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Dilworth sacks longtime fire chief accused of making threats

DILWORTH, Minn. – The Dilworth City Council fired the longtime fire chief who has been charged with making threats against the council and city staff.

Kurt Kennedy, 49, was charged in Clay County District Court in December with one felony count of making terroristic threats. He allegedly said the department ruined his life and he had a plan for revenge against several members of the department and City Council, at one point allegedly saying he was going to “burn everyone’s house on the Fire Department,” according to court documents.

The council held a special closed meeting Thursday. After an hour discussion behind closed doors, Mayor Chad Olson made a motion to terminate Kennedy’s employment, effective immediately.

Kennedy had been on paid administrative leave.

Kennedy, a member of the department since the 1990s, was president of the Clay County Fire Chiefs Association until resigning in October, according to a Clay County Fire Chiefs Association meeting agenda.

According to court documents, Kennedy told police he does not remember making any threats.

Kennedy made his first court appearance Jan. 23. His next appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

If convicted, Kennedy faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Kennedy could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

The fire department has about 30 members.

Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy and former Assistant Chief Mark Empting is listed as the current Dilworth fire chief on the city’s website. Empting is also listed in the criminal complaint as a target of threats made by Kennedy.

Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.