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Raw video: Latest clip shows what lead up to Uniontown, PA Fire Chief Chuck Coldren’s confrontation with citizen.

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Previous coverage here, here & here

Since the posting on June 11 of the video from the day before showing Uniontown, Pennsylvania (Fayette County) Fire Chief Charles Coldren confronting self-decribed activist Chris Shellhammer we have received almost 800 comments on the blog and on Facebook. I have never seen so much agreement among our readers. With the exception of a very few people, everyone thought Chief Coldren’s actions were wrong.

For the most part, the small number of people who have defended Chief Coldren indicated they know him and pointed out that we don’t know what happened before that confrontation. Even Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike said Chief Coldren had to be provoked for him to react the way that he did.

Shellhammer and his family have indicated from the start that more video had been shot leading up to Coldren’s tirade. Well, here it is. It was posted yesterday to YouTube by Shellhammer. In the description Shellhammer writes “Note the children walking through the ‘emergency’ scene at the 2:00 min mark.”

That I can see, the video is very boring. If there is provocation I am missing it.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Chris

    This chief was clearly unhinged. There was clearly no danger to the guy filming the scene. Even the firefighters weren’t in full turnout gear. The citizen wasn’t in the way at all. Then, on top of that he got out of the way as the chief asked. IMO, the chief just decided to be an asshole because someone had a camera.

  • JackWagon

    Well, There you have it. The entire video and there was NO provocation. I must be missing something too Dave.

    I think we should all bombard the Mayor’s email with this entire video.

    • Kathryn Jones

      Please do.

    • RJ in florida


      ok mayor (and chief) now that the ENTIRE video is out and the guy was doing NOTHING WRONG will you now do the right thing and kiss this guys butt BEFORE lawyers get involved?

      give him his PUBLIC APOLOIGY and the chief gets a 10 day rip AND mandatory anger management and you need to do this fast because the “chief going on vacation” made it seem like he “ran away” with the blessing of the mayor while this stewed on the internet

      Condon was wrong, the 2 goons with him were too and the cop failing to enforce the law is another screwup

      if it was me I would have been on the horn to a lawyer, the state police and the DA’s office and the media would have been granted interviews to any and all media outlets

  • Joaeph Schmoe

    The additional footage pretty much confirmed what I garnered from the initial clip. El Jefe was way out of line in many ways.

    At the bare minimum, a public apology is in order as is training in scene control and response to potentially hazardous situations.

    It might just be time to pull the pin and call it a career. The Chief’s emotional filters appear to be missing or severely damaged.

    Good luck Chief, this doesn’t appear to be going away.

  • Rrknn20

    Happy Retirement Chief!
    You are an absolute JERK!
    My guess is that you have been in the Mayor’s pocket for years.
    If he defends you – he should go down with you!!

  • Just speaking my mind. . .

    WOW the Chief and the Mayor should just quit. . . The 1st video didn’t show much to scenario or being provoked, but a chief making an ass of himself. Talk about looking even worse than ever. This is just a damn shame. Not 1 area taped off or anything serious in nature. You have to be kidding me for a bomb threat / scare. Chief you are an absolute disgrace to the fire service. How one can carry on like that is beyond me and still be able to hold a position.

  • GPTroy

    so after watching this video I still think that this fire chief should be fired. Also the 2 goons he pulled with him to intimidate the cameraman should be let go also. This is an extremely good example of a piss poor choice by this fire chief showing off and trying to bully this guy who did nothing, except follow the directions of backing up as ordered by this chief. I know if I was part of this fire dept I would leave this department in embarrassment at the actions of this guy.

  • Jamest55363

    1. There should have been tape up or a perimeter established if needed.
    2. The guy video taping knew he shouldn’t be there. That’s why he stopped at the beginning.
    3. Training, training, training Chief!
    4. Emotions run high at any scene for Fire Fighters. All of our equipment is very expensive and we are proud of it! Who wants someone walking around the trucks?.
    5. If something would have happened to the guy video taping, if he was injured, whose fault (lawsuit) do you think it would be.

    No Excuse Chief! Watch your mouth in public!

  • mark

    Come on Dave, it’s obvious.

    You really can’t see the provocation?

    He…….well……….ya know, he’s not the Fahr chief. That’s the provocation.

