12:30 PM

A man from Crane is facing misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly punching a firefighter in the throat who was working a blaze on the man's property.

The incident report says that firefighters with the Northern Stone/Northeast Barry County Fire Department were working a grass fire June 26th on the property of John Wegrzyn at 20507 State Highway TT, which is at the Stone/Barry county line.

Firefighter Lex Pearson told authorities that he was refueling a tanker when Wegrzyn ordered them up a hill to fight the blaze. When Pearson tried to explain that the truck was full of water, but needed to be refueled, Wegrzyn allegedly called him a lazy f***er and told him to get off his property.

Pearson allegedly told Wegryzn, ""We are just volunteers" and turned to walk away.  The incident report says he then heard Wegrzyn call him another name and turned to face Wegryzn when the landowner allegedly assaulted him.

Wegrzyn says Pearson told him they didn't have to fight the fire if they didn't want to.  Wegrzyn says he told the firefighter to leave his property if he wasn't going to fight the fire to which he responded, "F you" several times.

Wegryzn said he turned around and knocked Pearson to the ground and told him he had five minutes to get of his property, according to the report.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Barry County associate circuit court on September 11th.