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Following firefighter's death, New Britain investigates firefighters for drug use

New Britain Fire Department
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
New Britain Fire Department Headquarters, New Britain Connecticut May 17, 2022

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart is calling for random drug testing for city fire personnel to deal with “illegal substance abuse” within the city’s Fire Department.

Her office said the issue became apparent after an investigation into the death of a 36-year-old firefighter in January.

The state medical examiner’s office said firefighter Matthew Dizney’s cause and manner of death is officially listed as “pending." An obituary says he died unexpectedly at his Southington home.

"My office has done everything within our power to remediate the situation and ensure that New Britain residents will continue to receive the highest level of service from their first responders," Stewart said in a written statement. "We will also settle for nothing less than a random drug test policy for the entire NBFD."

The Hartford Courant reports that seven firefighters were suspended, while another firefighter was fired following the internal investigation.

A lieutenant in the department was fired in February after that investigation showed he was “knowingly supplying, giving, selling, sharing and using illegal drugs and (his) prescription Adderall pills, and had lied about it,” according to a termination letter from Stewart that was first obtained by the Courant.

The city’s fire chief declined a request to comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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