FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) - Sexual harassment allegations, cyber bullying and lewd Facebook postings by an official are prompting a group of women firefighters to speak out.
Wednesday, several firefighters gathered at Station Eight on Annandale to shine a positive light on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
“We feel like we've worked really hard to earn the respect of the citizens and we'd like to see the positive come back into the light,” Alisha Reakoff said.
Reakoff has been a firefighter-paramedic with the department for five years. She helped organized Wednesday’s event, which included several male fighters who stood in support behind them.
She said the department is a family, but like any family, there are black sheep. A reference perhaps to whoever slandered firefighter Nicole Mittendorff with offensive and sexist posts in an online forum.
Mittendorff disappeared in mid-April and after an extensive search, her body was found in Shenandoah national park. She had taken her own life.
The women would not answer any questions about Mittendorff. They also would not discuss Guy Morgan, the Professional Standards officer in charge of investigating workplace complaints.
Morgan was the head of the investigation into the cyber bullying of Mittendorff, before Fire Chief Richie Bowers put him on administrative leave after lewd and sexist content were discovered on his Facebook page.
None of the women would say if they attended meetings with Chief Bowers on April 30 or a second one in early May in which Morgan's Facebook page were brought to the chief attention. They said they only wanted to share their personal stories about themselves.
The women said that they do not want to deny or diminish any of the women who have come forward with complaints. They just wanted to bring their positive stories about acceptance understanding and compassion in their workplace.