Firefighter under investigation by Memphis Fire Department

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis firefighter who was fired from another department because of alleged drug abuse on the job has been relieved of duty with pay pending an investigation, Memphis fire officials said.

Josh Anderson had been chief of the Millington Airport Fire Department until he was fired in 2017 after his supervisors said a drug test came back positive and some medication turned up missing. He was later hired by Memphis Fire Department.

But a WREG investigation uncovered records showing that Tennessee's Board of Emergency Medical Services determined Anderson had been impaired while on the job, and could've put people in danger. That report wasn't released until after he was hired by MFD.

Lt. Wayne Cooke with MFD said Anderson was relieved of duty Friday. He said the department reserved any comment on why until after the investigation is complete.

Firefighters' union officials said Anderson has been working for the Memphis Fire Department for about 10 months but it’s unclear if the department knew about previous issues at his former job when they hired him.

The Firefighters Union is not representing Anderson, but president Thomas Malone said their guidelines suggest Anderson should’ve explained why he left the Millington Airport position.

“One of the things they say is you are required to tell the truth,” Malone said.

At the time of WREG's original report, Anderson was still active at MFD with no restrictions, even though the state had put his EMT license on probation in June.

"If it hadn’t been for your reporting, we’d have never known it,” Malone said.

Malone says he's heard Anderson is a good employee, assigned to a busy firehouse and "following all the rules and regulations."

"I would say this man has had a problem, he’s paying for the problem and if the problem recurs, I'm sure MFD would terminate his employment. If he works through his problems and becomes a good employee, that’s what were looking for," Malone said.

He says as long as Anderson continues his addiction treatment mandated by the state, he should be cleared and allowed to work.

 

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