Female firefighter in Lincoln alleges captain left her crew in burning building

A female Lincoln firefighter suing the department over alleged discrimination and retaliation is asking a judge to order an independent investigation after, she says, a captain at the center of the case “abandoned” her team in a burning building.

Amanda Benson’s attorney, Kelly Brandon, says despite multiple complaints from Benson about Capt. Shawn Mahler’s conduct over the past several years, the city and Lincoln Fire & Rescue administration have refused to discipline him.

Now, she is asking Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf to order the city to immediately initiate disciplinary proceedings against Mahler, prohibit him from being sent to fires and appoint an independent, third party to investigate the complaint about his actions at a fire in April.

“Plaintiff is engaged in a dangerous profession where teamwork is absolutely critical,” the Gretna attorney wrote. “Plaintiff, and those who happen to work on her team, face obvious irreparable harm if Mahler is allowed to continue retaliating against her while this litigation proceeds.”

According to court records, Mahler told an administrative officer investigating the complaint that he had been confused about who was assigned to him.

The city hasn’t yet filed a response to the motion. 

“Following receipt of the parties’ written materials, the court may or may not hold an evidentiary hearing,” Kopf said in an order this week.

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