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Fire station reopens after captain's Black Lives Matter Facebook posts

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A fire station has reopened in South Carolina's capital, days after its then-captain threatened on Facebook to run over protesters if they still blocked traffic when his shift ended.

Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins closed the station early Monday and fired the captain. Because his postings prompted complaints, firefighters were told to close the doors at all stations for that shift.

Two other firefighters were fired Wednesday after admitting they also posted about Black Lives Matter protesters who closed a Columbia intersection and an interstate section late Sunday.

Spokesman Brick Lewis said the closed station was operating normally again Thursday after firefighters who work there said they felt safe returning.

Richland County also fired a paramedic Wednesday for "inappropriate" posts on social media, authorities announced in a news release that gave no details on who was fired, what was posted or when.

"EMS is called upon to serve citizens in times of duress," Interim County Administrator Gerald Seals said about the fired paramedic, according to CBS Columbia affiliate WLTX-TV. "The statements on social media were threatening and could be taken as the County having individuals, who because of their bias, may adjust their care - and that erodes public trust and is unacceptable."

The protests came after black men were killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and white officers were gunned down in Dallas.

In the aftermath, some first responders across the country have been fired or suspended for racially insensitive posts on social media.

Jenkins closed the fire station where Capt. Jimmy Morris, a 16-year veteran of the department, worked at 1 a.m. Monday after the department received complaints and threats about his posts.

Crews serviced the area from a different firehouse, Lewis said. "Jenkins felt he didn't want to jeopardize safety and wanted employees there to feel safe while working."

In his first post Sunday night, Morris said the "idiots" blocking traffic "better not be there when I get off work or there is gonna be some run over dumb a----."

The next read, "Public Service Announcement: If you attempt to shut down an interstate, highway, etc on my way home, you best hope I'm not one of the first vehicles in line because you're a-- WILL get run over!"

Morris' shift typically would have ended at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Lewis said.

Morris did not respond to several messages left at telephone numbers listed with his name.

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