Hallandale Beach Lifeguard Tomas Lopez Fired for Leaving Assigned Area to Save Swimmer UPDATED
Update, 2:25 p.m.: Lopez was reportedly offered his job back. He declined, adding what looks to be a conclusion on the biggest life guard PR meltdown we can remember.
Original post, 11 a.m.:
Hallandale Beach lifeguard Tomas Lopez ran 1,500 feet outside of his assigned area to help save a drowning victim on Monday -- the semiconscious man had been pulled from the surf in an area marked "swim at your own risk," and Lopez and an off-duty nurse attended to him until paramedics arrived.
Lopez, because he left his post, was fired by Orlando-based Jeff Ellis and Associates, the private company that's provided Hallandale Beach lifeguard services since 2003, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
"We have liability issues and can't go out of the protected area," supervisor Susan Ellis told the paper. "What he did was his own decision. He knew the company rules and did what he thought he needed to do."
Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TicketsSun., Nov. 19, 1:00pm
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
TicketsSun., Nov. 19, 5:00pm
Florida Panthers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
TicketsWed., Nov. 22, 7:00pm
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
TicketsWed., Nov. 22, 7:30pm
Florida Panthers vs Chicago Blackhawks
TicketsSat., Nov. 25, 7:00pm
"They didn't tell me in a bad way," Lopez said. "It was more like they were sorry, but rules are rules."
As for the company, it looks like it's taken down its Facebook page. It's also not clear how many beaches it's servicing -- its lifeguard training calendar doesn't have a single ocean session scheduled for the year.
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Find out about upcoming events and special offers happening in South Florida.