W Mich. firefighter accused of harassment in Ind.

Target 8

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A firefighter who recently joined the Cutlerville Fire Department in metro Grand Rapids left his last fire station under troubling circumstances.

More than a dozen women have alleged that Former Penn Township Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Kazmierzak sexually harassed them. At least one woman said it went on for more than a decade.

Kazmierzak is no stranger to news cameras. He served as a fire expert for the South Bend, Indiana, ABC news affiliate, WBND. But two months ago, he got camera shy when the station investigated and interviewed his accusers.

“I’m here to stand up and say he is a predator,” former Centre Township firefighter Julie Tekler told WBND. “He has violated multiple women multiple times in multiple ways.”

The woman levelling allegations against Kazmierzak include female firefighters, paramedics and EMTs and dispatchers in St. Joseph County, Indiana.

“He made it known that he was a chief and he would use his fire department vehicle to try and stalk you,” said Ivy Tech Community College paramedic instructor Christine Peterson, whose mother said she was also a victim of Kazmierzak’s harassment.

Target 8 showed WBND’s report to the Gaines Township Supervisor Robert DeWard, who oversees the Cutlerville Fire Department.

“We’ll definitely look into it,” promised DeWard, who said he hadn’t seen the report. “We’ll dig into it.”

The man who hired Kazmierzak, Acting Fire Chief Paul Sheely, was out of town Thursday and did not return Target 8’s request for comment. Kazmierzak could also not be reached for comment.

“I have the upmost confidence in our fire chief,” DeWard said. “He looked into it and found that the allegations were false, but we will do our own research.”

Kazmierzak is working part-time at the Cutlerville Fire Department. Since 24 Hour News 8 started looking into it, his employment is under review.

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