Bay Area/ San Jose/ Crime & Emergencies
Published on November 18, 2022
SJFD engine that dropped off bikini-clad woman at strip bar went to another adult entertainment spot minutes laterPhoto: Grendelkhan / Wikimedia

Even more questions are now swirling in the investigation surrounding a controversial video of a bikini-clad woman getting out of a San Jose Fire Department engine and walking into the Pink Poodle strip club. The video from October 5th was posted on Instagram by an account called @sanjosefoos. Now, it appears that the Pink Poodle wasn’t the only adult entertainment club that the fire engine from Station 4 stopped at that night. One local television station has been digging into the incident, which is also under investigation by the city of San Jose. So far, the official investigation process has been slow, with no major updates since the video surfaced. 

There had been speculation that there may have been a service call that the engine, marked with E4, was responding to at the Pink Poodle. Now we’ve learned that doesn’t appear to be the case, thanks to a public records request by NBC Bay Area, which reports that “there was never a call for service at the Pink Poodle that night requiring a response from Station 4 firefighters, according to department dispatch records, raising further questions about what the engine was doing there and why the woman was in the truck to begin with.”

As if the story isn’t embarrassing enough for the SJFD, it now appears the engine went to a different adult entertainment spot just minutes after dropping off the woman in the bikini at Pink Poodle. According to NBC Bay Area, “Engine 4 stopped in front of the Pink Poodle around 9:06 p.m. Oct. 5th. The engine then appears to circle the block slowly before returning to the Pink Poodle around 9:10 p.m. By 9:14 p.m., Engine 4’s GPS pings approximately two miles away, with the engine stopped in the vicinity of AJ’s bikini bar on Lincoln Avenue. GPS data shows the engine parked there for about four more minutes before driving away.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was immediately frustrated the day the video surfaced, releasing a statement saying, “If the investigation concludes that this video is as bad as it looks, then heads must roll. We cannot have a life-critical emergency rescue apparatus relegated to a frat party bus nor tolerate any conduct that so demeans the heroic work of the rest of our SJFD team.”

As part of NBC Bay Area’s investigation, a few text messages from fire department officials were obtained, one of which appears to be a request to the mayor’s office to tone down that statement, which did not happen. “I talked to [her] about not assuming guilt and ‘heads must roll and frat party’ language being picked up as headlines that would reflect more negatively on the dept than necessary,” the text message from a fire department spokesperson reads.

The city is not commenting on the recent public records discovery and hasn’t said anything much since the investigation began. “The longer you wait, it hurts everybody who’d like to have this behind us because the men and women of the San Jose Fire Department deserve better. If there was an error in judgment, so be it. We gotta deal with it. But it doesn’t take away from the 100% they give every day to the citizens of the city of San Jose,” Retired fire Capt. Richard Santos told NBC Bay Area.