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Hammond Mayor Responds To Noose Found In Firehouse: 'That Doesn't Fly With Us At All'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A disturbing discovery inside a fire station in northwest Indiana.

Now one firefighter is on leave because of what was found in a locked office. CBS 2's Marie Saavedra talked to the mayor about the investigation.

"Hammond is the most diverse cities in Indiana. Our fire department knows what kind of city we are, and what's tolerated and what's not."

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. drawing a clear line after what he said the city's technology staff found last Thursday inside Fire Station Two. They went into a locked office to install cables and saw a noose.

"One of our firefighters, who happens to be African American, saw this unfortunately," McDermott said. "And also a bunch of drawings on a chalkboard that were explicit, not racial, but still not appropriate at all."

The mayor said they belonged to the firefighter who worked in that office.

"The person claimed responsibility for it, and made a case that it was more a joke," McDermott said. "It wasn't racial, but that doesn't fly with us at all."

McDermott himself asked the Hammond Police Department to run an internal investigation as to what was happening inside Fire Station Two.

"It's important to me, as a Caucasian mayor in a diverse city, that all our residents know how important this is to me personally, as a mayor," McDermott said. "It's intolerable."

That firefighter is on paid administrative leave as they're a member of the union which comes with protections. Once there is an outcome to this investigation, the mayor said there could be more suspensions, or the firefighter could be fired.

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