Firefighter acts disgracefully

Chicago firefighter Raymond Caballero knew the meaning of “love thy neighbor.” Last June, Caballero ran into the burning home of his next-door neighbor, 84-year-old Vivian Syversen, and saved her life.

Last week, she died. Now Caballero is launching a lawsuit against the estate of his dead neighbor. It’s a sad reflection of these times.

For a year, Caballero received accolades of heroism from his peers and the community. When he entered the fire, he was off-duty and didn’t have protective clothing. As a result, he sustained second- and third-degree burns.

Caballero should lick his wounds, withdraw his lawsuit and hang his head in shame. What he’s trying to pull is embarrassing to Chicago’s fire department and to firefighters everywhere.

Whether he was on-duty or off-duty, Caballero made the decision to run in the blaze and save Syversen. No one made him do it. At the time, it was something that he felt obligated to do.

Caballero’s suit claims the fire began because of Syversen’s carelessness. He further alleges that she should have been more careful “so as to avoid placing herself in a dangerous situation which invited rescue.”

Can anyone be charged with this responsibility? What’s the use of having emergency medical services if people can be sued for not being careful if they need to be rescued?

If Caballero wins his case, it sets a dangerous precedent for fire and police services. Does injury in the line of duty mean the injured can sue the cause of the emergency response?

The answer is no.