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Firefighter on leave pending porn inquiry

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 29, 2001

ST. PETE BEACH -- A St. Pete Beach firefighter has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into whether child pornography was accessed on Fire Department computers.

The firefighter, Lt. Crist Fellman, a 20-year veteran of the department, was placed on leave after a television station reported his name last week.

Fire Chief Fred Golliner will not say whether Fellman is the firefighter under investigation, only that he placed Fellman on leave after his name was reported publicly.

Vice Mayor John Phillips said working on fire calls would have been difficult for Fellman if residents recognized him from newscasts.

"When they put his picture out and his name, (Golliner) felt it was only fair to Crist," Phillips said.

Fellman, 40, was named Florida's Emergency Medical Technician of the Year in 1997. He was awarded the honor partly because of a drowning safety program he helped organize. He also helped train hundreds of people in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

St. Pete Beach police confiscated two computers two weeks ago after Golliner reported to police that Fire Department computers might have been used to access child pornography.

The investigation is continuing, with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement analyzing the computers and local police investigating firefighters.

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