Fairfax County’s fire and rescue chief says his department is investigating accusations of bullying and harassment following the suicide of firefighter Nicole Mittendorff.
The Woodbridge resident’s body was found in a remote area of Shenandoah National Park on Thursday afternoon. The state medical examiner’s office ruled the death a suicide but released no other details.
Mittendorff, 31, had been with the department for three years and most recently worked as a firefighter and paramedic at the county’s station 32 on Burke Centre Parkway.
In the week after she was reported missing April 16, allegations came to light of harassment and bullying of female Fairfax firefighters, particularly in online forums.
Chief Richard Bowers on Saturday morning issued a news release saying leadership is aware of the posts “and we are looking into the matter.”
“I assure you that my department can not and will not tolerate bullying of any kind,” he wrote. “We will thoroughly investigate this matter and take any appropriate actions needed. However, right now we ask that we be allowed to grieve the loss of one of our own.”