The Trumbull County Coroner has determined that a former Liberty Township firefighter died from an accidental overdose of the powerful opiate fentanyl.

John Beard, who was also a paramedic, died on April 12 at his home after being taken to a hospital for a drug overdose.

Beard’s death figures into an investigation of three other members of the township fire department involving drug use and drug trading.

Fire Lt. Justin Graham, Lt. Josh Cleland and Capt. Chris Olson have been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation of alleged drug use on the job at the Belmont Avenue station. 

According to a report, Beard, Olson, and Graham tried to cover up Beard’s overdose and had agreed to tell everyone that Beard had a panic attack

Investigators say hundreds of messages between Graham, Cleland, ad Olson documented the trading, sharing, and purchasing of prescription drugs and illegal drugs among members of the fire department.

The investigation has already resulted in the demotion of former Fire Captain Cathy Macchione to the rank of firefighter.