Board launches investigation into embattled North Shore fire chief

Updated: Nov. 1, 2017 at 11:58 AM CDT
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COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - The Civil Service Board of Covington-based Fire Dist. 12 voted Wednesday to launch an investigation into Fire Chief Steve Krentel.
The vote comes on Krentel's first day back at work since the homicide of his wife.

Krentel said he is not doing well after one of his firefighters initiated the investigation into allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate as well as theft allegations.

Those were brought forward by firefighter Tom Williamson.

The allegations could open the fire district to litigation.

Krentel admitted to the affair but said his wife was aware of it.

Williamson also accused Krentel of stealing air-conditioning units and damaging fire district property.

"We have specific instances that we have outlined and we would like a change in leadership," said the complainant's attorney Roy Burns.

The civil service board convened, then went into executive session and came back and announced their decision to launch the investigation. The decision was unanimous.

Krentel sat less than 10 feet away from members of his late wife's family but said nothing to them as the board voted to launch this new investigation

"I'm glad there will be an investigation but there's a sign there that says 'don't let your dreams go up in smoke,' and that's what happened to my sister," said Amy Bernard, the sister of Krentel's dead wife.

Krentel said he is not sure what the investigation will uncover, but "there's no basis whatsoever."

The civil service board says they could ultimately recommend terminating Krentel but right now these allegations are simply that and must be investigated.

It has been more than three months since Nanette Krentel's body was found shot in her burned-out home near Abita Springs. The coroner ruled it was not a suicide. No arrests have been made.

The new investigation authorized Wednesday may also look into allegations of nepotism against Stephen Krentel.

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