Top New Bedford fire official on injury leave fired after video surfaces

A Massachusetts mayor has fired a top fire official out on injury leave after he was captured on video lifting heavy equipment.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said Tuesday that Deputy Fire Chief Paul Coderre Jr. was terminated based on “dishonesty and untruthfulness in connection with alleged work-related injuries.”

He said Coderre, who also previously served as acting fire chief, “betrayed the trust” of firefighters and “took advantage of city taxpayers" who footed the bill for his injured-on-duty benefits.

“New Bedford residents expect and deserve a Fire Department whose every member adheres to the highest professional standards, regardless of rank," Mitchell said in a statement posted on the city website.

The message included three surveillance videos, including one showing Coderre lifting what city officials say was a 176-pound barbeque smoker grill from the back of his personal pickup truck, without assistance.

Coderre's lawyer didn't respond to a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

Mitchell said Coderre received more than $200,000 in injured-on-duty benefits while he was on leave from August 2020 through the end of 2021 after claiming he sustained several work-related injuries in 2019.

Last year, the city ordered Coderre to undergo an independent medical examination after an investigation by the city’s personnel office uncovered the video surveillance evidence.



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