Firefighter Placed on Leave for Allegedly Using COVID Vaccine Mandate as Toilet Paper

A firefighter in Los Angeles was placed on leave after being accused earlier this month of using a vaccination requirement letter as a makeshift piece of toilet paper, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The alleged incident was reported by the Stentorians of Los Angeles City in a letter addressed to the Board of Fire Commissioners and city officials in Los Angeles, the paper reported.

The Stentorians, a group that said on its website it represents more than 300 Black firefighters and paramedics in the area, alleged within the letter that the firefighter rubbed a piece of paper notifying him of the city's vaccine requirement against his buttocks and let the paper fall to the ground. Fecal matter was left on the paper as a result, the Stentorians alleged, according to the Times.

Los Angeles firefighter vaccine mandate
A firefighter in Los Angeles has been accused of using a vaccination mandate notification as a makeshift piece of toilet paper, local media outlets reported this week. Above, a firefighter paramedic prepares a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination dose at a Los Angeles Fire Department fire station on January 29 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The firefighter's name was not publicly reported, but the individual was at Pacific Palisades' Fire Station 69 with a Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) captain and at least one other fire official at the time of the alleged mid-November incident, the paper reported.

The LAFD told the Times officials are investigating the allegations and have in the meantime placed the firefighter on paid administrative leave.

"The department is aware of the seriousness of the allegations and took immediate action upon learning of this incident," LAFD spokesperson Cheryl Getuiza told the Times.

The Stentorians said in a statement shared with the Times that they were asking city officials and the Board of Fire Commissioners "to take swift and immediate action to deter any city employee from feeling entitled and not encouraged but empowered to behave in such an embarrassing and threatening manner."

The president of the Board of Fire Commissioners said they were "beyond appalled" by the allegations and indicated support for "strong corrective action" in a statement shared with the Times.

Newsweek reached out to the LAFD for comment.

Los Angeles city employees are required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and have until December 18 to do so. Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters last month that city employees who do not meet the mid-December deadline to get their shot or who have not received approval for a vaccine exemption by that time "should be prepared to lose their job."

An estimated 77 percent of all city employees in Los Angeles were vaccinated by mid-November, according to city data reviewed by the Los Angeles-based news station KNBC. A union representing Los Angeles firefighters filed a lawsuit against the city over the vaccine requirement earlier this month, and a similar lawsuit filed by a nonprofit representing Los Angeles County firefighters was also filed in objection to the vaccine requirement, according to the local station KCAL-TV.