Columbus Township fire chief walks off the job, township officials confirm

Dave Thompson

While few details are being released, it appears Columbus Township Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Thompson walked off the job Monday.

Thompson did not submit a letter of resignation, Columbus Township Trustee Ben Jackson said. Personnel under Thompson’s supervision said he left the fire station at 935 Repp Drive without notifying anybody of his whereabouts, Jackson said.

One person was able to track down Thompson hours later, but the fire chief expressed a desire to be left alone, the trustee said. Calls to Thompson from The Republic were not returned.

After talking to a number of firefighters and medics, Jackson said there were inconsistencies in the stories he heard regarding the walkout.

Since Jackson is not at liberty to discuss personnel matters regarding a subordinate, he would only say Thompson walked off for personal reasons. He also said a public statement would be made after he meets with Thompson, as well as his township advisory board.

Columbus Fire Chief Andy Lay was notified of the situation in case either fire department needed the other for backup purposes.

This is the second time that Thompson has found himself at odds with his employer in five months. Last September, the Columbus Township fire chief was suspended for one week with pay, as well as issued a formal reprimand, for violating a personnel policy regarding employer responsibilities and employee conduct, Jackson said.

Thompson got his start in 1996 when he joined the Elizabethtown Volunteer Fire Department, eventually advancing to fire chief. Columbus Township Fire & Rescue hired him chiefly as a mechanic in 2010. Thompson, a former deputy coroner and Elizabethtown town board member, became a trained emergency medical technician and arson investigator.

Just one year after being promoted to captain, Thompson was appointed by Jackson in April 2016 to succeed Rodney Ferrenburg as chief of Columbus Township Fire & Rescue.