Ex-Jackson firefighter appeals firing
By Kathleen Baydala • email@example.com • July 9, 2009
Jackson Fire Chief Vernon Hughes testified this morning before the city's Civil Service Commission that he fired fireman James McCaffrey because of the brutality he exhibited during an attack on his wife in December.
"It is my position as chief that we are held to a higher standard," Hughes said.
McCaffrey was charged in January with felony domestic violence for allegedly beating his wife after an argument at McCaffrey's home on New Years Eve. He was fired from the fire department in March.
According to police and fire investigative reports, McCaffrey had been drinking prior to the argument and admitted to having a drinking problem in the past.
His wife sustained serious injuries and was sexually assaulted. She was subsequently hospitalized.
McCaffrey said he has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
"When I say this got bad, it got down to suicide," he said
McCaffrey said he had been taking an antidepressant medication (Lexapro) for about a month at the time of the attack.
McCaffrey said he does not recall the incident.
"I find it hard to believe an individual doesn't remember an occurrence of such violence, the amount of blood that was there," Hughes said.
McCaffrey maintains he has a good work history with the fire department.
McCaffrey does not deny beating his wife and said he has sought counseling.
"I knew something was wrong because I had done something to my wife," he said.
The city contends McCaffrey never alerted his supervisors that he was experiencing trouble.
Further employment with JFD will continue to expose McCaffrey to additional stress and therefore termination was in the city's "best interest," deputy city attorney Lara Gill said.
To comment on this story, call Kathleen Joyner at (601) 961-7262.