Firefighter: Firehouse in hazing incident has 'party atmosphere'
Five volunteer firefighters were arrested for sexually assaulting a rookie with a sausage; a civilian was arrested for recording the incident
ELLIS COUNTY, Texas — A day after five volunteer firefighters were arrested for sexually assaulting a rookie, people with ties to the district spoke out in disbelief.
Fox4News reported that the incident, which occurred at the Emergency Service District #6 Volunteer Fire Department in Waxahachie, Texas on Jan. 20, involved the firefighters using a chorizo sausage to terrorize a rookie. The five firefighters face aggravated sexual assault charges and a sixth faces a charge for improper photography or visual recording.
The arrest warrant affidavit states the trainee told authorities the firefighters stripped off his pants, bent him over a couch and held him down. They looked for a broomstick before deciding to use the sausage in the assault, according to the report.
Richard Rozier is the former president of the board over ESD #6 volunteer firefighters.
"You have a sense of shock that something like this could've happened or would've happened or the people that maybe involved, I didn't know them well, but I knew some of the folks involved and that they would participate in something like this, sure … yeah, it was very shocking," said Rozier.
A former volunteer firefighter at ESD #6 said that there was hazing, ridicule and embarrassment while he was there, according to the report.
"It's definitely a party atmosphere there … a definite lack of professionalism,” said firefighter-medic Tom Egan.
Egan joined the department in 2012 and left after two years, saying he recalls the hazing that went along with it.
"It was always just, you know, ridicule, embarrassment … nothing physical, though,” said Egan.
At least two of the board members from ESD #6 met with attorney Clay Hinds to figure out what their legal responsibilities are, according to the report. One of their tasks will be to decide if some or all of the fire department should be disbanded.
"Well, it is in the early stages at this point. So, I don’t have any handle on where we are headed with this thing yet," Hinds told the Daily Light. "My understanding is that they (ESD6 board members) are going to have a special meeting as soon as they can get that notice out. Other than that, there are not any specifics that I can tell you. I just want to assure the public that there have been adequate safety measures that have been taken for the residents of ESD 6 until decisions have been made to either suspend part or all of the department and find other volunteers and whatever actions they may take."
"We're ashamed this happened and can't even imagine why it happened," Bill Gilliland, an ESD #6 board member for the past 15 years said.
Gilliland said some of the volunteer firefighters from the firehouse went to West right after the explosion to help.
"I hope this doesn't overshadow all the good work we've done for the citizens of this district," he said.