Akron Firefighter Charged with Heroin Possession

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AKRON-- Akron firefighter and paramedic Mark Hoffman has responded to hundreds of emergency calls since joining the department in August 2011.

But investigators say it was Hoffman who needed help, when his fellow firefighters responded to a 911 call from his home on Sunday afternoon.

Akron police spokesman Lt. Rick Edwards told FOX 8, "Officers and paramedics arrived, found a 27-year-old male laying on the kitchen floor. At that point, it appeared to be a heroin overdose, found the needle laying on the floor, and they found a bindle of heroin laying on the kitchen counter." After Hoffman was revived by paramedics and treated, he was charged with possession of heroin.

FOX 8 went to Hoffman's home to get his side of the story, but there was no answer at the door.

Among the questions the city of Akron is now trying to answer is whether Hoffman ever used heroin or was ever under the influence of the drug, while on duty.

Akron Fire Chief Rob Ross says Hoffman is now on sick leave, but that could change, because according to the chief, Akron safety forces have a zero tolerance policy for illegal drugs.

Police say the use of heroin is reaching epidemic proportions, a problem that a paramedic like Mark Hoffman would see on the job every day. "We respond to calls daily for either heroin where we're finding heroin in traffic stops in people's cars or people overdosing on heroin, and we've had multiple deaths as a result of an overdose of heroin," said Lt. Edwards.

Hoffman is scheduled to be arraigned next week on the heroin possession charge.

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