Engine 32 firefighters target of internal investigation
MILWAUKEE -- Nine firefighters were suspended pending an undisclosed internal investigation, according to a statement issued late Tuesday by Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing.
Rohlfing did not describe the allegations or the reason for the suspensions beyond the brief statement.
"Administration has been made aware of certain alleged actions by several of our members that are in contravention to our core values," the statement said.
A Fire Department source confirms for the I-TEAM the nine suspended members were all assigned to Engine 32/Ladder 9, a firehouse located in the 1500 block of North 30th Street.
Those nine firefighters were disgruntled by a recent change in command at Engine 32, and a number of the firefighters also faced possible reassignment.
The source says the firefighters took out their frustration on the firehouse by shattering televisions, smashing dishes and soiling firefighting equipment with bodily fluids.
When questioned in several phone calls late Tuesday, department administration would not confirm the details provided by the source. Those administrators stressed the situation was being taken "very seriously" and said details would be provided at a later date.
Phone calls to the last known "house captain" of Engine 32 were not returned Tuesday, nor were calls to other firefighters previously identified as assigned to that station.
A spokesman for Mayor Tom Barrett said Chief Rohlfing has been encouraged by the Mayor to pursue an aggressive investigation and take the allegations seriously.
The Chief's statement said MFD was working with the City Attorney as the internal investigation progresses, however the Mayor's office believed the firefighters do not face potential criminal charges.