    Or the Fahr chief was embarrassed about those stupid shorts that were too long or pants that were too short. That’s the best I can come up with.

    • slackjawedyokel

      chieffy was expecting a flood, that was his swift water/ high water ppe.

  • Guy Kowalski

    This so called “Fire Chief” is still an asshat. He is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself.

  • Capo


    They are hoping this will blow over and that everyone will forget what happened when the chief returns from “vacation”. They are hoping no one will notice that there is no “investigation”, or that the publicity on this subsides enough that there is so little interest no one will care about the details of the “investigation”.

    This is abuse of power. It is gross incompetence putting lives at risk. It is unchecked aggression against innocent people. It is the embodiment of what is keeping the fire service in the dark ages and emblematic of the tribal, high school cliquish, good ole boys club that puts lives at risk for the sake of personal fifedoms.

    Don’t let this go, Dave. Keep at ‘em.

    • Kathryn Jones

      Thank you, sir.

  • ThatGuy

    WoW, what a pathetic display of professionalism on the part of the fire chief


    It appears that Chief Coldren & Captain Smart attended the same Scene Security & Public Relations seminar.

    As I’ve mentioned before, what makes people behave like this when they’re obviously staring into a camera?? It’s not like either case involved a hidden camera. Amazing.

  • Puzzled

    First off, what I’ve read about the videographer, there is apparently some “bad blood” with the city leaders which might include the Fire Chief. Regardless, it is a public street and he has the right to video.

    Second, from what I’ve read, this was a possible bomb call. That in itself would justify clearly marked boundaries (scene tape) to keep lookie loos back. Kinda hard to maintain control of the scene without it.

    Now, the question of provocation. The videographer kept moving up and then one side to the other as he was apparently spotted each time. He then decided to push it and moved forward when he was caught. Provocation? Perhaps. But that IMO does not justify the actions and language of the Fire Clown and his clownettes. Regardless of what the mayor said, the demeanor and use of language also indicate to me that this IS the way this clown acts and talks in his everyday life and dealings with people.

    A simple; “I’m sorry sir, but for your safety, I need you to step back behind the apparatus” would have been much more preferable, shorts or no shorts.

    • Kathryn Jones

      “Apparently spotted”? I should hope so, given the amount of face time the Chief actually gets on camera in those 7 minutes. Now, sir…just exactly what boundaries did he push? There were civilians (including children) walking all over that scene. The camera operator did everything right…including walking around the perimeter of the scene rather than through it like the others to get to a better camera angle in an alley away from the emergency activity. The Chief singled him out for his activism regarding the courts and local police. There has never been any activism directed towards the Fire and Emergency services protecting this city. Please stop with the speculation designed to minimize this crime.

  • Old Man1

    He is still a power hungry beer bellied foul mouthed poorly dressed Chief. Sure glad I don’t live in that city with a mayor that is supporting this tool.

  • Former Chief

    Inept elected officials often times lead to inept administrators and employees. But let’s all be honest, I would venture we have all seen members of the emergency services interact poorly with our citizens. For every incident we see on video like this, or MDFR, or Somerdale, NJ, there are probably countless similar encounters that are not caught on video or publicized. We can only hope that when inappropriate behavior is displayed, that it is dealt with and corrected. If not, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we’re not as highly regarded as we’d like to be. I’m just glad I don’t live in Uniontown, PA>

  • mdff

    As stated earlier, the chief is almost assuredly a Pittsburg Steeler fan so he is predispositioned to be an under achiever. I seen this before and it ain’t (should of used isn’t,just wanted to be on their level) pretty. He and his cronies can’t help themselves. If he is fired that will reflect badly on the entire community (of Steeler fans). As a Baltimore Ravens fan I completly understand their dilemma.There will be no winners in this complexity of mediocrity,just whiners and losers.

    • Steelers.

      Dude, we have six rings.. Under Achiever? Mediocre? We have 20 division titles, 26 playoff births, 8 AFC championships, and 6 super bowl victories.. Baltimore has 4 division titles, 9 playoff births, 2 AFC championships, and only 2 super bowl victories.. The fire chief was a fool, but you are an idiot.

      • mdff

        The fans “dude” not the team. Sensitivity training for you. Lighten up or reinforce my comedic diatribe,your choice.

        • Kathryn Jones

          LOL! Gooooo Steelers!

