Fired Falcon Heights fire chief Rich Hinrichs was arrested and is under investigation for alleged terroristic threats.
Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies arrested Hinrichs on Tuesday night near Falcon Heights City Hall, according to a sheriff’s department statement.
Falcon Heights City Administrator Sack Thongvanh said he and a council member were the subject of the threats.
In March, the Falcon Heights City Council terminated Hinrichs, citing his angry outbursts and disrespectful language.
The five-member council voted unanimously to terminate the chief, a St. Paul firefighter who worked for Falcon Heights on a paid, on-call basis.
Hinrichs “has consistently violated the policies of the city of Falcon Heights, specifically our policy related to having a respectful workplace,” Mayor Peter Lindstrom said. “There have been interactions with employees from various departments where disrespectful language has been used and angry outbursts have been demonstrated.”
Hinrichs, who had served as fire chief since 2015, has said that his firing felt like a “witch hunt” based on personality conflicts.
“I’ve never had any performance review while employed by the city of Falcon Heights,” he said. “I had not received any information about any current situation. I was basically blindsided.”
Several members of the Fire Department spoke Wednesday in his defense, praising his leadership, dedication to the job and technical skills.
Hinrichs received a $1,000 monthly stipend for serving as chief. He had served with the Falcon Heights Fire Department on and off since 2000, according to city records.
The department, with one firehouse and a $185,000 annual operating budget, has no full-time staff.
According to the department’s 2017 annual report, Falcon Heights firefighters responded to 119 calls including 20 fires, 23 hazardous conditions and 11 rescue or emergency medical situations.
Falcon Heights, population 5,600, occupies 2.3 square miles on St. Paul’s north border.