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WFD battalion chief resigns after suspicion of alcohol at train derailment

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington Fire Department battalion chief has resigned after he was given a breathalyzer test after showing up to the scene of a train derailment Friday.

WFD has suspended Jimmy Casteen without pay after the incident and began an internal investigation. The city says Casteen resigned Friday before that investigation was complete.

Casteen joined the fire department July 23, 1987.

"It is unfortunate that the events surrounding Battalion Chief Casteen, while handled swiftly and in strict accordance with city policy, has taken the focus off of what was a very professionally managed emergency," Wilmington Fire Chief Buddy Martinette said in a statement. "That said, the confidence the public places in our personnel to respond and mitigate these types of incidents can never be compromised. While this was a regrettable situation, I am very proud of how our personnel handled both aspects of this incident."

According to a news release, Casteen arrived for his shift at WFD headquarters at 7 a.m., then rode to the scene of the derailment with other firefighters, where he took over as incident commander at about 7:15 a.m.

WFD says that when Deputy Chief Steve Mason arrived at the scene of the derailment in the Love Grove community around 9:30 a.m., he was told Casteen was under what city policy calls "a reasonable suspicion of alcohol." Following city policy, Mason immediately took Casteen for a breathalyzer test.

The city says it cannot release the results of the rest, because they are considered medical records. The city did say, though, that there is no criminal investigation underway and no charges have been filed.

Wilmington Police arrested Casteen for DWI in December. He's due back in court later this month on that charge.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Should be fired

They should have never let him resign. They should have fired him on the spot. He put himself and other in danger.

Another great job by the City of Wilmington.

An ill-considered comment.

An ill-considered comment. Contempt prior to investigation is ALWAYS a bad idea. Good job city leaders!!! God speed Chief.

Get help, please

After 20 years of honorable service with no problems, there has to be something else going on to cause this downward spiral. I've seen it happen to Fire, EMS and LEO folks before. Resigning was the right thing to do. Now please get some help to battle these issues. You are not alone. There are others who have been there, too. Prayers.

Chief

Warms my heart to see another hero go down to some craptola.

Bet 90% of Wilmington residents can tell me the last 5 American Idol winners but couldn't name one FDNY firemen that died on 9/11.

Better yet, I bet over 85% of the WFD could answer that same question with similar results.

And Chief Casteen is the bad guy?

Please. The entire penisula of New Hanover County needs to be flushed into the proverbial kamode.

Fraternal Order of Leatherheads had it right the first time...F*$! the mutts, protect the brothers.

"F*$! the mutts, protect the brothers" ?

So you're saying "Right and wrong doesn't matter, don't care about anything or anyone other than other firefighters"? Sounds like a good reason for the rest of us "mutts" to not care about you.

FYI: Don't watch American Idol and still don't know the name of ANY fireman from ANY other city. That doesn't mean I'm unaware of their selfless contributions. I highly doubt that those brave firefighters that died on 9/11 would be comfortable with your "F*$! the mutts" philosophy. That goes against everything they stood for.

Your selfish little diatribe truly dishonors the name of all firefighters who've fallen while serving their various communities. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Chief

Right. The last tour of duty you worked was when?

Have past never?

Keeping it real

Last 5 Idol winners? Haven't a clue. Name of any FDNY member? Same answer. So what, we live in Wilmington.

Casteen a bad guy? Probably not; just a guy with a problem he's not able to cope with right now. That's a personal responsibility issue.

Protect the brothers? Not at the cost of protecting others. That's what the job is all about.

Your attitude is bass ackwards. All about you and yours and the rest of us can just go to hell. Don't give a crap about anyone other than your own regardless of the reason? No reason for the rest of us to care about you. Flush yourself down your own crapper.

Just keeping it real.

Chief

And the last tour of duty you worked was when?? Never?

So you really don't know what the job is all about.

Just keeping it real.

Do you feel big now?

Do you feel big now?

Chief

No. Just pointing out how screwed up priorities are in Wilmington and New Hanover County.

So, the next speeding ticket a "civilian" gets they should be terminated from their job and lose their pension, right?

That's equality. Good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Washout

Sounds like you were a wannabe that washed out of the program.

Chief

Retired, 19th Battalion, 33 Ladder/75 Engine,"The Animal House" Bronx Borough

Oh boy...........

At one point in my life I supplemented my income by tending bar and saw, first hand, what alcohol did/does to people. I do call it the demon drink because it is something that is addictive and causes way too much pain to people.

Jimmy Casteen? You served the city for a long time in a job that is thankless yet heroic. In spite of your failing to the "demon drink" I applaud your service to us. Your years of experience will be hard to replace.
Please, as a fellow man, a fellow human (and a former bartender) - get some help. Get away from the bottle and stop this insidious attack on your spirit.
Even if you never fight another fire again - getting away from alcohol addiction will make you a better person.......

R/S

Vog

Best of luck to Mr. Casteen

I, too, hope this man gets the help he needs. I would love to see people fight alcohol like they have smoking. Drinking has an immediate effect on the drinker and those around them. Wonderful comment, Vog.

good call

Got to give it to the City, they moved quickly on this whole issue and resigning was a smart move for. Hope you get some help Mr.Casteen.