  • slackjawedyokel

    gotta wonder -are the ones defending this guy , the type that walks up to you -hitches up his pants (4 pagers, two HTs , a mag light and four medic shears drag your pants down)and announces in his best “Allstate voice” -FIRE DEPARTMENT !

  • Anonymous

    What I see through this whole non-event is a family of “activists” seeking to antagonize local officials, all in the hope of winning a lawsuit so they won’t be “criminalized by poverty” any more!

    • Kathryn Jones

      If this were about money, we could have cashed out years ago. This is about awareness. This is about civic duty. You really should not be hiding behind an “Anonymous” tag to present facts which are not in evidence. If you have substantiated information as to our motives, please feel free to present those facts. Otherwise, you are just making guesses…and uneducated guesses at that. Have a nice day…:)

    • Kathryn Jones

      And one more question, Anonymous….

      The “criminalized by poverty” thing you mentioned. The Tribune Review reporter did a background check on the camera operator before she even interviewed him. Your post suggests that the camera operator is both a criminal and poverty stricken. Do you have any facts to back up your claim? Because I am pretty sure the reporter will tell you what she told us about the criminal background of the camera operator, and that is…there is none. And since we are ALL employed, true poverty is not something we deal with. Stop trying to defend the indefensible. It’s people like you who enable the “abuse at will” policy to exist in the first place. Thank you for your time.

  • Chris R. Williams

    Good ol boy protected his job…..What a discrace to the Brotherhood………Vol..or Paid…..very unprofessional ,,,,not impressed with his title of Fire Chief…acts like a FNG or probbie at a scene…nuff said…………..Lt.Williams

  • ukfbbuff

    Glad I watched with my Firegeezer Coffee mug next to me full of java or I would have fallen asleep.

    No; sirens sounding, smoke or fire visible, sounds of radios or of glass breaking, chain saws running or PPV motors sounding.

    I’ve seen more fire action in the photo array’s of the Colorado Springs, Co. fires than in this story.

    Could understand if there was some video of a patient being brought out of one of the houses, but even that didn’t occur.

    No, SWAT or Haz Mat Teams, nothing but idling emergency Equipment on a public street.

    At least out here in California, we can take all the video we want and one would tend to ask;

    “Take my picture and can I get a copy”

    The Chief, was wrong!

    Anger Management Training or Pink Slip him.

  • Bruce Cardigan

    This “Chief” had no markings on him that showed that he was with the fire department, let alone the Chief. I would have asked the same question to a person who was wearing shorts, T-shirt and yelling at me to leave. The police officer handled himself professionally and the way the “Chief” should have handled himself. If the scene was so dangerous, why did the “Chief” pull two fire fighters away from their duties to protect the community? It must be remembered that most fire departments (unless private) are paid for with tax dollars. So are the employees.

  • 117Truck

    ive been a career firefighter for 21 years and in my opinion the chief is a scumbag … you dont act like that regardless.

  • Ex-Lt . Mark

    This second video confirms what 90 percent of the viewers knew all along. No provocation , no edging on , no nothing. Just a so called Fire Chief on a major league power trip . As for the the people posting in support of the Chief’s action due to people with cameras always getting in the way, so on and so forth . I wish that cameras were the only thing most departments face at their scene . What about the the fire departments that daily go into hostile resonse areas where just getting out safely is a priority. God forbid if this chief or his crew were put into a gang mentality scene or facing someone that would not have been so compliant??? Put your tail between your legs Chief / Mayor and face the music. Excuses are like assholes , everyone has one and they usually stink!!!

  • Fire21

    Aside from the fact that the cameraman lied to the lady (“It won’t be published, I can promise you that”), he did nothing wrong. The “chief” just went off on him, uncontrollably. Yep, anger management classes plus social relations classes plus some time off to think about it, or out the door.

    • Kathryn Jones

      We spoke with the woman whose voice is heard in the video the next day. She was aware of the increasing significance of the first five minutes of the video and gave her permission at that time to use it uncut. The camera operator did not lie to anyone. If she had refused permission a second time, the audio of her voice would have been edited out of the video. We are pleased she changed her mind, as the integrity of the video evidence is of paramount importance. An independent investigation will answer any and all lingering questions regarding this interaction. All we want is an independent investigation.

