Inspector General: Probe of Fire Marshal's Office underway - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Inspector General: Probe of Fire Marshal's Office underway

Butch Browning Butch Browning

Louisiana's State Inspector General has launched an investigation into allegations surrounding the State Fire Marshal's Office, the 9NEWS I-TEAM reports.

State Inspector General Stephen Street would not give any details about the investigation, what led to the probe, or when it might be completed.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning retired from his job Tuesday effective immediately.   Browning says he is not the target of any investigation and resigned to take a job as a superintendent at a plant in Ascension Parish.  Browning says he received the job offer several months ago and it was "too good to pass up."  Browning told 9NEWS he was not aware that the Inspector General has an ongoing investigation against the Fire Marshal's Office.

The Fire Marshal's Office falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety.  State Police spokesman Doug Cain confirmed a trooper has been assigned to work alongside the Inspector General's Office as they investigate "several complaints" surrounding the Fire Marshal's Office.  Cain would not elaborate but pointed out that the investigation will determine if the complaints have any credibility or if they are unfounded.

State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says Browning has been credited with making sweeping changes to the Fire Marshal's Office through reorganization and cross-training of personnel.  "The citizens of Louisiana have been fortunate to have had Butch serve as their Fire Marshal," Edmonson said.  "His commitment to fire safety and prevention was unparalleled."

Browning was quoted in a news release about his retirement issued Tuesday afternoon.  "I leave the Fire Marshal's Office proud of our accomplishments and the dedicated service of the Office of State Fire Marshal employees with whom I've served," Browning said.

Browning was appointed to the position of State Fire Marshal in March 2008.  Prior to that, he was the Fire Chief for the City of Gonzales.

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