Four Maywood Firefighters Sent Home Over Refusal To Remove American Flags From Helmets

The Department is currently guided by the leadership of Chief Craig Bronaugh.

The Department is currently guided by the leadership of Chief Craig Bronaugh.

WGN Updated 9:00 P.M. News Coverage Below

(CBS) —

“Four Maywood firefighters were sent home Tuesday, pending discipline, for refusing to remove American flag decals from their helmets.

The four refused to comply with an order issued last week by Chief Craig Bronaugh to remove all stickers from their helmets and lockers. The four drew the line when it came to the flag decals.

A representative from Service EmployeesInternational Union Local 73, which represents the firefighters, met for an hour with Chief Bronaugh Tuesday afternoon, with the union hoping Chief Bronaugh would modify his order. Instead, he ordered the four sent home immediately, pending disciplinary action.

Union spokesman Adam Rosen said he is “shocked” that an agency of first responders would enforce such an order the week of September 11.

Maywood has had no such order in the recent past. One of the four firefighters, Dave Flowers Jr., inherited his locked from his father when his father retired from the Maywood Fire Department and has stickers dating back several decades that Rosen calls “irreplaceable.”

WBBM has reached out to Cheif Bronaugh, leaving messages asking him for comment.”


  1. Why is it a, problem with the guy’s wearing the American flag decals on there helmets?

  2. Is this idiot another one of those afraid to offend somebody? These are American flags idiot!
    Maybe you should not be the Chief!

  3. Ever so slowly stripping everything America represents! Even so much so that NOW guys can’t wear an American sticker on their helmet?!? What next?!? The Cheif needs to grow a set and tell his puppet master that his guys are wearing the flag of a country they have sworn to protect and serve and if said puppet master doesn’t like it I say buy him a one way ticket overseas!!

  4. I think there should be a peaceful protest of as many people as possible waving flags in front of the firehouse until that moron gets fired and those four fireman get back to work. This is just not right ..I’m tired of this kind of crap. If people are offended by our country’s flag than go back to wherever the hell you came from. Time we put a stop this bullshit!!!

  5. Must be a Obama supporter. Sorry but the American flag has been on firehelmets for years. If the flag offends him then he needs to stepdown or get fired from being chief. What is next remove the flag from the fire halls and trucks. What an ass.

    • I agree 100%, your right he must be an Obama supporter!!!! they should fire him, not make him step down. This is America the flag is our symbol of freedom.

    • I Agree too because if he was a Republican then he wouldn’t be trying to get them to remove the flag but instead trying to dismantle the entire Union

  6. No one wearing Chiefs bugles would pass this down to his/her crews. They would have handled it at the executive level, period.
    An old first sergeant of mine once reminded me that “you have but one flag to fly, choose your hilltop wisely and prepared to die defending it.”
    This would have been my hilltop to defend. Ranger up Chief.

  7. Jessica from Michigan

    Wait….does this mean that every other fireman DID remove the flag decal and only 4 declined?! I find THAT far more disturbing…..

  8. The order wasn’t for the American Flag decals to be taken down, it was for all stickers on helmets and lockers to be taken down. Thats way different. Although an exception should have been made for the American flag. I will point out that every firefighters station gear already has an American Flag patch directly on it. I find it disturbing that a correlation between this and being an Obama supporter is even made. We have a long way to go in this country smh. They were sent home because they disobeyed a direct order from the Chief, not because they were patriotic. Being a full time paid firefighter myself, a similar order was issued because many a firefighter had very inappropriate postings on their lockers that were deemed offensive. The fire house is open to the public, so it was needed.

  9. I am a 35+ years Volunteer Firefighter, back in 1977 and we lost four great men in a Forest fire, one of them was my Father. I’ll put this in the nicest way I can.
    Chief Craig Bronaugh you are acting like a small domesticated member of the horse family! Do right by your Members

  10. From a full time paid professional firefighter in one of the 10 largest cities in the USA:
    NFPA 1971 sets high standards for the performance of firefighting gear including helmets. ANY item affixed to the helmet alters the helmet as it was tested. Once altered the wearer has “protective” gear which has not been tested in its altered state. ALL responsible fire departments have given directives that ALL helmets be free of ALL alterations including but not limited to untested stickers, decals, flashlights and flashlight brackets, cameras, etc., etc. It is not a question of patriotism. It is a question of following a safety standard and, finally, following the orders of a supervisor. Any high risk occupation must ensure compliance with orders. No fire department or military organization operates safely if employees do not obey orders which they may or may not understand. IMHO they should obey orders first. Ask questions or see a union lawyer later.

    Concerning removing all stickers from lockers; MANY locker “decorations” are inappropriate. Rather than survey every item outlawing them all is very clear, concise and easy to enforce. This is a job. We are paid to work. We are not paid to “express ourselves”. Don’t like it? Quit. Maybe you can find a job which allows you to wear whatever you want like Dell, IBM, McDonalds… No…they all have dress codes of various sorts. Maybe move to a hippie commune. We can smoke some weed together and bash “the man” after I retire. For now I’ll do what I’m told: save lives, fight fire, protect property and will wear my uniform and personal protective equipment as directed.

    • I too am a professional firefighter…although CLP makes a very detailed and lawyer like case…I think common sense has been kicked to the side a bit. A “tested” American flag sticker? Really? If a sticker on your helmet causes failure of your gear, you have bigger problems.
      If a Chief wants clean, uniform helmets and wants to tow the company line straight as an arrow and follow every NFPA guideline, it’s his or her choice. However, if they are going to get this detailed…they should also have American flag stickers approved by NFPA 1971 all lined up for the line to affix to their helmets. An American sticker on an American firefighters helmet is a healthy tradition…and during our 13th Anniversary of 9/11…you can’t expect a lot of compliance on this ridiculous of a demand.
      343~Never Forget

      • Yes, tested. Will the stickers burn, melt or drip when exposed to extreme heat? First do no harm also applies to our own. In your years as a firefighter have you not seen neck injuries from melting or dropping/dripping debris? Would you want your FFs distracted by a decal burning on their buddy’s helmet? In 28 years as a professional FF, driver and officer as well as time as a volunteer assistant chief I’ve seen and supported some unpopular ideas. One was disallowing Under Armour type t-shirts under firefighting gear. The shirts had not been tested for melting. The concern was that melted material might further complicate burn injuries. This is common sense combined with knowledge which may not be common. It is okay to trust that this chief may have the best interests of his firefighters in mind.
        Concerning the other issue mentioned, harmony among crew members, the last place we want resentment is on the fireground.
        All of the above is expressed with the highest respect for all public servants. I’m awaiting the start of a second 9/11 event, then will deliver to a firefighter with cancer (another occupational hazard), will participate in another memorial this weekend and have “represented” at FDNY and other FD funerals. I know that there is no decal or sticker worth any risk to health or life.

        Always Remember

    • Thank you C L P for making sense of this. I agree. A job it a job. Express yourself at home.

  11. Badge heavy Chief!

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