Madison Co. fire marshal alleges forced resignation

Madison Co. fire marshal alleges forced resignation

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The Madison County Fire Marshal says the county commission forced him to resign following an inspection at Sparkman High School.

He says he was just doing his job - while a commissioner said he made threatening comments.

Tuesday morning, our newsroom got an anonymous tip that Sparkman High School was inspected by the fire marshal this week.

We began making calls, and at first we were told the inspection showed no issues.

Tuesday afternoon, the man who conducted the inspection told us he was forced to resign after questioning if the school was overcrowded.

Ken Andrews did not want to talk on camera, but had plenty to say off camera as he cleaned out his office on Shields Road.

The Madison County Fire Marshal submitted his resignation Tuesday afternoon. He says he had no choice.

Madison County Commissioner Phil Vandiver confirmed Andrews was given a choice, resign or face termination.

Andrews says he did nothing wrong. Vandiver says Andrews made improper comments to the principal.

"I think there were some conversations that went into a direction that I don't think were appropriate, and we're investigating those right now to find out exactly what has happened," Vandiver said. "We'll be looking into it to take care of that issue in the future."

Andrews says he asked to see the school's blueprints and questioned if the building is up to code.

We reached out to Sparkman High School, but they directed us to the school's Chief Operations Officer, Kerry Wilkerson.

We asked Madison County school leaders if they received any report or paperwork citing problems with the school or violations of code.

Wilkerson said he knows of no issues or citations.

"They didn't find anything that was a problem or an issue, and the fire marshal said it's clean, it's safe, it's a great school and everything's fine," Wilkerson said.

Andrews says he feels like he's caught in the middle of a political fight.

Right now, the County Commission and the newly-elected superintendent are at odds over the future of Sparkman High School.

Before Superintendent Matt Massey took office, the school board and the commission approved plans to build a new high school to ease some of Sparkman's overcrowding issues.

Massey wants to put that plan on hold.

We've placed calls to every member of the County Commission.

Phil Vandiver was the only one to comment; we were unable to reach some of the commissioners.

Roger Jones did not know about it, and Bob Harrison learned about it just before our phone call.

Ken Andrews says he did not even have a chance to write his report on the inspection, and that someone in the office will complete that report.

We've requested a copy of it when it is complete.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.