NBC 10 I-Team: Cranston deputy fire chief charged with assault

Cranston Deputy Fire Chief Paul Valletta, Jr. (WJAR)

Cranston’s deputy fire chief and longtime union president was arrestedfor an alleged assault at a city firehouse.

Paul Valletta, 59, of Warwick, was charged with simple assault or battery and disorderly conduct following an altercation with another firefighter on Saturday.

The alleged victim, firefighter Scott Bergantino, told the NBC 10 I-Team he was verbally and physically assaulted by Valletta and later treated at Fatima Hospital for a concussion.

Bergantino said he is in fear for his safety if he goes back to work.

“136 guys would probably rather see me dead,” Bergantino said during a phone interview, referring to union membership supportive of its’ president.

The NBC 10 I-Team has learned through those close to the investigation that the heated shouting match at Station 6, which is located on Scituate Avenue, quickly turned physical, with Bergantino allegedly getting punched and pushed down.

Valletta was arraigned at Rhode Island State Police headquarters and released on personal recognizance.

Aside from being a deputy chief, Valletta is the longtime firefighter union president of local 1363 in Cranston. He’s also a lobbyist for the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters.

In 2004, he was charged with disturbing a public assembly after an argument with then-mayor Steve Laffey at a city council meeting. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Mayor Allan Fung said in a statement that Valletta is on paid leave, pending the outcome of an internal city investigation.

Attempts to reach Valletta were unsuccessful.

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