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A Keys firefighter was driving drunk, police said. He was reporting to work at the time

James Robert House III
James Robert House III Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Key West Naval Air Station firefighter was jailed Saturday morning after police said he was driving drunk while reporting to work at the base on Boca Chica Key.

James Robert House III, 42, of Key West, had a blood alcohol level of .25 before 7 a.m. The legal limit is .08.

House, a civilian firefighter at NAS for seven years, arrived in a Toyota pickup Saturday at the front security gate at the Boca Chica base, where a sentry was checking IDs before letting people drive through.

House was slurring his words and had a strong smell of alcohol, police said.

Wearing his Fire and Emergency Services uniform, he also drank from a Corona Light bottle in front of the security guard, police said. The Monroe County Sheriff’s office was called to the base.

House showed Deputy Evan Calhoun his firefighter badge, “as if it would help him,” Calhoun wrote in the arrest report.

After getting out of his pickup, House tried to hug and grab at Calhoun and was obviously highly intoxicated, the deputy said.

“He was not only impaired to drive but at the level of, if I saw him off-duty trying to enter a vehicle I would intervene,” Calhoun wrote.

He said he had two beers, but then admitted to four and finally said “or who knows,” according to the arrest report.

House resisted arrest when the deputy tried to handcuff him and later at the Stock Island Detention Center kicked the table and had to be handcuffed again, police said.

House was arrested for DUI with a blood-alcohol level of .20 or more, resisting arrest and possession of a drug without a prescription for pills meant to relieve high blood pressure.

All the charges are misdemeanors.

He was released from jail the next day without having to post a bond.

House couldn’t be reached for comment Monday morning.

Naval Air Station Key West spokeswoman Trice Denny said he has been a Department of Defense firefighter for 17 years.

“We’ll be here to provide him with any personal assistance he may need,” Denny said, when asked to comment on the arrest.

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