Neighbors react to fire chief's son's arrest

Victim accuses teen of sexual abuse 2 years ago

PALATKA, Fla. - Neighbors reacted Monday to the arrest of Palatka fire chief's son on a charge of sexual battery on a victim younger than 12.

Cody Lambert, 18, the son of Fire Chief Mike Lambert, was arrested last week.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the accuser says the teen sexually abused her about two years ago. Lambert would have been 15 or 16 years old at the time.

"We've know the kid since the day he was born," neighbor Marvin Lansford said.

Marvin and Linda Lansford live a few houses down from the Lamberts.

"I'm hoping that it's a big mistake," Linda said of the charges. "I know the parents are devastated. I know the whole family is absolutely devastated."

"The mother, I understand, is totally wiped out," Marvin said.

Officials with the Palatka Fire Department said the chief wasn't at work Monday. His government-issued pickup truck was in the driveway of his home, but no one answered the door for comment.

Fire Department officials said the chief is out of the office this week for a vacation that was planned before his son was arrested.

The Sheriff's Office said Cody Lambert was scheduled to make his first appearance before a judge Saturday. He's currently being held without bail.

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