Fate of fire dept. uncertain after sexual assault arrests
Officials decided not to disband the volunteer department and to keep it operating for another 90 days; an interim fire chief was appointed
The Dallas Morning News
ELLIS COUNTY, Texas — An interim fire chief has been appointed for an Ellis County volunteer department after two top officials were suspended in connection with a sexual assault case.
The Emergency Service District No. 6 board said Monday night that Wes Curry of the Forreston volunteer department will act as chief for 90 days for the station outside Waxahachie. Forreston is about 9 miles south of Waxahachie.
Curry takes the place of Chief Gavin Satterfield, 31, who was arrested along with Assistant Chief Billy Getzendaner, 34, after five volunteer firefighters were accused of sexually assaulting a recruit with a sausage.
They are accused of telling the firefighters and the man who was assaulted not to report the incident at the firehouse. They face felony charges of tampering with a witness.
Curry called the Jan. 20 incident embarrassing and said he would lead the remaining firefighters in a professional manner.
“I know most of these guys; they’re great guys, all of them,” he said. “And they just want a chance to restore their name and continue to serve the public.”
The Emergency Service District board also discussed the volunteer department’s future but deferred further action.
“By allowing 90 days ... we give the rest of our volunteer firemen a chance to do what is expected of them,” board member Bill Tilliland said. “I never thought anything in the world like this would ever happen, and I’m sorry that it did.”
The chief, assistant chief and five firefighters have been suspended. Waxahachie Fire Rescue has been handling the station’s calls since it was closed last week because of the incident.
Court records say a series of obscene acts were caught on video as the firefighters held the victim down during the incident, which some have compared to hazing.
The five firefighters facing aggravated sexual assault charges are Keith Edward Wisakowsky, 26; Casey Joe Stafford, 30; Alec Chase Miller, 28; Preston Thomas Peyrot, 19; and Blake Jerold Tucker, 19.
Wisakowsky’s girlfriend, Brittany Leanne Parten, 23, was also arrested and charged with improper photography or visual recording.
All have been released on bail.
Staff writers Tasha Tsiaperas and Naheed Rajwani contributed to this report.
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