  • Anonymous

    I’m questioning your motives,Ms. Jones, which is my 1ST Amendment right!You seem to have an broad lawyer’s vocabulary and you are quick to attack anyone who doesn’t see it your way!
    Civic duty my a!!. Professional victims…


    • Kathryn Jones

      You are not questioning our motives. You are speculating…again. There is a difference. If you have questions, ask them. And if you have facts to substantiate your speculation, please feel free to share those facts. I will not apologize for my vocabulary, nor will I apologize for ensuring that the narrative of these events remains untainted by…here’s that big word again…speculation. Believe what you will, say what you will. I’ll put your nameless and faceless speculation up against our indisputable facts as long as you continue to devalue our rights and duties as citizens. Again, if you have questions, feel free to ask. I don’t really believe you have any legitimate questions though. If you did, you would be calling for an investigation as well, rather than making ugly claims about my family that have no foundation in reality.

  • Questions

    To me, there are too many questions still remaining. I understand that none of them will “justify” the situation but I would still like to hear the answers.
    Had this gentleman had run in’s with the Fire Dept or Fire Chief before?
    Does the Chief have a history of this kind of behavior?
    If there is nothing going on in the video and nothing exciting to see, why was there a need to video record it?
    Was it to intentionally antagonize city officials such as the Fire Chief simply because “he can”?
    What kind of “activist” is this guy?
    Its funny Ms. Jones discusses simply editing a bystander’s voice out of the video. Could other part simply be “edited out”?

    I am in NO WAY justifying the Fire Chief’s actions. As a leader he should keep his cool. But, if this guy is a “fire stalker” or someone who follows all city officials around trying to be a savior of the taxpayers then I could see where the FC would be tired of seeing his face. Let’s face it, our jobs are one of split second decisions. Mistakes are made on every single incident. If you, as an FC, have had to deal with someone like that, then you just might have blown a gasket too. I personally don’t know this guy, but I’m not a fan. People looking to be on the spot reporters make our jobs that much more difficult. Most of these types are looking for YouTube fame. Congrats Mr. Statter!!! You have managed to give him and his “activist” posse just that! Please just give me one good reason why anyone besides media NEEDS to go to emergency scenes and video them??? And don’t give me the crap about “because he can”! NEED?

    • dave statter

      Questions, Using your standard I shouldn’t run any fire videos shot by the public, which is probably 60 ot 70 percent of what I run. So I guess I will make you happy and close up shop.

      The Constitution didn’t make a distinction over who can and who can’t be a reporter. These days everyone is a reporter and the courts have recognized that. You can fight it all you want and think you should be the editor in chief and be the decider, based on your personal standards, what the we should be allowed to take pictures of.

      I guess we should also stop all these videos by firefighters in the name of “training” because they aren’t the media. Or, in your world, are firefighters a special class of people who should be allowed to take pictures?

      I think I am aware of a country or two that tells its citizens when and where they can take pictures.

      BTW, that damn Abraham Zapruder was another one who didn’t have a good reason to take the pictures he was taking. Something tells me in five months and two days we are going to see alot of his film shot 50 years ago.

      • here’s my concern

        Agreed Dave. But I’m on this site all the time. I see things like Capt Smart from Florida and it really bothers me.
        There is a side to this however, that also bothers me. No doubt this chief was wrong – way over the limit. But I start to get a strange feeling when I see people on the other side so involved (a person who is repeatedly commenting to this story). It’s hard to explain it, but I almost feel like there is a “now I’ve got you where I want you and I’m going to squeeze as much as I can with a vengeance”. Not sure if that makes any sense. thanks.

        • dave statter

          And what is the answer to that? Very simple. The chief and mayor admitting from the start that the chief screwed up, explain the town’s policies and tell us how you will prevent it in the future. If you handle it that way, it doesn’t matter what the motives are on the other side, you will have taken the sting out of their arguments. If the chief had come out right away doing this, I imagine a majority of the people on here would come to the conclusion that maybe he was having a bad day and maybe he is not the ogre that he presented on video. Having that support will mitigate a lot of your problems and begin to neautralize anyone with hidden agendas.

          • here’s my concern

            Yep, I have to agree with that 100%. Thanks.

