.San Jose Fire Department Releases Pink Poodle Incident Report

Report finally drops on San Jose Fire’s strip club field trip

It took nearly seven months to pull together, but San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien Jr.’s long-awaited report on the circumstances surrounding last fall’s video of a strip club dancer stepping out of a fire truck turned out to be about as skimpy as the dancer’s bikini.

Sapien did reveal a few more details of the embarrassing incident, but kept much of it discreetly under wraps.

When the bystander’s video of an emergency services vehicle outside the Pink Poodle strip club went viral on Oct. 6, then-San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was outraged. “If the investigation concludes that this video is as bad as it looks, then heads must roll,” said an indignant Liccardo. “We cannot have a life-critical emergency rescue apparatus relegated to a frat party bus.”

It remains unclear whether any heads in fact rolled. Sapien’s memo to the city manager and city council about the incident simply said “appropriate disciplinary action” was taken against an unknown number of firefighters.

The fire chief’s report did reveal the following:

  • Before giving the dancer a ride, the emergency services vehicle gave “an unauthorized (presumably fully clothed) male” a ride “from a fire station to his place of employment at the Pink Poodle located at 328 S. Bascom Ave.”
  • Once at the entertainment site, the fire crew initially declined a ride-along request from “an unauthorized female” who had “climbed into the cab of the fire engine”—presumably after opening the door herself—but then relented only after she “persisted.”
  • The woman was driven “partially around the block” before returning to the Pink Poodle.
  • The fire crew didn’t return directly to the fire station, but “traveled to an (unnamed) industrial area and stopped at 1111 Auzerais Ave. in the vicinity of AJ’s Restaurant and Bar” where it remained “for approximately two minutes” before returning to the (unidentified) fire station. There was no mention of the reason for the pit stop, or whether any members of the crew left the vehicle.
  • All of these actions violated a long list of city and fire department policies.

“The city has been conservative with information regarding findings from the investigation out of respect for the due process rights of involved personnel,” wrote Sapien.

barry holtzclaw, managing editor sanjoseinside
Barry Holtzclawhttp://sanjoseinside.com/
Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with Weeklys Publishing since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.


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