POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Polk County Fire Rescue employee has resigned amid an internal investigation after the employee allegedly posted video to social media that was taken during an emergency response. 

  • Fire Capt. resigns amid investigation
  • James Williams allegedly took video of fatal fire
  • Woman died inside home while firefighters were on scene

Polk County Fire Captain James Williams was placed on administrative duty after a November fatal fire.  Williams first came under scrutiny after the department learned he'd taken video of the fire that killed Lorretta Pickard at her rural log cabin-style home north of Lakeland. 

Officials said Pickard was actually on the phone with 911 from inside her home after firefighters arrived, waiting for them to rescue her. 

Williams told an investigator he took the video with his cell phone after fire trucks had run out of water and nothing could be done to save Pickard. He sent the video to several people using the Snapchat app.

Taking and sending the video were violations of Polk Fire Rescue policy.

Family members have said they don’t believe enough was done to save Pickard’s life.

An outside organization was hired to investigate the response of all county organizations to the fire. 

Officials said Williams resigned Tuesday morning.