        • Kathryn Jones

          There is no hidden agenda. The agenda is out there for all to see. And your characterization….”I’ve got you where I want you……”, could not be more accurate. This was Divine Intervention…a gift from God. The video and its aftermath could not speak any more clearly to the corruption we work to expose had we written the script and played all of the parts ourselves. If the Chief would have offered an apology when he was given the opportunity, this would be a dead issue. But he chose to dig in, collude with the Mayor, who is on record promising an investigation, and go with the “provocation” excuse. That excuse was diffused with the release of the second video. Now, according to a reporter from the local paper, the new and improved “official position” is that the camera operator was using rude gestures and silently mouthing obscenities towards the firefighters. An official and independent investigation will bring an abrupt end to that excuse as well. Again…yes, there is an agenda. But we had no idea the Chief of the Fire Department would figure so prominently in that agenda. Please continue to call for an independent investigation.

    • mark

      Let’s see;

      1) Doesn’t matter, the chief is allegedly the professional as well as the employee of the taxpayer and should treat him as such.

      2) According to the mayor, never. So either the chief had a nervous breakdown or the mayor is lying. I’m going with the second option.

      3) Who cares? You ever see all the garbage posted on Youtube? What if there had been a bomb that exploded and this video had evidence to convict the bomber (maybe you’ve heard about the Boston bombing a couple months ago)? Do you know what is going to happen in the next 5 minutes?

      4) Who cares? If the city officials can’t handle a taxpaying citizen videoing them, they’re in the wrong job. If they can’t handle some antagonism, they’re in the wrong job.

      5) Who cares? It’s a free country.

      6) Could be. But why wouldn’t he edit out the part about telling him to place fire line, the closest thing to “antagonizing” I could see.

  • Kathryn Jones

    1. The camera operator has not had a “run in” with the Fire Department ever. He does not video EMS services. This was a first for the UFD and the only reason he was there was because the police were there. No, he does not chase the police department all over the city, he simply keeps an eye on what’s going on in his neighborhood.

    2. From the comments we have read regarding this video, the answer seems to be yes, although we can’t speak to his demeanor from personal experience.

    3. The camera operator did not know what was going on, so he just kept the camera rolling as he observed the scene.

    4. We “antagonize” deserving individuals within the police department and the courthouse, but not entire departments or agencies. And it’s not because we can, it’s because it needs to be done to restore order and sanity to our community.

    5. Yes, there was a discussion about editing the woman’s voice, but thankfully, she agreed to allow him to post the video with its integrity intact. If there are questions regarding the integrity of the video, please feel free to insist that an independent investigation take place to answer your concerns.

    Thank you for you time.

  • Mike

    He looks like he is dressed for a NASCAR race then an emergency scene. Totally un-professional, and why our fire apparatus that close to a suspicious device scene anyways if its such a safety concern?

    • slackjawedyokel

      Im a NASCAR fan , and I have never seen a man wearing his wife’s capri pants at a race, I think he is dressed more fitting for a “Walmartian”

  • livindadream

    The fact that Chief Jacko antagonizes the videographer as he is leaving is proof that he is a coward, a punk and not someone who belongs in the position of authority. Small town America, where those in charge are slow to change when changes doesn’t suit them. Wake up boys! Its 2013 and the whole world is watching.

  • Anonymous

    Reading through all these comments and questions on all the videos, there has definetly been a lot of good points brought up about the scene itself. i e nobody in PPE, [or fully dressed out ], units parked directley in front of scene, [best we can tell, it would be one of the structures on the passenger side ], other people walking through, [ including man in civies who took the same route as the videographer { the man is seen crossing the street in front of the engine so I take it he did not have gear on the engine to put on nor is he involved in the situation } the two children ] The one thing that hasn’t been brought up is the guy in the shorts [ he damn sure isn't a chief ] yelling at the cameraman to GO BACK BHIND THE ENGINE,meaning he would have to WALK BACK through that dangerous, scarey, unsecured, scene. He was smarter than the guy yelling by suggesting he walk down this side street to get out of the way and when the police officer asked him to leave he asked about walking straight up the street and not going to the right the way he came in, thereby he would not compromise the scene safety by having a civilian on the grounds. How he could have compromised it any more than it already was, I don’t have a clue! I’m sure from just reading some posts that seem to know more than I do about this place, IF, there is anything done or said to the people it will be a little while for these not so bright leaders to think up a good bs story.

  • JOE