One firefighter has been placed on leave and city officials in Atlanta have begun an investigation into photographs that appear to have been shot in a city firehouse and then used in ads featuring female escorts.
Lt. Jathan Dortch has been placed on leave following the photo incident, according to WXIX News.
The photos of provocatively posed women reportedly showed up in what WXIA News has called “sex solicitation ads” posted to the website backpage.com.
WXIA spoke to Dortch at the Station 2 firehouse where the pictures are believed to have been taken. That interview took place Monday. Dortch was placed on leave Tuesday, according to WXIA.
When asked about the photos and how the women would have gotten into the station, he told the news channel that many people come to the station to pose with the trucks.
He added that “we definitely don’t advocate that” when told that the photos ended up on backpage.com.
Citing “high ranking fire officials,” WXIA reports that Dortch has since told investigators that the women gained entry to the firehouse after one of them claimed she was the daughter of a retired firefighter from that station.
Prior to a Tuesday meeting with the city’s fire chief at Atlanta City Hall, City Councilman Ivory Lee Young Jr. told WAGA News that city officials will likely let the fire department conduct its own investigation into the matter.
“It’s clear that these scantily clad people that are focused in the photo array that we have most recently seen, are taking the use of our resources beyond how they are typically used,” Young said. “And I would submit, I would give our Chief Joel Baker an opportunity to investigate and evaluate themselves.”
Chief Joel Baker told WAGA that more information will likely be released as the investigation continues. A full report is expected to be completed later this month or in early October.
“If necessary, the appropriate action will take place,” he added.
“The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department will launch an internal investigation into the matter, and will take decisive action based on the outcome of the investigation,” the Atlanta Fire Department said in a written statement.
Photo credit: Photo via WAGA News