Lifeguard fired after helping save drowning man
(AP) – Lifeguard Tomas Lopez helped save a drowning man and got fired for it. The reason: He left the section of a south Florida beach his company is paid to patrol. The Orlando-based company, Jeff Ellis and Associates, says Lopez broke a company rule and could have put beachgoers in his section in jeopardy.
The Sun Sentinel reported Lopez was on duty Monday at Hallandale Beach when a beachgoer asked for help. Lopez said he ran to assist a man struggling in the water south of his post. By the time Lopez arrived, witnesses had pulled the drowning man out of the water. Lopez and an off-duty nurse helped him until paramedics arrived. The victim survived and was hospitalized.
Afterward, Lopez was fired. Two other lifeguards have quit in protest.
The lifeguard has been offered his job back, but he says no thanks.
Jeff Ellis, head of a company that provides lifeguards at Hallandale Beach, said Thursday Lopez should never have been fired. But Lopez says he’s not interested in taking the job back.