Warrenton Fire Chief Tim Demers has resigned as the city faces a state investigation over unsafe firefighting practices.

Demers, who led the Warrenton Fire Department since 2013, submitted a letter in September announcing his resignation effective Tuesday.

Demers’ resignation was not specifically related to the state investigation, said City Manager Linda Engbretson, who described it as a retirement.

Demers could not immediately be reached for comment.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Administration received an anonymous complaint about safety issues in the Warrenton Fire Department and opened an investigation in August, said Aaron Corvin, an agency spokesman.

The complaint alleges the fire department did not hold required safety meetings, maintain safety information or require proper training and equipment for firefighters.

“Firefighters are exposed to respiratory hazards because the fire chief requires firefighters to enter burning structures without the proper” protective equipment, one of the allegations stated.

The complaint further alleges that Demers stored expired and turned-in prescription drugs in his office without locking up or otherwise controlling them.

Demers, who had more than three decades of experience in firefighting, had applied last year to be fire chief in Aurora, according to the Canby Herald.

“I can’t tell you what Tim’s issues are,” Engbretson said. “There was a complaint filed with OSHA regarding some OSHA concerns, and we completed that process with the investigator.”

Engbretson declined to comment further until the city receives the findings of the investigation, which she expects by the middle of November.

Ted Ames, a former Astoria fire chief, is filling in as interim fire chief while Warrenton recruits a permanent replacement. Ames had served as the Warrenton fire chief before leaving in 2013 for the Astoria post.

The Warrenton Fire Department includes more than 20 volunteer firefighters, one paid firefighter and a training officer in addition to the fire chief. The department covers the city and provides services to Fort Stevens State Park, Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center and the Astoria Regional Airport.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or estratton@dailyastorian.com.

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