A municipal firefighter and paramedic in Bath has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest last week on suspicion of operating under the influence while he was responding to a possible drowning.

James W. Perry, 54, was responding Thursday night along with several other emergency personnel to a report of a lost swimmer or possible drowning off Washington Street, Bath Deputy Police Chief Robert Savary said in an email.

Perry, who has been a city firefighter since 2006, was responding to the call as a paramedic for Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where he also works part time.

Police who also had responded noticed that Perry seemed impaired, Savary said. He was questioned and then arrested on suspicion of OUI. The drowning report turned out to be unfounded; the person was later located.

Bath City Manager Peter Owen said Monday that he couldn’t comment on Perry’s arrest but did confirm that he was placed on administrative leave.

“There are a lot of details we still need to sort out with this, so at this point, we’re not going to comment,” he said.

Judith Kelsh, a spokeswoman for Mid Coast Hospital, said in an email Monday that Perry also is on leave from his job there.

“We take these matters very seriously,” she wrote. “Upon learning of the incident, Mid Coast Hospital immediately placed James Perry on administrative leave. He is not currently an active employee of Mid Coast Hospital.”

Perry was released on personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 6.

Eric Russell can be contacted at (207) 791-6344 or at: [email protected] Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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