The fire chiefs from all 12 of Chester County’s volunteer fire departments will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday night after one of the chiefs and his brother – a former Chester County Councilman – were arrested over the weekend following a scuffle with Sheriff Alex Underwood and other deputies.
And despite what might point to an outside probe of what happened because the sheriff and his officers are the alleged victims, the State Law Enforcement Division has not been asked to look at what happened.
The meeting of the non-profit group will likely adjourn into executive session so that the chiefs can review what happened when Andy Martin, West Chester chief, and his brother Tommy Martin were charged with assault, Agee said.
Chief Andy Martin and his brother, Firefighter Tommy Martin ,from South Carolina’s West Chester VFD are in an ugly dispute with Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood, Sheriff’s Office Captain Robert Sprouse and deputies. It brought the arrest Saturday night of the Martin brothers at their homes. The arrests stem from a dispute over who was in charge of an accident scene Friday.
The sheriff is alleging the Martins yelled obscenities and assaulted the law enforcement officers. The fire chief calls it a “fiasco”. The local newspaper (below) believes this could ultimately be a battle over who has control of Chester County 911 dispatch system.
West Chester Volunteer Fire Department Chief Andy Martin and his brother, firefighter Tommy Martin, responded to an overturned 18-wheeler Friday afternoon.
Police say the men got into a scuffle with deputies about traffic control around the scene on South Carolina Highway 9 near Turnbuckle Road in Chester.
Tommy Martin pushed the sheriff, police say. Both men were arrested at their homes Saturday night and charged with assault. Each spent one night in jail.
The altercation over whether the highway should have been closed and who was in charge has both sides pointing fingers at the other for how the situation was handled.
The ongoing court battle over control of Chester County’s 911 dispatch system an a sheriff’s election that’s still two years away also have been brought up as elements in the scuffle.
Andy Martin told The Herald on Monday that he was upset that he had been arrested. He called the way the incident was handled by the Sheriff’s Office “a fiasco” and “a shame.”
“I have volunteered out here for 40 years,” Andy Martin said. “I was the incident commander. I have devoted my whole adult life to the fire service.”
Andy Martin said deputies treated him “like a hardened criminal.” Underwood and his deputies “overstepped their bounds,” he said, first by handcuffing for 10 minutes him at the crash scene, then by arresting him at his home a day later. He said he has talked to a lawyer but has not yet hired one.