FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Former Fairfield Fire Chief David Downie was fired Tuesday for a variety of reasons. In a Fox 19 News Exclusive, the Investigative Report was released. We outline the accusations and Downie's response to each.
One reason Downie was fired was his failure to properly handle a paramedic who was reprimanded over and over for not treating patients properly on ambulance runs. Downie responded saying, "She was overly supervised and they couldn't fire her because she had a disability and they were worried about her filing an American With Disabilities Act lawsuit".
Police Chief Richard St. John said there are several examples of hostility as displayed toward Township employees, particularly police officers, by the Fire Chief. On several occasions he has been very critical of the police department. St. John said that while eating at restaurants, Downie would frequently make a point to come over and make derogatory statements toward the officers such as, "What, no donuts today? Can't work without a donut? And, the donut shop closed today?" To this Downie said, "police and fire people talk to each other all the time like that".
Officer Neil Thibault wrote an Affidavit saying, "The only hostile work environment that I see is the one created by the fire department administration, primarily Chief Downie". On one scene he said he had parked his car and Downie walked by and said, "Could you park any f…..g closer?" Downie responded by saying that the officer had parked his cruiser on a bridge and the fire vehicles couldn't get out.
Public works supervisor Mike Bishop had crews out during an ice storm on January 21 and that Downie "said that I was not doing my job and if any of his men got hurt that he'd throw me under the bus and jump up and down. Then he hung up on me". To which Downie replied, "No. I did say I'd throw him under the bus but I didn't say I'd jump up and down on it. There were no physical threats".
Neighbors of Downie's wrote the trustees. One said, "I am one of many neighbors that dislike the man. I lost all respect for him after watching him berate children for playing in front of his house. I have also seen him almost come to fisticuffs with a couple that are in their 80's over the way the lady cut her grass". Another neighbor wrote, "He is the most unpleasant, rude, and overall un-friendliest person you could meet. He absolutely hates kids and never hesitates to scream at anyone who so much as steps foot on his grass." Downie responded by saying, "Nope. I've had to stop children from getting in front of me while I needed to go make emergency calls. I've asked them to ride their bikes on the sidewalk and even reported them to the police but they did nothing.