A Signal Mountain firefighter resigned last month after being mistaken for a burglary suspect while dressed as a woman and performing a sex act on another man inside the Shackleford Ridge Road fire station.
It was 11:15 p.m. on Oct. 6 when a Signal Mountain police officer drove by Fire Station No. 2 and saw what appeared to be a woman inside the fire station's lobby and a man standing just outside, according to an investigative report. In the parking lot, he saw a black Dodge pickup truck with an Alabama license plate that he did not recognize.
The officer thought he may have just witnessed a trespassing violation or a burglary, so he looked in a window to the training room and saw the two people engaged in a sex act, the report states.
The officer entered the building and saw the man running toward an exit while zipping up his pants, according to the report. He yelled at the man to stop and ultimately apprehended him outside.
Once the man, who was from Alabama, was in custody, he told police that the woman he was with was actually a man, and that man was a firefighter who had let him into the building, the report states.
Then the Alabama man told police the firefighter was hiding in a restroom in the training room and showed them text conversations with the firefighter. The texts showed that the firefighter had been trying to convince the Alabama man for about a week to travel to the fire station for the sexual encounter, the report states.
The Signal Mountain officer looked for the firefighter inside the restroom and surrounding rooms but was unable to find him.
Then, a firefighter who had been in the bay area began helping in the search for the suspect, according to the report. That firefighter later turned out to be the suspect himself, police said.
The officer noted that he became suspicious of the firefighter "due to his odd behavior in how he was looking through the areas and how items such as a pillow on the floor of the training room in front of the chair where the sexual act was being performed had been moved to the counter" and that other items had been moved around.
The only firefighter who was in that area without the officer was the suspect firefighter, the officer noted, and the firefighter in question "had what appeared to be lip gloss on his lower lip."
The officer then had three firemen who were on the premises gather in the day room and told them about the situation and "that my conclusion was that it was one of them."
The suspect then asked the officer to step outside to talk, the report states. Once outside, the firefighter admitted to being with the other man but denied any sexual act.
The firefighter was then asked by fire station administrators to collect his belongings and leave the premises until contacted by the administration, according to the report.
In a statement, he told investigators he'd been texting the Alabama man "about a relationship with my wife outside of work."
"I was talking with this man about a personal issue with my home life and it should of stayed that way, I would've addressed the issue earlier with the officer, but it all happened so fast. Nothing like this has ever happened before nor will it happen again Please forgive me."
The firefighter resigned a few days later.
The Alabama man also gave police a statement, admitting to the sexual encounter and stating that he did not know the firefighter; they had communicated only online.
The Signal Mountain Fire Department did not return a request for comment.
Contact Rosana Hughes at 423-757-6327, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.