Firefighter accuses fire chief of misconduct, theft

Firefighter Tom Williamson accused Chief Stephen Krentel of more than a dozen wrongdoings, including stealing two air-conditioning units

By FireRescue1 Staff

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — A firefighter claimed a fire chief was guilty of more than a dozen allegations, including theft and sexual misconduct.

FOX8 reported that firefighter Tom Williamson accused Chief Stephen Krentel of wrongdoings such as stealing two air-conditioning units and creating a general atmosphere of intimidation in the department.

"It’s been ongoing for some time and continues," Williamson said in a civil service board meeting. "Morale is bad. He’s got a threatening behavior, and he has a past of this kind of behavior."

Williamson also claimed a bullet was left outside of his truck, and he thinks it was there to send a message.

"I spoke to (St. Tammany District Attorney Warren) Montgomery," Williamson said. "I said I feel the bullet was a sign of intimidation. He said rightfully so."

Chief Krentel said the firefighter’s claims against him are untrue.

"All of these allegations are false," he said. "I have the documentation to prove it. I can’t wait till the day I can present it."

The civil service board decided to move forward with an investigation into the allegations.

"They felt the board of commissioners sits at the top of the employees and it’s incumbent on them to impose discipline," civil service board attorney Henry Olinde said.

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