Home / Badge Abuse / Fire Chief Arrested For Preventing A Cop From Making A Fire Worse — House Burns as a Result

Fire Chief Arrested For Preventing A Cop From Making A Fire Worse — House Burns as a Result

Cannelton, IN – Volunteer Fire Chief Christopher Herzog was recently arrested for attempting to prevent a police officer from making a fire worse. However, the police version of the story makes it sound like Herzog was some crazed assailant attacking heroes. Now, the firefighter is facing a felony.

When kindergartners are taught to “stop drop and roll,” they are also taught that fire feeds on oxygen and that sometimes a suddenly opened door or window could cause a fire. Unfortunately, Cannelton police officer Ryen Foertsch did not get the memo.

Foertsch was at the location of the fire and in plain clothes, not dressed as an officer and was attempting to smash in one of the windows of the house, a move that could have obviously made the fire far worse. Herzog arrived on the scene to witness the blunder, and attempted to prevent the officer from literally adding fuel to the fire, and tried to get him away from the house.

Sensing that his authority was being threatened, Foertsch arrested the fire chief as the house continued to burn.

To make matters worse, as the house burned, the police ordered the remaining fire crew off of the property, preventing them from doing their jobs and putting lives and property at risk. Officer Foertsch claims that Herzog was shouting obscenities at him and shoving him. However, Herzog says that he was simply attempted to diffuse a dangerous situation, and even if he was shouting at the officer, he had every right to considering the circumstances.

Chris Zukeschwerdt, the man who owns the house that was burning, was horrified by the encounter that he witnessed.

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“I was in shock. When I saw the faces of those firefighters – to see their leader being pulled out of here while he was fighting a fire was just unreal,Zukeschwerdt said.

Zukeschwerdt said that he heard the chief yell to the other firefighters to stay and make sure the fire was put out, as he was dragged away in handcuffs. However, he says that next the police officers took over the scene and ordered the firefighters to leave.

“We’re in charge of this scene now,” Zukeschwerdt says he heard an officer say. Zukeschwerdt said at that point, “a lot of the fire department guys started saying let’s grab out gear and go.”

Sadly, after the chief was arrested and the other firefighters sent away, the police officers did nothing and allowed the fire to completely destroy the house. Herzog was taken into custody and lodged in the Perry County Jail on a charge of battery against a public safety official, a level 6 felony.

Soon after the arrest, Herzog was bailed out of jail by Cannelton Mayor Mary Snyder.

It is important to note that the National Incident Management System, which sets national standards for first responders in emergencies such as this, states that the first fire unit arriving on the scene of a house fire are the ones to take command of the incident, which means that Herzog was within his rights to take charge of the situation when he arrived on the scene.

It seems that officer Foertsch was more concerned with his own ego and perceived authority than he was with saving lives, which is a dangerous consequence of giving a person unlimited power.

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John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John is currently battling cancer naturally, without any chemo or radiation, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments please donate here.

  • anarchyst

    …all the more reason to privatize all police departments. You can be sure that their insurance bonds would make them behave themselves…they would then have to work for the citizenry–no lord over the citizenry as is the present case…

    • The Cat’s Vagina

      Yeah, let’s drop all pretense and just encourage our police force to prioritize profit over public safety. Sounds like a FABULOUS idea, giving an armed corporation the right to shake you down whenever they feel like it. *rolls her eyes*

      • anarchyst

        You are missing the point. What we have now is “corporate-style” control of police departments. It is almost impossible to sue for relief, if the “powers that be” (municipalities and state laws) deny your valid claim. Their almost total immunity assures that their behavior will not improve. Look at how many bad cops merely move to another locality and get hired again–to continue their bad behavior.
        By privatizing police, you put the power back in the hands of the citizens. It would be much easier to get rid of abusive individuals AND departments if they were privately-run. There would be NO immunity conferred on them. Abusive cops could easily be gotten rid of. In addition, it would be possible to sue for damages. Something that is extremely difficult to do now.

        • The Cat’s Vagina

          When the military did just that by hiring private companies to do some of their soldiering for them, the net effect was pretty much exactly the OPPOSITE of what you’re describing. http://listverse.com/2014/01/07/11-frightening-facts-about-private-military-companies/

          • anarchyst

            You are correct. However, the major difference was that the Department of Defense–a government agency was responsible for hiring and controlling the contractors. Privatization was not a factor as a government agency hired them.
            Big difference, as with a privatized police department the PEOPLE would be responsible to oversee their activities…


          • TeslaFan

            You’re absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong. A liar.

