More than a dozen firefighters suspended
BENNINGTON — At least 15 firefighters with the Bennington Rural Fire Department have been suspended because they allegedly were involved in setting fire to a camper without obtaining the proper permits at a mud-driving event in May, according to Bennington Town Manager Stuart Hurd.
While Hurd was not directly involved in the investigation and has no official involvement with the Bennington Rural Fire Department, he said he was kept informed because the suspension of the firefighters has lead to a special request of the Bennington Fire Department that they be available to assist the Bennington Fire Department.
The camper was set fire at the Mudder’s Day event which is hosted annually by Milo Campbell, a Bennington resident.
Videos have been posted on the Internet, including one posted to YouTube, that show firefighters in their turnout gear standing by the flaming camper as a car drives through it.
Hurd said he had been told that the incident was being investigated by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources although a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday afternoon that she didn’t believe the EPA was investigating an incident in Bennington.
A call to Bennington Rural Fire Department Chief Sean Gardner was not returned on Tuesday.
Several sources, including a member of the department, confirmed the suspension and the cause but declined to go on the record.