City officials in Murfreesboro have concluded that a veteran fireman's Facebook posting about an obese homeless woman didn't violate the city's social media policy or federal HIPPA laws.
Nearly every day you can find Vanessa Ighodaro, her boyfriend and sometimes her daughter panhandling at the intersection of Broad Street and Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro.
"For me to be homeless, with no healthcare, (and) no place to stay, I would die," Ighodaro said. "I don't like coming out here and asking people for money, but I don't have any choice; I have to live."
Ighodaro said the family uses the money people give them to pay for the daily rental of a room at the nearby Jackson Motel.
"The rent is $45 a day," Ighodaro said.
She got quite emotional and started crying as she talked about Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department fireman Gregory Burt posting a photo and comments about her on Facebook.
It read, "So the sign says homeless, but she lives in the hotel behind her. She checks in at 300 plus pounds. (I know, because we transported it). She gets food stamps and healthcare. Wondering what your TN Care and Medicare/Medicaid is being used for! Tired of supporting it and others like it! Disgusting!"
"Why would you do me (like that)? He hurt my feelings," she said.
Ighodaro said she has several medical problems and gets her medications from a dispensary. She said she was taken off TennCare when her daughter, who suffers from mental retardation, turned 18.
"It hurts me to the heart that people like me that are heavy can't make it in life. If they don't have a job they have to try and find other means of getting money," Ighodaro said while wiping away tears.
Channel 4 News tried contacting Burt by phone to get his side of the story, but he didn't return the call.
Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department confirmed it had investigated whether Burt had any contact with Ighodaro while on duty.
"Firefighter Burt denied that he had provided any patient care to this individual, or provided any transport services to her, while working for the city. He denied knowing her or having any contact with her," according to a media release from spokeswoman Ashley McDonald.
"Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department staff's review of call records for the past two months (was) consistent with his statement as they do not indicate that firefighter Burt was on any calls in the vicinity of the individual's residence."
"The city does not anticipate investigating this matter further based on these facts," McDonald added.
Ighodaro said she's planning on meeting with the Murfreesboro Chapter of the NAACP about the incident.
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