• Investigators finish report into coverup of accident involving Ocoee firefighter


    OCOEE, Fla. - The State Attorney's Office said it is deciding whether to file charges against several Ocoee Fire Department leaders for allegedly covering up an accident during a training exercise.

    A firefighter was injured when he fell during a repelling exercise in April.

    Authorities finished their criminal investigation Friday, though they won't say what their findings were. Investigators said no information will be released until the State Attorney's Office can review the case.

    At the center of the investigation are fire Chief Pete McNeil and Lt. Corey Bowles.

    "There is no way in this world that I would end my career on a note for covering up for anybody," McNeil said in July.

    McNeil gave that statement after an outside investigator hired by the city found the chief and Bowles fabricated a story to make it look like the repelling rope broke.

    The report, however, found operator error was really to blame, and experts testified that Bowles cut the rope to cover up for mistakes that led to the fall.

    In July, the city manager requested a criminal investigation be done.

    The original investigation called for the fire chief to be fired and Bowles to be put on leave. Both are still on the job as prosecutors decide what to do next.

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