14 Comments for this article

Tags: , ,


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A top Wilmington firefighter has been placed on unpaid administrative leave after an incident this morning at the scene of a train derailment.

A city spokeswoman says Battalion Chief Jimmy Casteen was on duty at the Love Grove train derailment this morning, but then given a breathalyzer test and driven home. The city is gathering additional information and will meet Monday morning to determine a course of action.

“We take such situations very seriously and will take any needed action as soon as possible,” Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said in a statement. “The safety of our citizens and the credibility of the fire department are of utmost importance and we will act accordingly.”

This is not Casteen’s first alcohol-related issue. In December Wilmington Police arrested him for DWI. At the time, a city spokesman said Casteen was off work using accrued leave, because he could not perform his duties without a valid driver license. Today, a city spokeswoman said Casteen got his license back not long after his arrest and returned to work.

Casteen is due back in court next month on the DWI charge.

Comment on this Story

  • Native Wilmingtonain

    I find it curious that anyone on duty at the fire department did not notice his “condition” prior to his arrival on a scene wher he might have to make critical decisions. Don’t they serve in the station house for 24 hours at a time? There needs to be a lot more detailed explination than “its a personel matter” to cover this one. Others need to be fired,demoted or given serious suspensions without pay for dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming in not preventing this from ever happening.

  • Guest45

    he drove to the scene pretty much the same way the uncw cop drove his patrol car to work and then got busted for being drunk, which broght him a promotion, some things never change.

  • Vog46

    I don’t know how he got to the scene – I’m sure battalion chiefs don’t drive the fire truck but then how did he get to work?
    As for Berger’s DWI – who is his attorney on that?


  • Guest Hal Stevens

    Bat Chiefs do not drive they ride shotgun. He is no doubt a part of the republican good on boy network. He’ll be back on the job in 6 weeks with no loss of pay,unless he takes early retirement.

  • Vog46

    Again? After a DWI?
    I appreciate your service to the city, I really do, but to go to a scene in that condition?
    If policy permits, fire him, or mandatory retirement, If not?
    Mandatory alcohol re-hab for you.
    Random breathalzyer tests with at least one every 3 months.

    Clean up your act man…..


  • Peyton Garrett

    Vog, This a no brainer. the guy gets a DWI and shows up drunk again. At a major deal with pending charges no less. Service to the city has been in a stupor. Saving a pension? I have not a problem unless their is a coverup to save his job Same goes for Berger. When is he going to finish that one? Berger has continued his DWI twice now. Is that enough? What more does anyone need to know? The evidence is in just as this fireman has now succumbed. How did this man drive to the scene? Gets removed and driven Home>>>>>>>>>>

  • 123123

    I know lets not replace his hefty salary and give it all to rank and file firefighters.

  • Good greif

    Sure looks as though there is a problem here. Why wasn’t he demoted after loosing his license? If you can do your job why did they keep him. If he has a problem he needs to get help. Then and only then should he be allowed back and only at a lower rank.

  • Ted in Wilmie

    Is every public servant in this town crooked as a barrel of snakes.

    Every week it’s something!

  • guesty

    Yep, most of the higher up in both WFD & WPD are not only corrupt but also clueless as well as spineless.

  • TriPixMills

    Every week? Seriously?

    We’re nearly past the halfway point of the year, so that would mean that 26 public servants in this town has been proven to be but one of a barrel of snakes. In all seriousness, I am considering moving my business to Wilmington, so I would really like to know the names of the 26 public servants you make reference to. I would like to do some research on this, so please respond to this and provide the 26 names. My business bids on government contracts, and quite honestly, if the public servant pool is as bad as you say it is, I do NOT want to risk the business I’ve built from the ground up to unsavory characters.

    Please advise the names of the 26 public servants you mentioned in your “Ever week it’s something!” comment. Since there have been 26 weeks to this year already, and since as you noted there is something negative involving a public servant every week, I am most anxious to know exactly what is going on in your city before I move my company there. Thank you in advance for helping to open everyone’s eyes.

  • Guest910

    Don’t let a few bad apples ruin your view on all municipal employees & public servants. Unfortunately, public service employees are always guilty until proven innocent. I’m definitely not saying this is the case in the WFD, but anytime a city, county, or state employee does something, they are crucified by the media & public. Let the judges & juries do the judging. Sadly, the media is this country’s own worst enemy, because it’s all about getting ratings & making money. Most people love gossip. It’s also easy to kick somebody when they are down.

  • Guest45

    that is really surprising, maybe he should go to work for he uncw police force, they give you a car to drive and a promotion when you show up to work drunk, and you get to arrest people for doing the same thing you are doing.

  • Al-anon

    …his immediate termination shall suffice. He is in a leadership position with the fire department. His DUI (presumably off-duty) sets a poor example for all his subordinates.

    Now…when you show up to the scene of a major event, obviously under the influence, well…you endanger the public and the fire men and women he supervises. He probably drove a city vehicle to the scene.

    This is grounds for dismissal, regardless of his problem with alcohol. Not only is he aware of the policy, but should be setting the example at all times. He could have self-referred for rehabilitation. Send him to rehab, and after he completes it, dismiss him for cause.

    I participated in a joint exercise with him in the past year…at 10:00 am he had alcohol on his breath. Since I don’t work with the WFD, it wasn’t my place to speculate…but alcohol beverage on the breath means alcohol in the blood system. One beer or glass of wine is not going to do it.

    The sad fact of the matter here, it is pretty obvious to me the behavior has been enabled or ignored by co-workers, peers, and probably senior staff.

    That should scare more folks than one drunk battalion chief. Add the fact he is a native and the good ol’ boy system is on full display.


Related News

Garage fire on 43rd Street. (Photo: Sarah Johnson/WWAY)
5 days ago
0 Comments for this article
No one hurt in Wilmington garage fire
Read More»
2 weeks ago
2 Comments for this article
Firefighters ask for educational incentive pay
Read More»
Wilmington Fire Department on scene of a grease fire at Checkers Drive-In. Photo By: Alexa Block/WWAY
2 weeks ago
0 Comments for this article
UPDATE: Wilmington burger place closed after grease fire
Read More»