San Jose Fire Department speaks out on viral strip club incident


Following an onslaught of “public inquiries,” San Jose Fire Department officials have released a new memo on the infamous viral video of a woman in a white bikini and heels stepping out of a fire truck in front of a strip club. 

The video, posted to social media Oct. 6, prompted a strong reaction from former Mayor Sam Liccardo, who said at the time, “We cannot have a life-critical emergency rescue apparatus relegated to a frat party bus,” and “”If the investigation concludes that this video is as bad as it looks, then heads must roll.” 

The late April memo says the city took “appropriate disciplinary action” but did not specify what that action was — and that the video was the result of the woman insisting upon ride-along.

“On October 5, 2022, the crew assigned to a Fire engine company transported an unauthorized, male passenger from a fire station to his place of employment at The Pink Poodle located at 328 S. Bascom Avenue,” wrote San Jose fire Chief Robert Sapien Jr. in the memo. Established in 1963, the Pink Poodle is an all-nude club that’s both “venerable and notorious, as any strip club has a right to be after 50-plus years,” according to SF Station. 

While the emergency vehicle was stopped in front of the historic club that evening, an “unauthorized” woman “climbed into the cab of the fire engine and requested a ride-along,” Sapien continued. “The crew first declined to provide the female with a ride-along; however, she persisted and was driven partially around the block and returned to The Pink Poodle at approximately 9:10 p.m.” In the video, the woman eventually exits the fire engine and walks toward the club. The Pink Poodle did not immediately respond to SFGATE’s request for comment. 

Sapien wrote that the engine then drove off and went to an industrial area before stopping at 1111 Auzerais Ave. near AJ’s Restaurant and Bar, another nightclub that provides adult entertainment, according to Yelp and its Instagram page. The memo did not specify why the fire engine went to another nightclub. 

The engine returned to the station about 10 minutes later, according to the memo. 

“The use of a City vehicle to transport unauthorized passengers violated City and Fire Department policies, including the City’s Code of Ethics and Use of City and Personal Vehicles policies as well as the Fire Department’s Ride-Along Program,” Sapien wrote. The city considers the case closed, with Sapien noting that no appeal of the “disciplinary action” has been filed. 

Sapien did not return SFGATE’s request for comment at the time of publication. 

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