DOVER, NH (CBS) – A former Dover, New Hampshire firefighter and paramedic dreamed of being part of the brotherhood. Now in a federal lawsuit, he said instead he was subjected to hazing that put his life at risk.
“I was ecstatic it was the best day ever,” said Ben Noyes. It was the day Noyes learned, at the age of 21, he was joining the Dover, NH fire department.
Over his nine months there, he says he never felt that way again. “They were kind of going above and beyond that typical tough love,” said Noyes.
Noyes says he was continually bullied about his younger age starting when he met his supervisor. According to Noyes the supervisor said, “He thinks I am in this way too young, and that I am going to be facing some challenges.”
During training, he was told to go by himself into to a building believed to have bedbugs then forced to strip. His supervisor and other firefighters took pictures and videos while taunting him.
“A little traumatized by this whole situation,” said Noyes. “Kept on seeing light at the end of the tunnel I kept telling myself maybe everyone goes through this.”
The worst incident almost killed Noyes said his attorney, Benjamin King, Douglas, Leonard and Garvey, P.C.
Noyes went to Boston with a group of his colleagues who were saying as quoted from the lawsuit, “wonder who’s going to get roofied today.” He realized on the way home something was added to the cigar he was urged to smoke. “Put two and two together, something was wrong with those cigars or someone gave me something that was doing something bad to me,” said Noyes.
He ended up on a ventilator in the I.C.U. The doctor wrote, “likely did receive some toxin.”
When Noyes returned to work, he was told his probationary period was up and fired in May 2015.
In response to the federal lawsuit, The City of Dover released a statement saying in part: “The city of Dover is committed to maintaining a positive workplace environment that is free of discrimination and harassment…. The city denies Mr. Noyes claims and stands behind the professionalism of its fire department…”
Noyes said he was basically blacklisted from joining another fire department but has finally landed with another organization.
The federal lawsuit asks for a jury to determine how much money Noyes deserves.