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Port Vue fire chief pleads guilty to disorderly conduct

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 3:41 a.m.

Port Vue fire Chief Cash Cortazzo pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at a summary trial on Monday.

Cortazzo, 24, was fined $100 and ordered to pay court costs by Glassport Magisterial District Judge Armand Martin.

Cortazzo was charged with public drunkenness stemming from his alleged actions during a Sept. 17 blaze near the borough's fire hall.

“It was just a misunderstanding,” Cortazzo's attorney Gary Matta said, adding that his client is taking steps to deal with his problems.

“My client already has signed up for classes” at Mon Yough Community Services, Matta told Martin.

“He's going to do whatever is requested of him through the program, whatever the court would consider appropriate,” Matta said.

Cortazzo was cited at an early-morning fire that damaged a vacant house along Tacoma Avenue, two doors from Vigilant Hose Co. No. 1, where he is chief.

The fire was extinguished quickly with help from Liberty and Lincoln fire departments. Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office said the blaze was suspicious in nature.

Matta said borough police were lenient with his client.

“The kid evidently needs some help,” police Chief Bryan R. Myers said.

“(Cortazzo) is a public servant,” Matta said. “He does a lot with the young, teaching them about fire safety.”

In addition to his volunteer work in the borough, Cortazzo is a part-time firefighter in McKeesport.

Cortazzo still has one set of legal problems before him. In Cecil Township, Washington County, he was charged on July 16 with driving under the influence.

He waived a hearing and was freed on $2,500 bond.

His next court appearance is a hearing scheduled for Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski, who occasionally is on loan to the Washington County bench.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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