PORT VUE (KDKA) – A local volunteer fire chief who responded to a call while drunk will not face jail time.
Cash Cortazzo, the fire chief in Port Vue, was in court today. His charge went from public intoxication to disorderly conduct. He was ordered to pay a $100 fine, plus he has to stay enrolled in an alcohol rehab program.
The situation started back on Sept. 17 when Cortazzo was called out to a vacant house fire on Tacoma Avenue.
A police officer on the scene said the 24-year-old was stumbling and incoherent.
A 911 tape obtained by police also indicated Cortazzo had been drinking.
“Slurred speech, not sure of the location of the fire, what companies he is calling in. It was a little bit disturbing to me,” Port Vue Police Chief Bryan Myers said.
Cortazzo was asked to leave the scene. He was eventually charged with public drunkenness.
Chief Myers said the case has always been about public safety.
“If somebody was entrapped in a house and I had somebody come on scene that was incapable of the safety, then that becomes a problem,” Chief Myers said.
This isn’t the first time Cortazzo has been in trouble with the law.
In July, he received a DUI in Cecil Township, Washington County.
Chief Myers said Cortazzo has been enrolled in an alcohol rehab program for the past two weeks.
“I think when somebody admits that they have a problem and they do go to rehab or at least make the attempt to get some help, I don’t have a problem dropping it down to a disorderly conduct,” Chief Myers said.
As for whether Cortazzo will remain with the fire department, Chief Myers has not received official word that he has been suspended.
He said the Port Vue mayor and council are in charge of operations at the fire department.