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Fire captain was demoted after woman in bikini was given a ride in fire engine outside a strip club

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A San Jose fire captain was demoted after firefighters gave a bikini-clad woman in heels a short ride-along in a fire engine last year in an incident that was recorded and posted on social media, prompting an internal investigation.

In the video, the fire engine is seen stopped on the street blocking traffic with its emergency lights spinning overhead when a woman in a white bikini steps out of the vehicle and into the Pink Poodle strip club.

Eight months after the incident occurred, officials have still released few details about what, if any, disciplinary action had been taken, though the fire chief said in a memo that the incident violated numerous city and fire department policies.

The incident caused a public uproar, even as city officials declined to release details about the incident.

In a recent city manager discipline report, the city noted that a fire captain was demoted as a result of engaging in conduct that violated the city’s code of ethics and the fire department’s rules and regulations.

A spokesperson for the city confirmed that the incident in the report referred to the video taken at the Pink Poodle.

The report states that the decision was not appealed but does not explain when the discipline took place. The Mercury News first reported the demotion.

“The discipline was fair and the process was conducted within the civil service rules,” said Carolina Camarena, spokesperson for the city manager’s office. “We can now focus on keeping our city safe.”

In a memo from San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien released in May but dated April 25, the chief noted that the crew assigned to the fire engine had first given an “unauthorized male passenger” a ride from the fire station to his job at the Pink Poodle on Oct. 5.

The memo doesn’t identify who the male was or explain why firefighters gave him a ride in the fire engine.

After the fire engine arrived at the strip club, a woman then “persisted” in asking for a ride-along with the crew. Firefighters at first declined, according to the memo, but then gave the woman a ride around the block in the vehicle.

The fire engine then drove to an industrial part of the city, stopping near another adult establishment — AJ’s Restaurant & Bar, which describes itself on its Facebook page as “nightly entertainment featuring beautiful bikini dancers.”

The memo states that the fire engine was parked there for about two minutes before heading back to the station, but it offers no explanation of why the firefighters went to the location.

City officials have repeatedly declined to release information or documents related to the incident or the ensuing internal investigation.

The Bay Area News Group has filed a lawsuit against the city, asking for records regarding the investigation and any disciplinary actions taken by the city in connection to it.

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