HORN LAKE, Miss. (AP) - Horn Lake's fire chief has resigned
following an investigation of alleged misconduct.
Fire Chief Leroy Bledsoe was accused of skewing the city's fire
insurance rating. The complaint was lodged by James Cook, a former
firefighter.
Cook's accusations came after his own resignation from the
department. The investigation was based solely on the allegations
from Cook.
A Friday meeting called by the mayor to discuss whether to fire
Bledsoe ended with Bledsoe stepping down from the position.
"He didn't want the department to receive any bad publicity,"
said Mayor Mike Thomas.
Bledsoe refused to comment after the meeting.
Allegations against the chief also included favoritism and
sexual discrimination, said city officials. Thomas said he found no
truth to those allegation, but it was found that files regarding
the testing of fire truck pumps had been tampered with.
"There were questions of whether the pump tests were actually
performed," said Thomas, who added he didn't know who was to blame
for the questionable files.
After a brief investigation, the city decided to test its fire
truck's pumping capacity this week.
The pump on a truck is the part that aids water to shoot through
the hose. The Mississippi Ratings Bureau requires the strength of
those pumps to be tested once a year.
The Horn Lake Fire Department's rating currently is at 6.
Ratings of departments affect how much local residents pay in
insurance premiums.
Thomas said the city's current rating isn't in jeopardy.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)