-- A municipal fire department in Virginia is investigating a complaint by an African American mother that a white firefighter refused to provide ice for her 11-year-old son who was having a nosebleed, an alleged action that the mother claims was "a racial thing."
Stacey Claiborne told ABC Richmond affiliate WRIC that she had been driving with her two sons in their town of Petersburg, Virginia, when her 11-year-old son's nose started to bleed.
One of the town's fire stations happened to be on the same street, Johnson Road, so Claiborne, a nurse, said she stopped and asked her older son, who is 15, to take a glove from her nursing bag, go to the firehouse and get some ice to help stop his brother's nosebleed.
But her son came back and said that a firefighter told him he couldn't have any ice because "it's for their personal use" only, Claiborne told WRIC.
Claiborne said she then decided to go in to make the request herself, she said.
"I met with a different firefighter [and] I asked, 'Can I get some ice? My son is having a bad nosebleed,,'" Claiborne said. "So he said, 'Sure ma’am, I will get it for you.'"
But then a firefighter who she later found out was the one who "told my son that he couldn’t have any ice" suddenly came around the corner, and said, 'I said, don’t give her no ice. Go out to the car and find out what’s really going on,'" Claiborne told WRIC.
That firefighter then "started asking me questions -- about my son's name, how old he was," Claiborne said. "I told him, 'That's not relevant information right now. I just need the ice for my son's nose.'"
She said about seven minutes passed as she waited for ice. She said she eventually left after realizing she wasn't going to get any help.
"When I chose to leave, the firefighter that was going to give me the ice said, 'Ma’am, I’m sorry. I really was going to give you the ice,'" Claiborne said. "He looked intimidated."
Claiborne told WRIC she felt the incident "was a black-white thing."
"I hate to say it, and I hate to call a spade a spade, but as the children say, it is what it is," she said. "It is the truth. I felt like it was a racial thing."
Claiborne wrote a letter to municipal officials about the incident, according to the deputy fire chief of the Petersburg Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services.
"She sent the letter to City Hall, and it was forwarded to the fire chief," Deputy Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant told ABC News today. "The incident is now under investigation."
Sturdivant said the letter was dated Aug. 12 and that the fire chief was made aware of it this week. He declined to name the firemen allegedly involved and confirmed that the alleged incident occurred at Fire Station 5 on Johnson Road.
Claiborne told ABC News today that she was not immediately available for additional comment due to her work schedule as a nurse.