On Monday Tomas Lopez was fired from his duties as a lifeguard for going outside of the authorized waters to save a life. His job is saving people from drowning, but apparently if it is outside of the designated zone,you must watch someone die or hope someone else is there to save the person. Because your job is on the line IF you do your job.
"I knew I broke the rules," said Lopez, who ran past the buoy marking the boundary of his patrol zone to help the man. "I told the manager, I'm fired aren't I?"
Lopez said he jumped into the water and "I double underhooked him...I was worried about the guy and his health. He was blue."
Now 6 of his co-workers are also out of a job for agreeing with his instincts to save someone's life. The human instinct is to help one another, but people now must stop and think about the consequences of helping their fellow man. These particular lifeguards thought the decision was pretty clear about saving someone from drowning. Some of the lifeguards are pretty young, 16, 19 and 21 and their moral compass seems like it was still intact.
A spokesman for Jeff Ellis and Associates, the aquatic safety contractor that fired Lopez, said in a statement that "We have liability issues and can't go out of the protected area."
"Usually when the municipalities hire someone to [lifeguard], those organizations are not only taking on the responsibility of the job, but a lot of the liability," said Tom Gill, a spokesman for the United States Lifesaving Association. But, he added, "It seems unfortunate that a guard would do what he's trained to do and be fired for it.
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City administrators declined to comment Tuesday, indicating that the firing was a personnel decision made by a private company.The mans identity has not been released and he is still in intensive care.
City Mayor Joy Cooper was out of town and could not be reached for comment. Commissioners Keith London and Alexander Lewy each said Tuesday they had not heard of the incident.
Hallandale Beach began outsourcing its lifeguards in 2003 as a money-saving measure. The city pays the company about $334,000 annually to provide four lifeguards and one supervisor at the beach year-round, said Dobens. The company also provides lifeguard services at the city's pools as part of the contract.
The company's contract expires this year.
The lifeguard Tomas Lopez has been offered his job back.
(CNN) -- The south Florida lifeguard fired for disregarding a protected area so he could save a swimmer outside that zone said Thursday he has been offered his job back.
But Tomas Lopez told CNN he does not plan to return to work.
The 21-year-old said his phone has been ringing off the hook with journalists trying to get his side of the story. He is set to make an appearance on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" Thursday night.
"The reason I was fired is just ridiculous," Lopez told CNN late Wednesday. "It is a ridiculous rule, really. What was I supposed to do? Just let the guy drown?"
The identified man is in Aventura hospital, in good condition.