          • anarchyst

            …what am I “lying” about. go back to your mother’s basement and play video games. Leave the intelligent discussion to the adults…

          • TeslaFan

            What are you lying about? EVERYTHING. If not, then your mind has simply turned to sheit. Good luck with that, punk. You are the perfect corporate tool, spokesperson for the one percent and you’re not even one of them. Hahahaha. They’re laughing at you, honey. And so is everyone else.

        • TeslaFan

          By privatizing police, you give private citizens–rich people–control over everyone else. You are sick in the head.

          • anarchyst

            what’s wrong with ALL non-government citizens , rich and poor having a say in the operation of a privatized police department?

          • TeslaFan

            You are so stupid, it’s unbelievable. Privatized means privately owned—not publicly owned where anyone outside the company has ANY say in what happens. OMG. You are dumb.

          • RobWJr

            I’ve read the thread and tried understanding your position, but it makes no sense to me. If citizens had control of private departments now, we’d have “Black Lives Matter” controlling the police departments, all based on lies. Ordinary citizens do not know what goes on in separate cases, as has been proven time and time again, and rumors thrive. Just look at Ferguson, Baltimore, or almost any other incident where a black person has been shot by police. I say black person, because more whites are shot by police every year, but you never hear about them. As it is now, police are run by private citizens, yet you don’t even realize it. Cities are an entity that exist by themselves. Residents of that city elects representatives to represent them and those representatives oversee the different aspects needed to run a city. Your suggest is nonsense, but I’m not surprised to see a person with your screen name pushing for it.

          • anarchyst

            As it stands today, your “elected representatives” could give two sh!ts about ordinary citizens. As long as the municipality has a large checkbook to pay out, police abuses will occur with impunity. My suggestion eliminates police unions, which are a large part of the problem, as they protect the guilty and refuse to protect the few “good” cops that want to do things right. Also, it would eliminate “policing for revenue”, as they would have no statutory enforcement powers as far as traffic laws are concerned.
            Private policing could work on a district basis–not necessarily a whole city…
            Many rural townships do not have “single source” trash collection. It is up to the individual resident to get rid of his trash. There are a half-dozen trash haulers that compete for business. If one trash hauler does not do a good job or charges too much, there are alternatives. The same could work for private policing…

          • RobWJr

            If you have elected representatives at the local level who don’t care about you, then it’s your own fault. The people are the ones who vote them in to represent them. If it was a private force, who would hire them? Why the municipality they’re in, and again that’s your representatives. Really, just try to think it through.

    • TeslaFan

      Privatized police departments work for private companies. As you know, liar.

    • Hugh Culliton

      In no way could that solve the problems facing law enforcement in the US. Privatization would make things much, much worse. Oh yes, it can get a lot worse.

  • Too bad the bacon wasn’t fried up.

    • Joel W

      Coincidentally today is apparently “National Bacon Day.” Would have been a grand way to celebrate the occasion.

  • charles_goldman


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  • doucyet

    The police state strikes again……..

  • Blaine

    “the police ordered the remaining fire crew off of the property”

    I’d sue them all, for property loss, emotional anguish etc. I’ve never heard of anything more intentionally, criminally idiotic. There must be legal recourse when LE prevents the fire dept from responding in the absence of an active shooter.

    I’m not even sure what my homeowner’s policy would do – the rates are influenced by everything, including distance to the nearest hydrant. Everyone in that town is liable to see their rates go up.

  • The Cat’s Vagina

    It sounds like these idiot cops have put the city on the hook for buying this guy a new house. Hope they sue big and win!

    • BlissfulScribbler

      No problem. After all, it’s not their money being spent. Also, it’s Indiana, so I’m sure that those rednecks will bend over backwards in getting the cops raises in the next year.

  • James

    when there is fire, the Fire Department should outrank all police officers on the scene. If I was a firefighter and the cops tried to shoo me away I would have turned my fire hose on them

    • Hugh Culliton

      As the story said, the senior fire fighter on scene automatically assumes command. I like your idea of hitting him with a couple hoses. What a dip-shit.

      • Ed

        Bullets can penetrate Water, what are you thinking! I am sure cops “fear for their life” when hit with water!

