Epping, NH Firefighters Worried People Won’t Call After Court Ruling

EPPING, NH (CBS) – Firefighters in Epping, New Hampshire are working to deliver an unusual message: If you need help, please call.

It seems you wouldn’t think twice about calling the fire department if you had an emergency, but because of a strange court case, some people worry that calling for help will cost them.

Kristen Crenshaw never imagined that after calling 911 for a house fire, she and her mom would face a lawsuit, but that’s exactly what’s happened when volunteer firefighter Jason Antosz was injured on their icy driveway.

Antosz was walking down the driveway when he fell and seriously hurt his leg. Firefighters from the department tell WBZ the driveway was covered with fresh snow that night.

At first his lawsuit was thrown out, but now the New Hampshire Supreme Court says emergency responders do have the right to sue for negligence.

“It’s not one of the things you think of when you call 911 to make sure everything’s in place where it should be,” says Kristen Crenshaw. “911 is an emergency line and it was a genuine emergency.”

This decision opens the door for other lawsuits against homeowners. Epping’s fire chief worries it will make other people hesitate to call for help.

“In no way do we want that person to have that thought, ‘gee I shouldn’t call the fire department because I might get sued’ that’s crazy,” says Chief Don DeAngelis.

But Antosz doesn’t think his suit will stop people from calling 911.

“It’s about protecting volunteer firefighters,” says Antosz. “I understand we’re out there to protect the citizens, but why do we have to be treated like second class citizens because we threw on some fire gear?”

Whether he’s right will be decided in court.

  • 1stackmack

    a fire department shouldn’t have to advertise because 1 firefighter forgot his boot ice spikes.when that case was thrown out,that should have been the end of it.

  • F

    Can the homeowner then at least sure the firefighter for causing water damage ?

    My God, this ruling is right up there with the lady who microwaved her cat and the person who burned their tongue on hot coffee

  • robd

    5 bucks says in the next 20 years, we will see someone sue themself.

    Just because it makes it to court doesn’t mean it will hold up.

    Rights for Volunteer firefighters…how? A firefighter wouldn’t sue a homeowner because you LIVE IN NEW ENGLAND AND SHOULD KNOW TO WATCH FOR ICE. (a), and (b) because you put yourself in the line of duty.

    You do not deserve to call yourself a firefighter after this.

  • metoo

    Is it neglegligence if a homeowner doesn’t salt, sand and shovel the driveway while his home is on fire? What if the fire truck was in an accident on slippery roads while responding? Whose negligence would it be then? The homeowner who called, or the town who was supposed to plow? This whole concept is NUTS. Fire departments should have insurance to cover the firefighters if they get hurt anyway.

  • dawnmarie

    you self centered arrogant jerk!!..those ppl called 911 for an EMERGENCY..dont u think salting the driveway was furthest from mind? and if there was ice..how do they kno it wasnt from the water used to fight the fire? that freezes too!..is that what u put the suit on for? to find a trick? what if citizens can sue you for ..oh i dunno maybe crackin a rib when ur carryin them down the ladder from a fire..or maube smoke inhalation cuz u didnt respond fast enuf..do u see what ur settin it up for? WE DONT NEED UR TYPE IN A CIVIL JOB..UR NOT CIVIL

  • firemanmark

    Maybe it’s time for the taxpayers to fund a full-time paid department.Either that or mandate sprinkler systems in towns without paid firefighters.A third option would be a subscription service where you pay a yearly fee for fire protection.If you don’t pay they don’t put out the fire.That concept goes back to the days of Benjamin Franklin.Risking yourself as a volunteer in this day and age is unnecessary and foolish.

    • What

      Yeah and maybe we can have a yearly fee for the police and a yearly fee for teachers and a yearly fee for road repair/snow removal ect……..oh thats called TAXES!!!!! They didn’t have public unions back in the days of Ben Franklin get a new comparision.
      Don’t volunteer if you don’t want the”risk”.

      • firemanmark

        * Physical*

      • firemanmark

        Why don’t you go and volunteer then instead of running your mouth! Put up or shut up.I never mentioned the word “Union” I only mentioned paid or subscription.Yet another simpleton who couldn’t pass the exam. Did you perhaps pass the exam but was it the psychical or psychological exam that you failed?

