Nearly 70 HFD cadets assigned to other city jobs, not fire stations

HOUSTON – Houston Fire Department cadets on Thursday afternoon celebrated the retirement of one of their district chiefs.

The celebration came 24 hours after a second class of cadets were not sworn in as members of HFD. They were assigned to other positions.

On Thursday, two cadets out of the nearly 70 who have not been sworn in since Proposition B overwhelmingly passed last November spoke to Channel 2 Investigates.

"We're just waiting to get into the field, that's all we want."

While one of the cadets admitted that cadets “can't let the political game get the best of us,” the two asked us not to reveal their identities out of fear of political retribution.

"We came here for the job. We came here before Prop B. We came to become Houston firefighters. It's all we want to do,” said one cadet.

The other one said, "It's still frustrating that we were trained to do a service to the community that the taxpayers had paid for us to do, and it's a waste of their money and it's a waste of our time."

On Wednesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner walked out of A City Council meeting without answering any media questions about the delay for cadets being sworn in. His weekly news conference was a last-second cancellation due to the council meeting running long. Channel 2 sent multiple emails to the mayor's communications team regarding his interview availability for late Wednesday and Thursday, but they were unable to ask him as of Thursday afternoon.

While the mayor has been silent since exiting the council Wednesday, two candidates running for his office, Tony Buzbee and Bill King, are talking about Prop B and the situation involving firefighter cadets.

Buzbee told Channel 2 Investigates on Thursday, "It's just another example of a complete lack of leadership and a continued vindictiveness against the Fire Department."

In a separate interview, King asked the following of the mayor: "How about protecting the citizens of Houston?”

King went on to quickly add, “I mean, there is a reason we have fire classes: so we can replace retired firefighters and make sure we have an adequate force."

It should be noted one cadet did get sworn in by Chief Sam Pena on Wednesday night. The official move was conducted in order to beat the age limit requirements of rookie firefighters.

As of Thursday evening, Channel 2 Investigates had not heard back from Turner’s communications team as to whether or not the mayor is available for an interview. Once Turner becomes available to discuss the remaining cadets who have not been sworn in, we of course will bring it to you.