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Fire Chief Shot By Woman He Was Trying To Warn About Fire

December 16, 1993

SILVER LAKE, N.Y. (AP) _ A woman shot a fire chief who broke down her apartment door to warn her of a fire, state police said.

″I was defending myself, my possessions and my dog,″ Donna Marie Mazzeo told state police after her arraignment Wednesday on two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Daniel Hughes was listed in stable condition Wednesday after three hours of abdominal surgery. Hughes, 34, is fire chief of Silver Lake, about 40 miles north of New York City.

State police investigator Dennis Marsh said the shooting occurred Tuesday morning as firefighters responded to a report of smoke and a possible fire at the two-story, 6-unit building.

After being told Mazzeo might be asleep, firefighters knocked and yelled loudly to identify themselves. When no one responded, they broke down the door and Mazzeo fired one shot from a .410-gauge shotgun at Hughes, Marsh said.

″She (Mazzeo) was somewhat paranoid. She thought someone was trying to break in,″ Marsh said.

Mazzeo, 43, also had telephoned state police just before the incident to complain about the noise created by authorities on the scene.

She fired three shots at police officers who arrived after the fire chief was shot, but didn’t injure anyone, Marsh said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, which was in a garbage can in one of the apartments. No one was hurt, Marsh said.

Mazzeo was being held without bail at the Orange County Jail. A judge ordered her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Update hourly