      • firemanmark

        They have conscription fire services in Tennessee and other states.DUH,look at me,Im from new,new,new Hampshire. EEEH! Go back to bed Bobby Boucher!

  • jason.antosz@leg.state.nh.us

    Antosz who by the way is a State Rep. Say “we firefighters” he is no longer part of the fire service. He in NOT part of WE.

  • WhatNext

    Oh stop, please. It is a bout suing someone that did not shovel. The state should be sued if it is truly about “protecting volunteer firefighters,” The state should have something in place like free care.

    No honey, don’t call 911 yet. I need to shovel the driveway first. I know I’m having a massive heart attack but I want to be sure you don’t get sued in case I die and a firefighter falls on the way bringing me to the ambulance.
    Give me a break and someone on the hill and under the domes fix things so people have insurance and don’t have to sue each other. The state should be protecting our public servants.

    So we now will have people afraid to call 911 and soon first responders afraid to step on private property. Next we will be signing waivers! I understand you’re in great pain sir, but before we extract you from this wrecked car we need you and a witness to sign this form.

  • Volunteer

    It’s not about “protecting volunteer firefighters” it’s about greed, apparently the money he got from the town wasnt enough, he should never be able to associate himself with those who truly care about others, real firefighters. To think he’s a state rep, shameful!

    • Scooby

      To think he got elected to that position

  • Peg

    I have been up to Epping NH! Nascar runs up there! I had family who lived there! From what I saw it was a poor town! a small town full of trailors-home tralors-big alumilum can with furniture in there! No bad meant really for the residents who have a home there! I am sure it is HOME and much love goes on! That guy-not firefighter; a real one would not put his Real Brothers down like THAT! He is an embarrassment to the Brother and Womanhood of the FORCE!
    He could have a cinder go down his back-What sue The helmet company? Now matter how old he is just a WHOOSS and never belonged!

    • marianne

      Epping is a lovely community with beautiful homes and really nice , hardworking people……it is not full of trailer homes .. it has turned into a bedroom community of middle class workers ….your grammar has a lot to be desired.,
      The Antosz? That is another story .

  • Bill

    If you want to stop this nonsense….enact a law that requires the Plaintiffs AND the Plaintiff’s lawyer’s pay for the Defendant’s legal fees if (when) they lose. THAT will stop those (these) STUPID lawsuits almost immediately. The problem getting a law passed like this? The law makers are LAWYERS….and they will protect their own. Just like Policemen who never get speeding tickets.

  • Rob Cleary

    ALL firefighters are parasites. Privatize all of them

    • firemanmark

      What’s your claim to fame? White collar? Self-employed? OH,I know! Another loser who couldn’t pass the civil service exam! You’re probably in one of those “real” unions.Wow! Your my hero.

      • Coolit10

        For union firefighters what is your annual take home pay and retirement package after how many years? Down with public unions?People die every day in various jobs.

    • petem

      There you go again DB…hope you never need their help…

    • Wanda

      That is neither fair nor true! Firefighters risk their lives every day and they save lives. Just because one volunteer firefighter (Antosz) does evil does not mean that all firefighters or all volunteer firefighters are “parasites” as you say. Firefighters and their families deserve our support: firefighters risk their lives for us because they care for others and they choose to serve others — like police, they protect, save, and serve — and, in turn, they deserve our respect.

  • emom

    HOLY COW, Go figure, stupidity rains . Is there a JUDGE out there that can simply throw these stupid selfish greedy irritating frivolous lawsuits to the curb. What the hell is wrong with this world.. People suing over stupid nonsense.. HOT COFFE, HOT HASHBROWNS, FAST FOOD MAKING THEIR KIDS FAT, All the crazy stupid lawsuits out there why are they even entertained in the first place.. This guy is right up there with stupid. ICE HELLO IT WAS WINTER, THINGS FREEZE, even the water from your stupid fire hose,,,,,
    I think I will sue Mother nature for raining on my day,, the Easter bunny for leaving me a milk chocolate Easter egg, ( I wanted a dark chocolate egg), The moon for shining into my window while I was sleeping, The ants for entering my home illegally, WHAT the are breaking and entering, Oh the mosquito that will bite me and potentially give me a disease. And the peepers for making so much noise that I get no sleep. YEAH sounds good to me… FRIVOULOUS LAWSUITS,, THEY ARE KILLING US. STUPID LAWYERS AND JUDGES NEED A REALITY SLAP.

