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HIRAM, Ohio - The Hiram Village solicitor gathered more than 150 pages of witness statements and findings after complaints emerged about the Hiram fire chief's alleged actions at a raffle this September.
According to witness accounts, Fire Chief Bill Byers was extremely intoxicated during the event at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mantua Township.
Witnesses claim Byers also screamed and cursed at some of his staff, to the point where others needed to intervene.
One witness account reads:
"I placed my body between ____ and Chief Byers and asked Chief Byers to go back inside because they were both obviously drinking"
Other statements talk about the veteran fire chief inappropriately touching women at the party.
But several other statements were made in his defense, one person saying that night:
"He represented the Village and firefighters association in a very positive light"
Chief Byers, in his own written statement denied everything:
"I was not intoxicated, I was not belligerent, disrespectful, nor did I have any inappropriate or sexually provocative contact with any Firefighters, or any guest of the raffle"
After hearing both sides, the Village solicitor found Chief Byers was drinking excessively and he confirmed an incident of inappropriate touching.
Hiram's mayor, Lou Bertrand, recommended Chief Byers be suspended for three days without pay. It's unclear if he's been disciplined yet.