DONALDSONVILLE - A firehouse confrontation last year over missing firefighting equipment ended in a fight that left one firefighter hurt, a lawsuit alleges, and led to the firing of another.
The fight was over a series of pranks for which firefighter Joshua Lovell believed his co-worker, Kevin Armbruster, was responsible, according to the suit.
The fight ended with Armbruster striking Lovell with the metal nozzle of a fire hose, the suit states.
Filed Aug. 17 in the 23rd Judicial District Court by Lovell, the suit seeks unspecified damages. Armbruster and the city of Donaldsonville are named as defendants.
According to the suit, Lovell arrived at work Sept. 2, 2010, to find his equipment missing. It was the last in a series of incidents, according to the suit, in which Lovell’s “firefighting gear had been repeatedly tampered with, soiled and hidden by (Armbruster).”
In his answer, filed Sept. 13, Armbruster denied that he struck Lovell and that he had any knowledge of the hidden equipment, but he did acknowledge the verbal argument.
When Armbruster arrived at work the next morning, the verbal confrontation began, which led to the physical altercation, according to the lawsuit.
Toward the end of 2010, the Municipal Civil Service Board in Donaldsonville voted to terminate Armbruster after a three-hour hearing into the matter, said attorney Marvin Gros, who handles Civil Service cases for the city.
The Donaldsonville Fire Department and city administration recommended a 30-day suspension without pay for Lovell, Gros said, but the case has not come before the Civil Service Board yet.
Lovell’s hearing has been continued because of scheduling conflicts with the attorneys involved, Gros said, but the case could come before the board as soon as Oct. 24, which is the next meeting date.
“I believe (Lovell) is in the process of getting another lawyer to represent him, so I can’t say for sure,” Gros said.
Attorney Luke Williamson, who is representing Lovell in the pending civil suit but not in the Civil Service hearings, said he’s still in the process of gathering information on the extent and severity of Lovell’s injuries stemming from the incident.
“This was a workplace-rooted dispute that got out of control,” Williamson said. “There’s a lot of discovery in the matter that’s ongoing. But there is no doubt that he was injured.”
Armbruster said he is in the process of hiring an attorney to represent him in the civil case, but declined further comment.
Donaldsonville Fire Chief Chuck Montero said he could not comment on pending lawsuits.