Volunteer fire department receives citations from Department of Labor after death of Richard Sheltra

The Pineville Morrow Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue received citations by the N.C. Department of Labor (NCDOL) due to the department's occupational and safety health inspection after an investigation into the death of firefighter, Richard Sheltra.

The fire department was cited for three alleged serious violation and one alleged non-serious violation with a total penalty of $6,100.

The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $7,000. The General Statutes say that the Labor Department has to take into consideration various factors such as the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, the good faith of the employer, and the history of previous violations, according to the NCDOL.

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The NCDOL said the penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life. By law, the civil money penalties collected by the N.C. Department of Labor are not the receipts of the department, but rather must be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund, which then distributes the monies to the public school systems.

The fire department has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina (an independent board appointed by the governor to hear appeals of OSH citations), or to pay the penalty, according to the NCDOL.

Statement from Richard Sheltra's family: 

"As a family, we are fully confident in the men and women at Pineville Volunteer Fire Department and their service to our communities. We will continue to support them as they have supported us. We are certain that the outcome of the investigation between OSHA and PVFD can only result in better processes."