Mad River Twp. residents express concern about trustees’ handling of fire department investigation results

Controversy involving the Mad River Twp. fire department continued Monday night at township meeting where residents accused the trustees of not taking an investigation into the fire department seriously.

In May, more than a dozen firefighters resigned after a former firefighter was hired even though officials knew he had been accused of sexual assault at another department.

>> RELATED: 12 employees have resigned from Mad River Twp. Fire and EMS

Monday night, many residents brought their concerns to township leaders.

One resident read a section of the Clemans-Nelson Report, the fire investigation he obtained through a public records request where he quoted the investigators who interviewed a current township firefighter.

“He says sexual stuff happens all the time in a fire department and is normal expected firehouse mentality and at times can be the woman’s fault,” the resident said, reading from the report.

One former firefighter thought about going back to the department, but cannot.

“I was honestly considering putting my application back in here, but I cannot work under someone or with someone with that mentality,” the former firefighter said.

>> RELATED: Complaint filed against Mad River EMS/Fire Administration, employees resign

When residents pressed for answers about why that firefighter is still employed, the township trustee president said he hadn’t read the entire more than 600-page report.

“Had I read those words, I would remember those words, you don’t forget them,” the president said.

The departures from the department haven’t ended. The assistant chief retired in the last week, the fire chief said at the meeting.

In the meantime, township leaders said they’re trying to move the fire department forward by making some changes and beginning training to combat sexual harassment.

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