The chief faces a claim he was impaired while responding to a fire that killed one, injured more than a dozen and displaced more than 100 residents of an Everett apartment complex.
The Everett fire chief is under investigation for allegedly responding to a New Year’s Eve apartment fire while under the influence.
Chief Murray Gordon, who has been at the helm since 2001, is facing an allegation that he had alcohol on his breath and was impaired at the fire at The Bluffs at Evergreen, 2 W. Casino Road, city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said.
A department employee submitted the claim to city officials on Jan. 5. The city’s human-resources department is leading an investigation that includes hiring a third-party investigator to do the “fact-finding,” Pembroke said.
Meanwhile, Gordon will remain in his position. He denied the accusation in a written statement that Pembroke released on Monday.
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“I was not impaired the night of the Bluffs fire and I am confident that the investigation will confirm that,” he wrote. “I understand that the city must take these allegations seriously, and I will fully cooperate with the investigation and any actions that the city takes as a result.”
At the fire, Gordon coordinated with agencies including Red Cross and Everett Transit to help the residents who were displaced and to help police officers secure the scene, according to the statement.
He assumed command of the fire around 9 p.m. so the battalion chiefs could work on suppressing it, and about a half-hour later, when firefighters had the blaze more under control, a battalion chief took over again, the statement says.
At that point, the chief volunteered to buy food for firefighters and displaced residents, which the statement says he frequently does.
Firefighters and medics treated more than a dozen people for smoke inhalation, burns and injuries suffered from being dropped from upper-story windows.
The fire started in a mattress.