Former Strother Firefighter Charged In Death Of Fellow Firefighter

Tuesday, June 18th 2013, 7:20 pm
By: News 9

Seminole County Prosecutors charge a firefighter with manslaughter following a deadly fight at a firehouse in Strother.

Harold Sims faces the charge following a fight with fellow firefighter, Chaplain Dale Patterson, who died from his injuries.

2/15/2013 Related Story: Seminole County Firefighter Dies After Fight At Firehouse

The altercation was first reported on February 15. Investigators initially called the deadly fight suspicious and remained tight lipped about the circumstances, but now court records are revealing what happened between the two firefighters

In a 911 call made from the Strother Fire Department, a firefighter told dispatch to send an ambulance to the fire house.

"We have a firefighter down," said the caller.

The firefighter was said to be "knocked out." Chaplain Dale Patterson was unresponsive on the floor of the firehouse - the victim of an altercation with fellow firefighter Harold Sims.

"From what we have gathered Mr. Sims backed the truck up crookedly and Mr. Patterson told him to straighten a couple of times," Seminole County Assistant District Attorney Chris Anderson explained.

Anderson said the two argued. Patterson then pushed Sims aside to move the fire truck himself. Court Records show that's when Sims punched Patterson in the face. Witnesses recall hearing at least four or five punches. When Patterson hit the floor, firefighters remember hearing Sims say "go to sleep old man."

Records also show Sims gave Patterson first aid after the fight but it did not save Patterson's life. 

"I don't think anyone is claiming he intended to kill him, now he did die as a result of Mr. Sims actions and that's what manslaughter is," said Seminole County ADA Anderson.

After reviewing the case, prosecutors charged Sims with first degree manslaughter but admitted they spent several weeks making the decision.

"We think it's the correct one," Anderson said.

Sims eventually resigned from the Strother Fire Department. He is out of jail on $5,000 bond and will be back in court on June 20.

We were unable to reach Sims' attorney before the story aired on News 9.