Fallston fire chief accused of naked sprint

Arrested on street in Ocean City during firefighters' meeting

June 23, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The chief of the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company was placed on administrative duty yesterday in the aftermath of his arrest for allegedly running naked down a street in Ocean City last week, a spokesman for the fire company said.

Gary M. Schwiegerath, 31, of the 2800 block of Harford Road, was charged with disorderly conduct June 14 after an officer allegedly spotted him running down Coastal Highway as onlookers cheered.

Schwiegerath, who has been a member of the company for more than a decade and chief for the the past 2 1/2 years, was in Ocean City to attend a state convention for volunteer firefighters.

Dave Williams, a spokesman for the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company, said Schwiegerath's active duties will be divided among three assistant chiefs pending an internal review.

"Chief Schwiegerath and the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company regret that this unfortunate incident occurred," Williams said. "Gary has been an excellent chief."

Jay Hancock, spokesman for the Ocean City Police Department, said an officer assigned to ride the bus on Coastal Highway reported seeing a man about 2: 30 a.m. running north on Coastal Highway and heard spectators cheering "Go Gary!"

Hancock said the officer left the bus a few blocks away and arrested Schwiegerath.

"The vast majority of these firefighters come down here for training and education," Hancock said. "We, as a police department, have contact with a very few percentage of them. The firefighters are not a major problem."

Schwiegerath, who also is a Baltimore County firefighter, is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 12 in Worcester District Court on a charge of disorderly conduct.

A spokesman for the Baltimore County Fire Department said officials there are reviewing the case. "We hold our officers to a high moral standard, whether they are on duty or off," Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard said.

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