Fire chief on 'required leave'

Acting Chief Fire Officer John Bodden has been placed on ‘required leave’ – suspended with pay – from the Cayman Islands government, pending the outcome of a police investigation against him, Ministry of Home Affairs officials confirmed Wednesday. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said Mr. Bodden had not been charged with any crimes as of Wednesday, but remained on police bail on suspicion of dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident. 

Mr. Bodden was arrested at the George Town Police Station last Thursday and his vehicle seized as part of the police investigation. 

Meanwhile, the recruitment process for a full-time Cayman Islands fire chief was proceeding, according to officials and a final decision was expected shortly. 

The Jan. 26 car crash that led to Mr. Bodden’s arrest occurred on Shamrock Road just before 7 p.m. 

A 14-year-old boy suffered serious head and leg injuries after he was struck on the pedestrian crossing outside Savannah Primary School. His 21-year-old brother was also hit while walking across the four-lane section of road. The elder brother was treated and released from the Cayman Islands Hospital shortly after the crash. The younger boy was hospitalized for several weeks afterward and police said Thursday that the 14-year-old has since been released from hospital. 

The Cayman Islands Fire Service – which hasn’t had a permanent, full-time fire chief since early 2013 – named veteran firefighter Ronnie Dixon as acting chief in Mr. Bodden’s place. Mr. Dixon currently serves as a senior divisional officer for the fire service’s domestic division.