Borough investigates employee in fireworks incident

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NaugyTownHall2NAUGATUCK — The borough human resources department is investigating a parks department employee who is accused of setting off the fireworks that prompted the lockdown earlier this month of Andrew Avenue Elementary School.

Police applied for a warrant to charge the employee with breach of peace and illegal use of fireworks, but the application was rejected by a state’s attorney or a judge at Waterbury Superior Court, said Lt. Bryan Cammarata, spokesman for the Naugatuck Police Department.

Once the criminal investigation was concluded, the matter was turned over to the human resources department, Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

Police and borough officials would not name the employee being investigated.

The employee is still working and is not on leave, said John Lawlor, director of human resources.

The department is reviewing what involvement the employee had in the incident and whether he was on the clock, Lawlor said. The department’s initial understanding is that the employee was on his morning break, Lawlor said.

The borough is still in fact-finding mode and has not yet held a hearing with the employee, said Lawlor, who expected the investigation to conclude in the next few business days.

The fireworks were set off just after 9 a.m. on March 13 near Foley Field, prompting passers-by to report gunshots in the area of Andrew Avenue Extension and Andrew Mountain Road.

The reports put the elementary school, which enrolls almost 250 students between kindergarten and fourth grade, into “code black” mode. Entire classes hid in supply closets for about half an hour with their teachers.