City responds to inaccurate information about Bemidji Fire Chief

Oct. 6—BEMIDJI — The city of Bemidji issued a statement on Thursday afternoon addressing misleading and inaccurate information that is circulating in the community related to Bemidji Fire Chief Justin Sherwood's employment status with the city.

According to City Manager Nate Mathews, Justin Sherwood is still employed by the city as fire chief.

"Chief Sherwood is currently on a (personal) leave of absence. Under Minnesota's government data privacy laws, the city cannot state the reason for an employee's leave," Mathews said. "Deputy Fire Chief Mike Yavarow is fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of Fire Chief until Chief Sherwood's return to work for the city."

Chief Sherwood has been employed in the city's fire department since 2004 and

has been fire chief since 2021.

"The city has never taken any disciplinary action against Chief Sherwood while he has been employed with the city," Mathews added. "The Bemidji Fire Department, under Chief Sherwood and Deputy Chief Yavarow, will continue to provide safe, effective and efficient fire services to the citizens of Bemidji and the surrounding area."