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Punches fly at station after firefighter insults colleague’s mother

An argument about overtime during a “Fill the Boot” campaign resulted in Deputy Chief Paul Valletta being arrested for assault

By FireRescue1 Staff

CRANSTON, R.I. — A violent scene unraveled during a “Fill the Boot” campaign that ended with a firefighter under arrest, according to police.

NBC10 reported that Cranston Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Valletta and Lt. Scott Bergantino had a heated argument about overtime while other firefighters were raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Lt. Bergantino told police that their argument turned physical when Chief Valletta pushed him against a chalkboard, punched him in the head twice and then threw him over a chair and onto the floor.

Lt. Bergantino added that when the two were separated, Chief Valletta said, “Don’t worry, I’ll run into you again.”

Detectives listened to an alleged recording of the incident and said they could hear explicit insults being thrown back and forth, including Lt. Bergantino saying, “Go f--- your mother.”

Private Michael Cabral Jr. said he witnessed both the insult and Chief Valletta punching Lt. Bergantino “multiple times.”

“Don’t you ever say that about my mother … call me every name in the book, don’t be saying anything about my mother,” Chief Valletta could be heard yelling in the recording.

Lt. Bergantino said he drove himself to the hospital after the incident for shoulder, neck and back pain and that he also had a concussion.

 Chief Valletta, who was arrested for assault, has been suspended with pay pending an investigation.

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