New ‘Star Trek’ shooter, fired from scene of 2013 fire, says he’s not suicidal

Dave Hayes, hired as the “Rust” camera operator by Sony Pictures Television in early 2012, faces the challenging prospect of reliving the ordeal on camera, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

“I’m not too worried about it because I’m not suicidal,” Hayes told The Washington Post, sounding defensive about being the subject of a hearing he characterized as politically motivated.

Still, his task may be daunting. The Hollywood Reporter reported that in a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing Monday, Hayes was subpoenaed to testify on Tuesday about the dangers of working on remote sets.

Hayes was subpoenaed after he and a colleague told the Committee about the malfunction of a battery pack on the set, leading to a fusillade of exploding electronic components that burned the set to the ground in March 2013. The incident caused $12 million in damages and led to several hundred people being evacuated.

Hayes was reportedly working on “Steel Warriors” — a spinoff of the 2012 documentary “Eco-Devastation” — in Baton Rouge, La., when the electronics malfunctioned, setting the remote broadcast studio on fire. He said that afterwards, several executives on the set lost their cool, led to a clash with his supervisor and some sort of showdown that led to him being fired from the production.

“As a helicopter was circling the building with an explosion on board, I tried to call my girlfriend and she didn’t pick up,” Hayes said in a letter released in August on the website of Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who described the alleged incident. “At that point my supervisor began yelling in my ear, ‘Are you throwing things or choking her?’ I told him I wanted to call my girlfriend, because in the military, you never leave the safety of your sick girlfriend. He called me stupid and stupid.”

From there, the captain of the helicopter or the pilot received orders to fire on the set.

What happened next is disputed by senior Sony officials, though the episode caused a wave of negative publicity for the production of the new series. The Hollywood Reporter reported that executives on the show said that Hayes was fired because of his alleged inappropriate behavior. According to the publication, the release of the letter was sent to others on the set to discourage future whistleblowers.

As the AP reported, Sony told the studio’s board that the incident never occurred.

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