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Florida lifeguard fired after leaving post to rescue drowning man

Updated: July 5, 2012 9:28AM



HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Lifeguard Tomas Lopez helped save a drowning man and got fired for it.

The reason: He left the section of a south Florida beach his company is paid to patrol. The Orlando-based company, Jeff Ellis and Associates, says Lopez broke a company rule and could have put beachgoers in his section in jeopardy.

The Sun Sentinel reported Lopez was on duty Monday at Hallandale Beach when a beachgoer asked for help. Lopez said he ran to assist a man struggling in the water south of his post.

By the time Lopez arrived, witnesses had pulled the drowning man out of the water. Lopez and an off-duty nurse helped him until paramedics arrived. The victim survived and was hospitalized.

Afterward, Lopez was fired.

Two other lifeguards have quit in protest.



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