Hixson (WATE) – A firefighter was arrested Sunday for aggravated robbery in Hamilton County, according to investigators.
Currently, Steve Ratledge is on leave without pay from Station 19 in Hixson, according to ABC-affiliate WTVC.
“Public trust is our number one,” said Chris Adams, Chattanooga Fire Chief. “That’s our bloodline. So it’s a crucial blow to the fire department.”
Investigators say a man in a hoodie and bandanna robbed the Raceway on Hixson Pike.
“Found out there was some film footage that they reviewed, and found out that the shorts and tennis shoes matched the description of the firefighter who came in earlier and purchased something,” said Adams.
Ratledge was found at a car crash on Highway 153 later. Investigators say his car matched a witness’ description.
“Anytime a firefighter does anything that doesn’t save a life, or protect property, that’s against our mission statement,” said Adams. “There may be way more to the story than what we know. So I’m not going to speculate. I know this individual, I this individual’s family. And they’re very good people. So I don’t know exactly what’s going on.”
Adams told WTVC that Ratledge never had disciplinary issues during his career.