Bemidji Fire Chief on leave, still employed, despite rumors otherwise

City Manager Nate Mathews issued a release after some inaccurate information about the Bemidji Fire Chief has been circulating in the community.

Justin Sherwood is employed by the City as the Fire Chief and is currently on a leave of absence.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Yavarow is filling in until Chief Sherwood returns.

Under Minnesota’s government data privacy laws, the city cannot state why an employee is on a leave of absence. ‘

Chief Sherwood has been with the fire department since 2004 and was promoted to Fire Chief last year.

Mathews says the City has never taken any disciplinary action against Chief Sherwood since he began his career.

The Bemidji Fire Department will continue to provide safe, effective and efficient fire services to the citizens of Bemidji and surrounding area.


Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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