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Support for Jacksonville firefighters in racy pics

9:26 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Florida - An internal investigation was launched after local firefighters suited up in their uniforms, partially, for a strip tease at a local bar. But some say the reason the firefighters were there in the first place has been overlooked.

Now, many are sounding off in support of the firefighters and the cause they were raising money for.

On Wednesday, First Coast News took to the streets to gauge public opinion. We showed photos of Lt. Jenny Kabisch. She was photographed topless except for the suspenders covering her breasts.

Others were decked out in firefighter gear and shown in racy positions. The images were snapped last week at Whisky River bar and restaurant on the Southside of Jacksonville during a fundraiser for a fallen firefighter.

Katherine Ethridge says, "I think it's a lot of to-do for nothing."

Kate Augustus says, "If they think that's appropriate...I wouldn't do it, but if they want to, go for it."

Despite that feeling from several people, Tom Francis, a spokesperson with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, says they've started an internal investigation.

"No one can represent the JFRD in or out of uniform at a public or social gathering without the permission of the director/fire chief," he said.

He's says they are still trying to identify who's in the photos and they're interviewing people who were there, like Chief Mike Allen, who was pictured in his street clothes. It's not clear if he was there when firefighters started to strip.

Francis says participation in this charity event was not affiliated or sanctioned by the department.

This isn't the first time a fundraiser has been held for fallen firefighter Jason Bishop. An event at the Jacksonville Landing was held last month on his behalf after he was killed in a freak accident while cutting down a tree back in June.

Fire & Iron Firefighter's Motorcycle Club held the fundraiser at the Landing, which was not affiliated in any way with the event in question. The club released this statement: "We don't believe that any of the JFRD firefighters went to this event to 'officially' represent JFRD. There has been a huge show of support from the public for the firefighters involved, and believe everyone needs to look at the greater good when it comes to this event."

Union President Randy Wyse says the "First Responders' Appreciation Night" fundraiser was for a good cause -- to pay for the education of Bishop's three children.

Tammie Fields, 10 News

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