West Midlands Fire chief found dead at home after probe into qualifications for £180k job

24 January 2024, 20:04 | Updated: 24 January 2024, 20:58

Wayne Brown
Wayne Brown. Picture: West Midlands Fire Service

By Emma Soteriou

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) chief fire officer Wayne Brown has been found dead at home.

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Mr Brown, who was part of the London Fire Brigade for 27 years before joining the West Midlands service, was found at home on January 24.

Emergency services confirmed they are not treating the death as suspicious.

It comes after WMFS launched an investigation into claims that his qualifications did not match those required for his role.

He said he had a masters degree from London South Bank University but his alleged alma mater said it had no record of it. The fire chief later removed the details from his LinkedIn account.

A statement from Greg Brackenridge, chairman of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "We are devastated to report that our chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, was this morning found dead at his home address.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious by West Midlands Police.

"All our thoughts and love are with his family, his friends and his colleagues.

"We ask everyone that his family and his colleagues are given time and space at this tragic time."

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West Midlands Police said: "We can confirm that we attended an address in Birmingham this morning where the body of a man in his 50s was sadly found.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious and we are liaising with the local coroner.

"A formal identification will take place in due course.

"The man's family is being supported by specialist officers and our thoughts are with them at this time."

The allegations against Mr Brown were made on social media this week, with the fire service confirming an investigation had begun on Tuesday.

They said in a statement: "We are aware of claims referencing our Chief Fire Officer and West Midlands Fire Service.

"Formal enquiries and processes, in line with our Fire Authority's constitution, are now ongoing in relation to the matters raised. We will undertake this thoroughly and fairly.

"In the meantime, we will not be commenting further."

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