Longtime LA firefighter fired for not getting COVID-19 vaccine

A longtime engineer with Los Angeles Fire Department says he got fired for not electing to take the coronavirus vaccine.

"I love my job," said Matt Mammone, now-former LA city firefighter. "I feel like I poured my heart into it. Promoted to rank of engineer. I got to drive the fire engine. Got to do a lot of amazing things."

Thursday marked a difficult day for Mammone, who served with LAFD for nearly 15 years. He was fired by the department over his vaccination status. 

"This is the United States. We have a constitutional exemption and freedom of choice, freedom of religion," Mammone said.

Mammone did not file for a religious or medical exemption. The ex-firefighter and his attorney believed agreeing to a vaccine mandate was a breach of contract.

"The condition of employment was not bargaining into our contract. So to file an exemption, I would have been to condone a new condition of employment that had not been agreed upon by the union.," he explained.

Prior to the termination, Mammone had been on unpaid leave for about a year and a half before LAFD Board of Rights hearing. 

SUGGESTED: LAFD: 113 firefighters off-duty without pay due to LA's vaccine mandate

LAFD issued the following statement in response to Mammone's situation:

"Per the vaccine ordinance adopted by city leaders. All city employees are mandated to either be fully vaccinated or file for an exemption. LAFD members who do not abide by the ordinance are granted their due process.

Today, in the case of firefighter Matt Mammone, who decided to challenge the requirements of the condition of employment, the LAFD Board of Rights determined that Mammone be separated from the department."

On the same day Mammone was fired, LA Times published a bombshell report revealing firefighters with severe disciplinary issues being allowed to remain on the job.

"According to the LA Times, the [LAFD] almost never terminates a firefighter. What are your thoughts on that?" asked FOX 11's Gina Silva.

"We have the newspaper articles. We gave them to the Board. That disparate treatment – they took the very same oath that Matt took. And yet you're ignoring their transgressions?" said attorney Helena Sunny Wise.

Mammone said the retention of embattled staff – despite their allegations – is nothing new.

"There [are] people that have done pretty reprehensible things on the department and gotten to keep their jobs," Mammone said.