Atlanta top firefighter suspended in investigation of risqué photos

A top Atlanta firefighter is now on leave because of an investigation into risqué photographs taken at a city fire station allegedly to advertise an escort service, Channel 2 Action News reported Tuesday.

Assistant Chief Todd Edwards told the Atlanta public safety board Tuesday that the unnamed lieutenant went on paid administrative leave Tuesday until an internal investigation into the use of public-safety equipment to stage the photographs is completed, Channel 2 reported.

Edwards said the lieutenant was in charge of Fire Station No. 2 at the time the photos were taken at the station. He said the investigation may be finished this week or by the end of the month.

“Being the highest ranked person on duty at that time is why that person is the one that we’re going to talk to the most at this time,” Edwards said. “This was an unfortunate incident and, again, we’ll go through all the proper investigations and make sure there was nothing inappropriate at that time, and we’ll go on from there.”

The photos, which depict multiple women posing provocatively in front of a fire truck and wearing Atlanta Fire Rescue gear, appeared on the website Backpage Georgia as recently as Sunday, Channel 2 reported.

Backpage, an online classifieds portal, advertises escort services. It has also been accused of facilitating sex trafficking. One photo caption read: “Absolutely Astonishing” and “VIP service available all night.” The ad states that the woman is 22 years old.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed’s office said the women in the photos are not city employees.