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Dilworth council fires longtime fire chief

Kurt Kennedy

DILWORTH – The City Council here fired the longtime fire chief who has been charged with making threats against the council and city staff.

Kennedy, 49, was charged in Clay County District Court in December with one felony count of making terroristic threats. He allegedly said the department ruined his life and he had a plan for revenge against several members of the Fire Department and City Council, at one point allegedly saying he was going to “burn everyone’s house on the Fire Department,” according to court documents.

The council held a special closed meeting on Thursday. After an hour discussion behind closed doors, Mayor Chad Olson made a motion to terminate Kennedy’s employment, effective immediately.

Kennedy had been on paid administrative leave.

Kennedy, a member of the department since the 1990s, was president of the Clay County Fire Chiefs Association until resigning in October, according to a Clay County Fire Chiefs Association meeting agenda.

According to court documents, Kennedy told police he does not remember making any threats.

Kennedy made his first court appearance on Jan. 23. His next appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

If convicted, Kennedy faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Kennedy could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

The Fire Department is comprised of about 30 members.

Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy and former assistant chief Mark Empting is listed as the current Dilworth Fire Chief on the city’s website. Empting is also listed in the criminal complaint as a target of threats made by Kennedy.

Dilworth is currently in the process of searching for a police chief after Josh Ebert resigned in September after eight months at the post.

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