Reginald K. Duren

FIRE CHIEF REGINALD DUREN REFUSES COMMENT ON FIRE TRUCK CRASH

Florida News Palm Beach County

Fire Rescue Provides No Information Until BocaNewsNow.com Threatens Legal Action.

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Continues Silence On Flipped Truck That Injured Firefighters, Costs Taxpayers $300,000. Why Is Chief Duren Silent?

See What Police Wrote…

Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Administrator, Chief Reginald Duren. He is refusing to comment on a crash that totaled a $300,000 fire truck and injured several of his employees.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Administrator Reginald K. Duren, who also holds the rank of “Chief,” is refusing to address the crash that totaled a $300,000 self-insured fire truck and injured several of his employees.

Nearly a month after the crash, Chief Duren continues to ignore multiple comment requests made by BocaNewsNow.com. His silence is apparently part of a department-wide lockdown on information relating to the high-profile wreck. After a month of requests made to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Spokeswoman Tara Cardoso, it wasn’t until BocaNewsNow.com threatened legal action that she handed off our request to the Palm Beach County public records office. Involving a public records office for general media questions is rare. Waiting a month to do so violates Florida public records statutes.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office crash report shows that Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Driver Samuel Navarette “Ran Red Light.” It is listed as the first, or primary, cause of the crash on October 23rd at Powerline and Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton.

Chief Duren’s silence is odd for a department that largely enjoys public praise for its hard-working rescuers who truly save lives every day. Our daily “Sirens” report shows just how busy Palm Beach County Fire Rescue workers are. Refusing to comment on a crash involving its own people and apparatus casts a dark shadow on the department’s command staff that routinely promotes rescue work at accident scenes across Palm Beach County.

The October 23rd crash occurred while rescuers from Station 55 — based on Palmetto Circle in Boca Raton — rushed to a nearby incident. At the intersection of Powerline and Palmetto Park Road, the huge truck entered the intersection without paying attention to a white pickup truck approaching from the left. That pickup slammed into the rear side of the fire truck, near the tire. The fire truck rolled to its side. Several rescuers on board needed emergency help themselves. None were critically injured.

Flipped Fire Truck
The fire truck rollover at Palmetto Park Road and Powerline Rd. on October 23, 2021. (Courtesy Erin Youngwirth).

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office investigators determined that Samuel Navarette, the Palm Beach County Fire Truck driver, ran the red light. While emergency responders have the legal authority to drive through red lights when responding to an emergency call, they are required to slow or stop if traffic isn’t cooperating. Other rescuers on the truck are responsible for informing the truck driver if cars are approaching the vehicle’s side. It was unclear if those on the truck saw — or reported — the oncoming white pickup truck. A police report reviewed by BocaNewsNow.com states that at least one of the responders was putting on his gear at the time of the wreck, and paying no attention to vehicles approaching the fire truck.

While Navarette’s red-light running was listed as the main cause of the crash, he was not ticketed by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The driver of the white pickup, whose failure to yield was listed as a contributing factor to the crash, was also not cited. It is rare for no citations to be issued in a multi-vehicle crash.

Why Chief Duren is refusing to discuss the crash is unclear. The crash raises questions about training, response, and general conduct of his employees.

Samuel Navarette, the Fire Truck driver, was placed on administrative leave following the wreck. He subsequently returned to work. BocaNewsNow.com has learned that Palm Beach County Fire Rescue utilizes a point system for employees involved in crashes, with eight points being levied for critical crashes — a point level that leads to driving suspension. It’s unclear how many points Navarette was assigned.

Palm Beach County self-insures its vehicles, meaning taxpayers are on the hook for the fire truck PBSO valued at $300,000 in its accident report. Records obtained by BocaNewsNow.com show the truck was purchased in 2007 for $363,371.

 

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