MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The head of Memphis International Airport is speaking out about a federal investigation into a dangerous situation that occurred at the airport last week.
Memphis firefighters were reportedly driving on the airfield where they weren't supposed to be. If a pilot hadn't noticed, it could have been catastrophic.
Larry Cox with the Memphis Airport Authority says before Memphis firefighters work at the airport, they are supposed get a security clearance, take a special driver's test and field driving test so they know where they are going on the airfield. But, he admits no one at the airport checks on a daily basis to make sure the firemen have the proper credentials.
"We contract with the City of Memphis to provide fire and rescue so I don't know what the fire department has done. All I can tell you is that they are not supposed to have anyone in the secure area of the airport without a security badge," he said.
One of the things federal investigators are looking into is whether the firefighter who drove the truck had the proper credentials.
Sources tell ABC 24 News that a pilot saw two fire trucks on the runway where they weren't supposed to be and radioed ground control about the dangerous situation.
"The little I know about the incident, the driver went down the wrong taxi way and crossed over the line, but I don't know much more than that it's part of the investigation," Cox said. "The FAA is reviewing tapes, talking to eyewitness and so forth to see what happened."
More than a year ago ABC 24 News first told you about firefighters not being properly trained at the airport. Firefighter Reggie Davis went public, saying he was placed at the airport without the proper credentials and admitted he wasn't the only one.
His lawyer, Brenda Oates-Williams, says he told fire bosses about the problem.
"They had him out there; he wasn't qualified to be on airport property," she said.
Cox replied, "If that's the case, if there is one or more, that's disturbing."
Cox hopes firefighters working at the airport are qualified. It will be up to the FAA to determine if that's the case.
For two days, we have been asking the fire department bosses to talk with us about the qualifications of their firefighters at the airport. So far they've refused, saying the fire director isn't doing any interviews.