Topeka Fire Chief Criticized For For Not Recognizing Firefighter

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

Topeka, KS (WIBW)--We showed you Tuesday how Topeka Fire Chief Howard Giles was honored at the city council meeting for being named fire chief of the year by the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs. Now, Giles is being criticized for not recognizing a Topeka firefighter who was given the highest honor for firefighters by that same association.

Chief Giles says it was a simple over sight in not telling the council that Lt. Jim Seichepine had received a top lifesaving honor.

"It didn't occur to me until about 11 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night that I totally overlooked mentioning Lt. Seshpine," Giles said Friday.

But firefighters union president Kent Dederick tells 13 News the incident only creates a larger divide between the chief and his firefighters.

Seichepine was awarded for saving the life of a 4-year-old boy in this house fire on October 19, 2007 in the 1100 block of Plass.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday the chief, with his award in hand spoke about making tough decisions some in which are not always favorable. He was grateful for the recognition,
But then Chief Giles sat down telling 13 News he forgot to mention Seichepine’s award.

"It was one of those things where you mean to do something and the moment catches you and you didn't do it and discover it later. You can’t go back and change it," said Giles.

Seichepine is on a 24-hour work shift at fire station #4 and was not available for comment Friday.


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