Milton’s recently ousted fire chief was being investigated for hosting sexual trysts inside his town-owned fire department SUV, sometimes while parked at one of the local fire stations.
The town started an investigation into Dave Pratt in November, and at least two women were interviewed. One told the investigator that she and Pratt had sex inside his fire chief’s vehicle more than a dozen times. The other said Pratt brought her along to two work conferences, and she says expenses for them were paid by the town.
“He was using Milton property, Milton’s vehicle, Milton’s budgets to fund his dates,” said the woman who attended the conferences with Pratt. She asked not to be named, saying she works in a related industry and fears professional repercussions.
Town officials refuse to publicly comment on Pratt’s case or his departure from his $158,000-a-year job, calling it a personnel matter.
Pratt’s employment quietly ended following a closed-door council meeting on March 25. On his LinkedIn page, Pratt says he retired.
Pratt, 51, has not responded to repeated requests for comment. When approached at his Acton home he co-owns with his wife, he quickly closed the door on reporters.
Pratt was appointed to fire chief in July 2017 after nearly 10 years with Milton, a growing community of more than 110,000 people tucked above Oakville and Burlington.
The investigation into Pratt’s conduct was sparked by a complaint from Tricia Staver, a postal worker who lives in Toronto. Staver first met Pratt in July 2018 through the dating website Plenty of Fish. In his profile picture, he is seen smiling, standing in front of a fire-engine red Dodge Durango, a town-owned SUV he drove as chief.
It’s the same vehicle in which the two had sex during their four-month relationship, Staver said in an interview. Sometimes, they had sex while parked outside Station 2 in Campbellville, she said.
“Good morning hot stuff. Happy to report that the Milton Fire Department vehicle is a okay,” Pratt texted Staver following one of their trysts. He texted back a little while later. “Okay, now that it’s warmed up a little bit I can smell us. And I’m not complaining it’s just an observation.”
The couple never had sex in one of the town’s fire engines, Staver said, though she says they had discussed it. She alleges that Pratt boasted about having done it in the past. “He liked to brag that he likes to give women the full fireman experience,” she said.
Their relationship ended in November, after Staver says she discovered Pratt had been untruthful about the status of his marriage. Staver says she later discovered other women who had sexual relationships with Pratt.
One of those women spoke with the investigator hired by Milton. She first met Pratt because the company she worked for at the time had a contract with the town.
Around September 2018, they started dating, the woman, who asked not to be named, said in an interview. That fall, she says he took her to two work conferences for first responders, one in Barrie, the other in Walkerton. She says it’s her understanding her expenses were covered by the town.
Milton hired an investigator from a Toronto law firm that specializes in workplace investigations. The town would not say how much it spent on the three-month investigation.
As part of the probe, the investigator requested copies of Staver’s Highway 407 receipts and other documents that supported where she was the nights she alleged the sexual encounters took place. Then in early March, Staver found out that the investigation was done and back in the hands of Milton.
She only found out about Pratt’s departure from Milton after the Milton Champion, the local newspaper, broke the story. She finally heard from the town again on March 29, in a terse letter that said her complaint had been investigated and Pratt is “no longer employed by the town.”
As part of the probe, the investigator also looked into Staver’s allegation that her sex with Pratt may have been filmed on a dashboard camera. That concern is what compelled her to complain to the town in the first place, Staver said. A Milton official told Staver that no images of her were found during the investigation.
Jesse McLean is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jesse_mclean