        • Hugh Culliton

          True. If he’s this dumb in the first place, than the cop should be treated as dangerously deranged.

  • Cody

    The homeowner’s insurance company should sue the police department and recover the loss. That’s how insurance works – they go after the party responsible to recover losses.

  • Andy Lyke

    Indiana —, who’s surprised?

  • Friesjones

    Off duty and out of uniform and failed to obey the actual authority in charge. I say charge him with Interfering With an Emergency Response Team and Arson. After all, he was caught red-handed at the scene trying to fan the flames.

  • Joel W

    When the “Brave Boys in Blue” start arresting fire fighters (actual brave heroes) for doing there job, you know we are in serious trouble and police are entirely out of control. FUCK THE POLICE.

  • FiuToYou

    Where do they find these idiots? At the ‘Nuts and Sluts’ store. This is the dumbest cop in the world, and that’s saying ‘low on the pole’!!!! I hope I see a brand new house on that lot paid for solely by that peckerwood cop^!!! Unreal!!!

  • saganhill

    Why didn’t the fire fighters tie up that stupid cop so he wouldn’t be a danger to everyone there? These stupid cops have to be fired.

  • Gordon Klock

    How do these cops look in the mirror & fail to see the unbelievably stupid asshole looking back at them ? Little four year old children have more common sense, than these brain damaged clowns ! These guys should be embarrassed for existing…(just had to vent at such profound egopooping at the expense of some poor guy’s house)….

  • Alberto

    More the reason to grant firefighters the authority to arrest police officers who interfere or fails to follow the firefighters command, firefighters are the ones in charge when it comes these situations. Policemen are not trained to fight fires or know the protocols, the officer should’ve been reprimanded for failure to follow protocol. I for one believe firefighters should be granted this authority and we the people should vote to make this happen on the next ballot.

  • Action Bill

    What I found interesting was the comments at the linked site -Law Officer. Even the commenters there (I assume are all cops) are unanimous in their disdain for Officer Ryen Foertsch. The Fire Department Chief is the highest ranking authority on the scene, not some ego-centric cop who likely knows diddly about firefighting.

  • Greg Geitner

    i am 68 years old. NEVER, in my wildest dreams did i think this insanity would be all pervasive. this truly is no country for old men.

  • Steve Rusk

    The cops are still trying to see just how far they can overstep their boundaries.

  • Ibcamn

    typical cop….why is it cops think they are god…oh wait,yea,the ”god complex”,it comes with the badge.
    cops are nothing more than reponder’s,that’s it,nothing more.they commit crimes against the people and cause way more harm than any good they do.cops are the ego driven assholes you see in movies,they are just like that,corrupt and dumb as the day is long…they don’t know that im guessing,but when you give a tiny bit of authority to a person with the IQ of a turnip,this is what you get….nothing good,just a criminal.

  • John C Carleton

    I would say that the homeowner needs to sue the hell out of the cops jurisdiction. The Firefighters need to go as high as needed to have charges brought against every cop at the fire for interfering with first responders which the law clearly states has jurisdiction.

  • David Hall

    Everyone needs to email or call that cop shop and demand that stupid low IQ POS turd brain cop be fired and jailed.

  • phobia-ist

    Volunteer Fire Chief. I’m guessing all the guys are volunteers and the gear and equipment are scraped together through the city, state and county funds.
    I wonder how much fire training the cop has. The state AG could bring charges against the hothead cop. The Mayor should probably just fire the prick.

  • Pat Taylor ╚(ಠ_ಠ)=┐

    My first question regarding the Zukeschwerdt family … is this possibly Donut Nazi retaliation for an as of yet un-disclosed situation of discourse between this family and the Donut Nazi’s?

    Secondly … other than being belligerent and displaying great dis-regard for those that they have allegedly taken an oath to protect and serve, why was it so important to obfuscate the Fire Department from performing it’s duty?

    At the very least … the >strong>Donut Nazi’s are exhibiting great retention of the Israeli military training they have been receiving – they all view themselves as being at war, the people which they allege to serve, are the insurgents.

  • JayGoldenBeach

    At the least, he should lose his job *and* have his state police certification permanently revoked.

    I can’t wait to see how this cop – or his police union spokeshole – will try to defend his outrageous actions.

  • That’s exactly the problem… another ego-driven cop that has no business being a cop.

  • Bill Falkner

    Why is it when someone gets a badge, they feel as if they know everything or believe they are a god?