By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - A former southwest Idaho fire department official says he was fired for pushing for safer conditions at two apartment buildings and raising concerns about possible discrimination against people with disabilities in one of them.

Doug Strosnider, a former Nampa Fire Department deputy chief, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the city, Mayor Bob Henry and Nampa Fire Chief Karl Malott.

Strosnider, who spent 22 years at the department before his dismissal in May, has asked for a jury trial and is seeking unspecified back pay and punitive damages.



Strosnider claims his firing came after he sent notices to Golden Glow Tower and Landmark Tower apartment complexes concerning fire safety regulations. He also contacted disabled rights agencies after he said a Golden Glow representative told a deputy fire marshal they didn’t allow totally blind, deaf or people who used a wheelchair to live there.

“Hello, that’s a huge red flag right there,” Strosnider said. “That’s called discrimination.”

City officials said they couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

Strosnider said the apartment complex contains many older residents with physical disabilities, and “has been on my radar screen for a while. We needed to do something before we had some fatalities down there.”

In the complaint, Strosnider said he faced resistance from Henry when Strosnider told him he intended to issue a noncompliance notice requiring the complex to bring its fire alarm and sprinkler system up to date. Strosnider said he was not told not to send the notice.

Strosnider also said he told Malott, the fire chief, about his intentions and didn’t hear an objection.

On April 1, the complaint said, Malott told Strosnider that the department was on “shaky” ground for sending out the notice but not information on an appeal process. Strosnider then informed Golden Glow on how to appeal, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said Strosnider was suspended on April 11, and then placed on administrative leave when he returned to work on April 28. He was fired May 2.

In a separate case, Golden Glow agreed in June, without admitting guilt, to pay the Idaho Fair Housing Council $20,000 after an apartment manager in September 2013 refused to allow a woman who required a service dog onto the property to visit her mother.

The company also agreed to allow service dogs on site and educate its employees about rental practices.

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