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9 Wis. firefighters investigated for misconduct

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Milwaukee’s fire chief is investigating whether nine firefighters should be disciplined for allegedly damaging the inside of a fire house, a city official said Wednesday.

The firefighters were put on administrative suspension Tuesday and aren’t reporting to work during the investigation, said Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Michael Tobin. The nine are still being paid.

He said Wednesday the allegations also involve other inappropriate conduct inside the firehouse, which is on the north side of town. It did not involve any citizens, he said.

“The events under investigation in no way had any negative impact to the citizens we serve,” Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing said in a statement Tuesday evening. “We rightfully hold ourselves to the highest standards to ensure not only the most professional service delivery but also fostering a safe work environment based upon the ideals of mutual respect and personal and professional integrity.”

Rohlfing did not immediately return a call Wednesday. A secretary at the firefighters union, Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Local 215, referred calls to the fire chief.

Tobin couldn’t comment on the specifics, but said the allegations happened “within days” of the firefighters being put on leave.

He said the chief and an investigator with the commission are looking into the allegations. He said the chief will make the final decision on possible disciplinary action, and if the firefighters don’t agree with the outcome they can appeal to the commission.

Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokesman, Jeff Fleming, said the mayor has been briefed and asked the chief to conduct a thorough review.

According to the department’s website, the department has more than 800 firefighters and 36 fire stations.

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