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Medford Fire Lieutenant on Paid Leave After Alleged Assault

Paul Spencer is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

A Medford firefighter is on paid leave after he was arrested for allegedly beating an acquaintance with a pair of electrical pliers, according to city officials and police reports.

Fire Lt. Paul Spencer, 56, faces charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery after an incident at a Howard Road home on Oct. 14 that left another man with a bloody head wound and unable to move his fingers, according to a Medford police report.

Fire Chief Frank Giliberti placed Spencer on paid leave last week when the charges came to light, Giliberti said Monday. Spencer had not faced any disciplinary action from the department as of Monday afternoon, Giliberti said.

"I don’t have all the facts yet," he said. "That’s what I’m doing right now -- I’m collecting the facts."

Three witnesses told police Spencer had been drinking and working on the heating system in the basement of the Howard Road home when an on-going argument with the alleged victim flared up, according to a Medford Police report.

When one of the witnesses tried to break up the argument, Spencer took the pair of electrical pliers and repeatedly pounded the other man's head until another witness pulled him off, according to the report, written by Medford Police Officer Joseph Byrnes.

Spencer left out the front of the home and fled in a pick-up truck, witnesses told police. He was arrested in Melrose hours later, according to the police report. The victim had to be hospitalized as result of the head injuries, the report said.

Giliberti said he would not comment further on the situation, citing Spencer's protected rights under a collective bargaining agreement. It will be up to Giliberti alone to determine whether Spencer receives any disciplinary action from the fire department. He said he expected to decide on any measures by the end of the week.

City Solicitor Mark Rumley refused to comment on Spencer's status with the city, citing his privacy rights.

"The city is aware of the incident and will address it in a normal course," Rumley said Monday.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1032 -- Medford's firefighters union -- did not return a request for comment Monday evening. Spencer is listed on the union's website as a Lieutenant on engine six in Division D.

Spencer was released on personal recognizance in an arraignment in Somerville District Court Oct. 15, court records show. He is scheduled for a hearing on Nov. 8.

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