Four New York City firefighters were suspended yesterday for a month without pay and face departmental charges arising from a New Year’s Eve brawl at their Staten Island firehouse that a new report says was fueled by a pot of sangria, a 30-pack of beer and an argument over the date of Elvis’s birthday.
The report details on-duty drinking and a cover-up in which some of the men would admit only to seeing “red liquid with fruit” or “a golden liquid,” reports the New York Times.
Criminal and departmental charges had already been filed against Firefighter Michael R. Silvestri, accused of hitting Firefighter Robert Walsh in the face with a metal chair that night. Walsh will also be suspended and served with administrative charges when he returns from medical leave, fire officials said.
The newly released report detailed how a boozy celebration of the holiday and a successful fire run became a frenzied cover-up after the fight. The report said the trouble started as the shifts were changing between 5 and 6 p.m. for the Engine 151 and Ladder 76 companies.
A captain sent Walsh out to buy a 30-pack of beer for the firehouse while Silvestri prepared a pot of sangria, his specialty, according to the report.
Soon, Walsh and Silvestri were arguing about Elvis Presley’s birthdate–Jan. 8, 1935–and their conflict escalated into name-calling, threats and violence when Silvestri hit Walsh with the chair.