Author: Marie

Ellsworth Fortman, 43, of San Diego, died at a San Diego hospital

Ellsworth Fortman, 43, of San Diego, died at a San Diego hospital

Ellsworth Fortman crash: A timeline of how the LAFD official dodged discipline

Monday, January 22, 2014 – 10:05 am

Guest columnist

Ellsworth Fortman

Ellsworth Fortman, a firefighter and career officer who had no prior history of misconduct, died Saturday night at the age of 43 at a San Diego hospital.

Fortman had been a member of the San Diego Fire Department since March 2000, and when he wasn’t on duty he was working his way toward becoming a certified firefighter.

Since June he had not been a member of the LAFD.

He was assigned to a fire station in Ocean Beach where he was an administrator and a supervisor.

A little more than two weeks ago LAFD officials told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Fortman had completed his employment and training requirements, and was now on duty in uniform.

Fortman’s attorney, Richard Hirsch, said Sunday that his client was “a wonderful man” who had no clue “that he was getting ready to become a disciplinary problem.”

“There’s no reason for him (to) be a disciplinary problem,” he said. “He was doing what he’s supposed to be doing.”

The Union-Tribune’s Tom Stumpf wrote that LAFD has a policy that requires employees, like Fortman, to complete three years of service before becoming a firefighter.

“The rule doesn’t apply to department members,” said LAFD Public Affairs Officer Andy Jordan. “Firefighters go through the process for obtaining their credentials.”

While there are rules for LAFD members, Jordan said, Fortman had violated “a few policies” before completing his two-year test.

“There’s not one policy that we can’t discipline him for,” Jordan said. “We have rules, we have policies.”

Fortman had been assigned to the LAFD’s Redwood City station in Redwood City, where he worked as an assistant chief administrative officer and supervisor. He was reassigned as the chief administrative officer of the LAFD’s Rancho Peñasquitos station and was assigned to its fire station in Escondido.


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