Firefighter drives trucks for 20 years without licence

A firefighter in Japan lost his job after city officials found out he had been driving ambulances and fire trucks for over 20 years without a driver’s licence, an official in Takaoka City, central Japan, said on Tuesday.

The case came to light when the firefighter, in his 40s and who had been working for the city for over 25 years, hesitated to show his driver’s licence during a regular inspection last week, said Shigeru Sawasaki, a Takaoka City official.

“He was acting awkward when the inspection took place,” Sawasaki said. “And when the inspector took the driver’s licence and checked, it belonged to a family member.”

The firefighter, whose name the city declined to announce due to privacy concerns, had been bringing in his father’s licence and showing it to the inspector while hiding the photo with his fingers, Sawasaki said.

The monthly inspection of driver’s licences started last year and before that, the firefighter had filed a fake licence registration number to Takaoka City in 1981, Sawasaki added.

Between April 2003 and June 2008, the firefighter, who told city officials he had gone to a driving school but failed the writing exam, drove ambulances 309 times and fire trucks 97 times, Sawasaki said.

“In terms of his driving, he has not been in any accidents whatsoever,” Sawasaki said, adding that there had been no problem with his work attitude either.

“This is a misconduct where no excuses can be made to the citizens. We are sorry to fail the citizens’ expectations,” Keiichiro Tachibana, the mayor of Takaoka City, was quoted by Sawasaki as saying.

The firefighter appeared at the police station after he was fired and is now being questioned by the police, Sawasaki said.—Reuters

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