    • web

      Totally agree! The biggest problem are the judges who allow these to go to trial. Any nut can have a nutty idea, why do the judges give them a stage to voice it? They do have the option to throw it out of court, but no…too bad you can’t sue a judge for making this society so litigious, by routinely allowing these cases to have merit, they have ruined a large chunk of society…of course, that one would never make it to court, but it would be great if it would! Any lawyers out there want to take my case?

      • emom

        HAHAHAHAAHA, now that would be a landmark court case,,, SUING the judges for allowing frivoulous lawsuits that take up time in court, money from the people and mock the real reason we have courts,,, WHAT JOKES THET ARE,,,, but it would be so funny, IF ONLY. suing a judge , for being stupid. haha LOL

  • sloppjohnB2

    Learning that he is a State Rep. says it ALL! The fire department should have insurance via an umbrella policy through the town (s). No one thinks of salting their driveway when their house is burning down. Get Real! This guy is just trying to manipulate the system. Guess what, with the type of judges we have, he will probably win.

    • marianne

      A state rep .. wonder what things he is trying to change at the state level and then applies it to his own selfness.

  • Scooby

    no one think of salting a driveway in the early morning hours when it snowed INTO the early morning hours.

  • Robin Joslyn

    Oh boy, another court case added to the millions of cases already. Give me a break, are you saying that before I let anyone on my property from the fire or ambulance service that I actually have to have them sign a document stating that they won’t sue me if they get hurt? Isn’t that what being a “Volunteer” firefighter is all about? Your volunteering your time, knowledge and ability to help those in need because you signed on the dotted line. Don’t get me wrong, without volunteers where would the many people in need get the help they do so need. There are many accidents, fires and just pure acts of nature that happen on a daily basis. Each town should have their own insurance companies when things like this happen to volunteers or everyday employees. I thank all of the people who volunteer to help others, but this is way to much for me to grasp. Not only has this man embarrassed himself, but his fellow firefighters all over the world that will and have gone beyond the call of duty.

  • Denise

    How do we know he slipped on an icy surface? Maybe he was busy kicking other people when they’re down and pulled a groin muscle! That’s why I pay my insurance – the damn house can burn to the ground – try and get anything fixed from all that smoke and water damage – never mind all those “firefighters” chopping holes in your roof w/ their axes! You’re better off w/ a total loss of material things. Go figure! Wait til that judge has an issue at his house some weekend warrior will sue because he knows he has a case – thanks for the $$ Judge!!!!

  • Rob Cleary

    Was he carrying all of the homeowners valuables out to the truck when his drunk ass fell?

    • firemanmark

      You have a BIG mouth.Stop running it and try using that pea-brain once in a while.You are a real tool.Once again,what’s your claim to fame? You still living in mommies basement?

  • http://oligohomejourney.wordpress.com oligohome

    He is not fit to call himself a volunteer firefighter…kick him out, he’s giving that dept a bad name. Dad has 57 years in…they would never EVER think to sue a homeowner…volunteer rights my you know what. Greed. We don’t need your kind!

  • Wanda

    Antosz is an opportunist! If one has an emergency and calls 911, how can the person be expected to run outside in the middle of the emergency to shovel the driveway?????? That is outrageous!

    Antosz sullies the name of honest firefighters and honest volunteer firefighters who serve the public because they care for others. Antosz only wants to sue and collect a bounty on the misfortune of others!

    Antosz should be sued for harassment and for filing a frivolous lawsuit! He should be barred from participating in any firefighter program.

    What is someone having an emergency suppose to do — drag himself/herself to the street and lie there? That is not possible! Is (s)he suppose to have prepared waiver forms available so that first responders can sign-off in case of their injury?????

    Absolutely outrageous!!!!!!!!!

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