Two volunteer fire chiefs suspended following charges in Ellis County hazing incident

The fire chief and assistant fire chief of Emergency Services District 6's volunteer fire department in Ellis County were suspended Thursday night, shortly after their arrest in connection to a hazing investigation.

Board members made the decision at an emergency meeting.

Arrest warrants were signed Thursday for the chief and assistant chief. The two are accused of trying to keep the sexual assault of a new recruit quiet.

According to the documents, 31-year-old Chief Gavin Satterfield and 34-year-old Assistant Chief Billy Getzendaner tampered with witnesses, which is a first degree felony.

They allegedly learned that a recruit was sodomized with a piece of chorizo sausage, but told others in the department to keep their mouths shut.

Six other people have been arrested for the incident that happened on Jan. 20 at the volunteer fire department in Ellis County -- five firefighters were charged with aggravated sexual assault and a sixth person was charged with improper photography or visual recording.

The arrest warrant affidavit says Satterfield and Getzendaner called in the five firefighters and the alleged victim to a private meeting about the reported assault.

Getzendaner laughed after watching a video of the incident, the warrant states.

The warrant says that the two chiefs knew exactly what was at stake, telling the firefighters that if they didn't keep quiet, "...there would be consequences because law enforcement would investigate this as a sexual assault."

Many people are shocked and ashamed by the recent accusations.

"You have a sense of shock that something like this could've happened or would've happened or the people that maybe involved, I didn't know them well, but I knew some of the folks involved and that they would participate in something like this, sure…yeah, it was very shocking," said former ESD 6 board president Richard Rozier.

The Texas Rangers are investigating the case.


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