas Lopez broke a company rule and could have put beachgoers in his section of Hallandale Beach in jeopardy.
“We have liability issues and can’t go out of the protected area,” supervisor Susan Ellis told the Sun Sentinel (http://sunsent.nl/R71CCy). “What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do.”
A beachgoer rushed to Lopez’s stand Monday afternoon asking for help. Lopez said he saw a man struggling in the water south of his post and ran to his aid.
The man had been swimming along an unprotected stretch of beach, Hallandale Beach officials said Tuesday.
“It was a long run, but someone needed my help. I wasn’t going to say no,” said Lopez, 21, of Davie.
By the time Lopez arrived, several witnesses had pulled the drowning man out of the water. Lopez said the man appeared to be semi-conscious and had water in his lungs.
Lopez and an off-duty nurse helped the man until the city’s paramedics arrived.
After the rescue, Lopez said his boss asked him to fill out an incident report and then fired him for leaving his assigned area.