Firefighters demoted for drug use after death investigation

May 17, 2022, 2:14 PM | Updated: 3:35 pm

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — One New Britain fire official has been fired and seven other firefighters have been disciplined following an investigation into drug use at firehouses around the Connecticut city, the mayor said.

The investigation began after the apparent drug-related death of a 36-year-old off-duty firefighter in his home in January. The results of toxicology tests are pending, but evidence obtained during the criminal investigation led to an administrative review, Mayor Erin Stewart said Tuesday.

A lieutenant in the department was fired in February after that investigation showed he was “knowingly supplying, giving, selling, sharing and using illegal drugs and (his) prescription Adderall pills, and had lied about it,” according to a termination letter from Stewart that was first obtained by The Hartford Courant.

The other seven, including four with the rank of lieutenant or above, have been required to take 30 days of unpaid leave, demoted to the rank of private and placed on probation for three years, during which time they cannot seek promotion and will be subject to random drug testing, the mayor said.

“I don’t think that ‘drug ring’ is the right term to use,” Stewart told The Associated Press. “I think that these guys were all friends, in work and outside of work. Some of them worked in the same companies, but at the end this spanned every company that we have.”

Stewart said officials have no evidence that any member of the public was ever put in danger or any of the firefighters were ever impaired while on a call, though she acknowledged that is a possibility. She said the drug use dated back several years and involved prescription Adderall as well as fentanyl, heroin and marijuana.

The criminal investigation is ongoing to determine where the illegal drugs originated, but no charges have been filed against any firefighter and none are expected, Stewart said.

She said the investigation showed it was not a case of someone in the department serving as a dealer and selling the illegal drugs to the others.

“Were there instances of that? Yes, there was proof of that here and there,” she said. “There was obviously someone they were all getting these drugs from, but I couldn’t tell you who that was. It wasn’t someone affiliated with the department.”

The mayor said she initially wanted to fire all of those involved, but decided to allow those who came forward and detailed the extent of the problem to keep their jobs.

“I’m confident that the investigations that the chief and assistant chief conducted got to the bottom of the problem and that we’ve put procedures in place to fix it and make sure that is doesn’t happen again,” she said.

Several other firefighters have resigned since the death in January.

Stewart is calling on the firefighter’s union to work with the city and develop a drug-testing policy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

1 day ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

1 day ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

1 day ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Firefighters demoted for drug use after death investigation