An investigation into the removal of an oxygen cylinder from the Middletown Volunteer Fire Department in May by its fire chief was recently completed with no action being recommended. 

According to a report from the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services, the regulatory authority that oversees EMS agencies and certified EMS providers in Virginia, on May 23 the agency received an anonymous written complaint that stated Middletown Fire Chief Mark Dalton had removed and "dispensed" an oxygen cylinder after being reminded that in Virginia it is considered a drug and could cost the agency its license and him his EMT certification. 

Dalton had no comment when contacted by the Northern Virginia Daily.

The agency's investigator spoke to Dalton by phone on July 16. Dalton told the investigator the incident occurred more than nine months earlier and that it was addressed immediately, according to the report.

The report states Dalton explained to the investigator during the phone interview that the volunteer fire department had a long-time member who in May needed to be transported from a hospital to a rehab facility. A family member of the volunteer told Dalton that their physician said family could make the transport and asked if they could borrow oxygen for the transport. 

The chief told the investigator that he gave the family the oxygen cylinder, the reports states, and that within minutes, another member of the fire department told Dalton that may be a violation of the Virginia OEMS regulations.

The investigator was told by Dalton that he immediately verified through a Frederick County career employee that it is a violation and contacted the family, asking them to return the oxygen, the report states.

The oxygen was immediately returned - unused, according to the report.

The investigator asked the chief if this had been done before and Dalton replied that for years in Alexandria, where Dalton had been a professional firefighter, and in Middletown, if a member needed assistance, they would loan them anything, including oxygen or a staffed unit, etc., and that to his knowledge it was not a violation of the regulations, according to the report. 

In an entry dated July 30, the investigator recommends no action be taken, which was approved by OEMS supervisors on Aug. 1.

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