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Men Attack Authorities After Blaze

January 10, 1987

VIENNA, N.Y. (AP) _ Six men attacked sheriff’s deputies keeping them from the house where a relative died in a blaze Friday, then commandeered a fire truck and barricaded themselves inside an apartment, authorities said.

When Oneida County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene of the house fire that killed Howard Groth, 63, the men - four sons, a nephew and a brother-in-law of the victim - began cursing at the deputies, investigator Robert Saunders said.

A fight broke out, and one deputy was injured, said Deputy Pat Summo. During the melee, one of the sons swung a mail box post at a police dog and was bitten by the dog, Saunders said.

Authorities tried to subdue the six men by spraying them with a fire hose, but one of the men commandeered the fire truck and drove off, Sheriff William Hasenaur said. The men then began a hour-long standoff in a barricaded apartment nearby.

″Basically, they were ordered to stay away from the fire scene under investigation,″ said Saunders. ″They think we shouldn’t be there doing our job.″

Police persuaded the men to surrender about 10 a.m., 8 1/2 hours after the fire broke out.

The six men were arraigned later Friday in town court on 27 charges ranging from second-degree assault to riot, said Saunders.

He identified them as Mark Groth, 27, Kenneth Groth, 24, Robert Groth, 23, Michael Groth, 23; and Randall Groth, 22, and Patrick Broeker, the brother of the dead man’s wife, Saunders said.

Bail was set at $10,000 for Mark Groth, who allegedly injured the deputy, and at amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for the other men, Saunders said.

The fire occurred at 1:50 a.m. Groth’s wife, Sharon, and his daughter, Tracey, escaped and were treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation.