Virginia Fire Chief Blasts Blog That Included 'Lewd' Comments About Firefighter Found Dead in Shenandoah National Park | NBC4 Washington

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Virginia Fire Chief Blasts Blog That Included 'Lewd' Comments About Firefighter Found Dead in Shenandoah National Park

Site administrator says chief should be concerned about firefighters, department culture

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    News4's Darcy Spencer reports from Fairfax County, where the fire chief has called for a local blog to consider shutting down in the wake of a firefighter's death. Nicole Mittendorff was found dead earlier this month from a suicide. (Published Friday, April 29, 2016)

    A Virginia fire chief blasted a local blog he says included lewd comments about one of his firefighters, who was found dead from suicide this month in Shenandoah National Park.

    “I have initiated a very aggressive internal investigation into who made the lewd, horrible comments on the Fairfax Underground blog,” Chief Richard Bowers said at a news conference Friday.

    Bowers called for Fairfax Underground to remove posts about firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. 

    “I’m appealing to the person who hosts this site to take down the lewd comments and certainly consider shutting the site down,” Bowers said.

    Fairfax County Fire Chief Discusses Cyberbullying Investigation Involving Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff

    [DC] Fairfax County Fire Chief Discusses Cyberbullying Investigation Involving Firefighter Nicole Mittendorff
    RAW VIDEO: Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Bowers held a press conference about the cyberbullying investigation concerning firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, who was found dead in Shenandoah National Park.
    (Published Friday, April 29, 2016)

    The posts were made before she was found dead; Bowers said he does not know if the posts had anything to do with her death. 

    “We need to clean up this blog, and people need to act right,” Bowers said.

    He wants to find out if the comments were written by anyone in the department. He promised disciplinary action if they were, including the possibility of firing.

    Cary Wiedemann, the site’s administrator, does not plan to shut it down and said he has not previously been asked to remove the comments. He doesn’t plan to remove the comments unless, perhaps, Mittendorff’s family requests it.

    “It wouldn’t do anyone any good at this point to censor the past,” Wiedemann said.

    Wiedemann accused Bowers of trying to blame the site when he should be concerned about his own firefighters and the culture of the department.

    Virginia State Police said there is nothing criminal about Mittendorff’s suicide.

    “We have no evidence to suggest the blog posts were a motive for her death,” police said.