An Indiana volunteer fire chief is facing the heat after starting a fight with the local police.
Cannelton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Christopher Herzog was charged with battery against a police officer (a level six felony) after pushing Cannelton Police Officer Ryan Foertsch, who was attempting to clear the house and search for victims.
Foertsch reportedly attempted to break the window of a room he could not clear due to thick smoke, which prompted Herzog to push him and tell him to get off of his fire scene. When Foertsch tried to explain his actions, he was shoved a second time and told to leave.
CVFD crews and police squared off over the turf war as civilians watched a house burn- and a fire chief be carried away by police.
“I was in shock,” said Chris Zukeschwerdt, whose house was burning down during the ordeal. ”When I saw the faces of those firefighters- to see their leader being pulled out of here while he was fighting a fire was just unreal.”
A 40-year EMT, Zukeschwerdt says that he’s never seen anything like it in his life.
Resident Francheska Humphrey recorded the incident on her mobile phone.
“What was running through my mind was ‘what’s gonna happen next?” she said. “What happened next was horrific.”
Video shows firefighters being told to pack up and leave by police, with fire crews reeling up their hoses in defeat.
“We’re in charge of this scene now,” Zukeschwerdt said he heard a police officer say to the firefighters, “and a lot of the fire department guys started saying ‘let’s grab our gear and go.”
While Zukeschwerdt reportedly heard the assistant chief order firefighters to stay put and make sure the fire was out, the house caught fire again and burned the structure to the ground, destroying all of Zukeschwerdt’s possessions.
“It’s heartbreaking to see,” Humphrey said.
According to Tristate Homepage, Chief Herzog is reportedly jail and said he was meeting with an attorney.
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