Detroit Firefighter Fired Over Watermelon

Oct 9, 2017

A Detroit firefighter began his first day of work at the fire station by bringing a welcome gift and was then fired. Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty said that the welcome gifts are “a tradition” at the fire house. “It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary. You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.” Robert Pattison was a probationary firefighter. He brought a “watermelon with a pink bow on top.” The act immediately offended several of the black firefighters. Some called the watermelon “racially insensitive.” 90 percent of Engine 55’s firefighters are black. Pattison said that he had no intention of offending his fellow firefighters. After an investigation, “it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee,” said Fire Commissioner Eric Jones.