Pa. chief punched firefighter from another department during blaze, police say

Both men suffered facial injuries, and Stowe Fire Chief Matthew Chapman is facing charges of simple assault and harassment

By Justin Vellucci
The Tribune-Review

McKEES ROCKS, Pa. — A fire chief is facing charges after police say he punched a firefighter at a McKees Rocks blaze the two were battling.

Stowe Fire Chief Matthew Chapman was charged Tuesday with simple assault and harassment in connection to the Sunday incident.

The Stowe fire department wrote in a Dec. 4 Facebook post that,
The Stowe fire department wrote in a Dec. 4 Facebook post that, "Chief arrived on scene and found a commercial building well involved with two exposure buildings involved." (Photo/Stowe Township Volunteer Fire Department)

Chapman was the first to arrive on the scene and established fire scene command, according to a criminal complaint.

At about 6:55 a.m., Stowe and McKees Rocks officers heard Chapman and Preston Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Joseph DeFazio arguing with one another, and Chapman was yelling profanities at DeFazio, police said. DeFazio used an obscenity and walked away from Chapman's vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.

Chapman then exited his vehicle and charged towards DeFazio, where a short physical encounter took place, which police had to break up, according to the complaint. Chapman suffered a bloody nose, "which also appeared to be deformed during the altercation," police said. DeFazio suffered injuries to the left side of his face.

Chapman is set to appear before a magisterial district judge for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 31.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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