BAXTER SPRINGS — Three Baxter Springs Firefighters were released from the department on June 9, citing unspecified conduct in “disregard of departmental policies and conduct in the aftermath of the May 22 tornado,” according to a release from Baxter Springs Mayor Jenifer J. Bingham.
According to the release, information about the conduct was forwarded to the Joplin Police Department for further investigation.
“The City of Baxter Springs will fully support and work with the Joplin Police Department and hold those at fault to the highest form of accountability,” Bingham said in the release.
While not commenting directly to the case, Joplin Police Department Detective Sergeant Charla Geller, said there had been many reports of looting and misconduct by out of town volunteers in the wake of the EF-5 twister which killed more than 150 people and damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 structures.
“We have had several cases regarding inappropriate conduct by out of town volunteers,” Geller said. “We’re working all of them and they are all open cases. I can’t comment on on-going cases.”
In the release, Bingham made clear whatever the inappropriate conduct was it was the work of individuals, not the BSFD.
“It should be known that the poor and irresponsible choices of a few in no way reflect the integrity and character of the institution as a whole,” she said.
BSFD Deputy Chief Art Mallory said he could not comment on the case and had only been authorized to send out the press release.
Bingham could not be reached for direct comment.