Spanish fire chief dismissed for using departmental truck to fill his pool

Ex-department head in Ronda, Málaga, says vehicle was leaking and needed to be emptied

A fire chief allegedly used one of his trucks to fill his swimming pool.
A fire chief allegedly used one of his trucks to fill his swimming pool.

The head of the fire department in Ronda, Málaga province, has been dismissed from his post for allegedly using water from a departmental tank truck to fill his swimming pool. The Andalusian regional government’s fire authority is bringing disciplinary proceedings against Juan Pimentel, who has been with the department for 30 years.

The Andalusian authorities said they acted following an anonymous tip-off. “The same day we received the letter, we also heard rumors that Pimentel was using water from a fire truck to fill his pool,” said Manuel Marmolejo, head of the Málaga provincial fire department.

An investigation showed that Pimentel had used a tank truck with a capacity of 8,000 liters on more than five occasions over a period of a few days to fill his pool. “We acted swiftly and decisively in the face of very serious acts,” said Marmolejo.

Pimentel said the tank truck had been leaking and that it had been necessary to empty it in order to repair the crack. He said he had used his own swimming pool to store the water, but denied doing so more than once.

“I made a mistake and will have to pay for it, but this isn’t that serious a matter,” he explained. “I didn’t steal a truck or take any money. There was no malicious intention. The truck was leaking and I just used water that would have been wasted anyway.”

An investigation showed Pimentel had used an 8,000-liter-capacity tank truck on more than five occasions to fill his pool

“I am being hung out to dry for this, and discredited after a lifetime of service that is beyond reproach.”

Marmolejo has replied that if Pimentel was concerned about a leak in a tank truck, he should have asked permission to empty it, which would have been done into a municipal storage tank or gulley.

“He wasn’t authorized to make that decision, and much less to decide to use the water in his swimming pool,” he said, pointing out that Pimentel would now be transferred to another town to cover a firefighter on leave of absence. Following his demotion, the regional fire authority said it was looking for “somebody with the right profile.”