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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.


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  • 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.

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