The firefighting instructor who showed a pornographic film to volunteer firefighters in a department crippled by accusations of sexual harassment and mass resignations in Newfoundland's Conception Bay says it was "just for a laugh" and not intended to make the one woman in the training course uncomfortable.

"She had just as much of a chuckle about it as everyone else did," said Jeremy Hall, who oversaw the two-day, vehicle-extrication course in April 2014 in Spaniard's Bay. 

Hall is a veteran firefighter and chief of the South River-based Bay de Grave regional fire department. For the past decade, he has been a firefighting instructor, certified by Newfoundland and Labrador's Fire and Emergency Services agency.

Harassment claims

The incident made headlines this week after a simmering controversy in the Conception Bay North town exploded following the mass resignation of about 20 volunteer firefighters on Tuesday.

The exodus came amid a scandal that has rocked the Spaniard's Bay volunteer fire department, and involves allegations of sexual and general harassment levelled by Brenda Seymour, the only female with the brigade.

Seymour, who is also a member of the town council, claims the department was being mismanaged by chief Victor Hiscock, who is among those who quit this week.

Seymour highlighted the April 2014 showing of the X-rated film as part of a pattern of mistreatment she has received during her time as a volunteer firefighter.

'Personal attack'

During an interview with CBC News on Monday, Seymour said she was "flabbergasted" by the film, describing it as "hard-core porn" between a male and a female that played for "five to six minutes."

Brenda Seymour

Brenda Seymour is a volunteer firefighter and town councillor in Spaniard's Bay. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

She was the only female in a room filled with male trainees.

"I do think it was a personal attack on me," said Seymour, who added she is critical of former chief Hiscock for not intervening.

"Our chief was 100 per cent responsible … It was a failure in leadership," she added.

When reached by phone Thursday, Jeremy Hall said he regretted playing the film.

Other occasions

He said he was notified by Fire and Emergency Services this week that his name has been removed from the list of certified instructors.

He said he played the film at the conclusion of the classroom session as a joke, and admitted he had done so on other occasions.

He said it was "23 seconds" and involved a female masturbating in a kitchen. The purported joke of the video is that a woman puts out a fire. 

The video was shown, he said, after a more conventional film that depicted a firefighter extinguishing a fire in a kitchen. 

He said he cautioned the trainees that the second "Triple-X" video might not be for everybody, and they were free to leave if they desired.

"There was no harassment [intended] towards her or anybody else," said Hall.

Hiscock refuses to comment

When asked if the incident might impact his status as a fire chief, Hall said it is likely.

The Bay de Grave fire brigade is administered by a board, and Hall said, "I'm expecting a call anytime."

Hall said his removal will also affect training opportunities for about a dozen volunteer fire departments in the region.

"I'll never teach again," said Hall.

Victor Hiscock, meanwhile, has declined repeated interview requests, but it's become clear that the mass resignations were a show of support for the chief.