Genoa manager denies interfering with firefighters

Jacks Valley Road was closed north of Genoa on Oct. 22, 2021, for a power pole fire.

Jacks Valley Road was closed north of Genoa on Oct. 22, 2021, for a power pole fire.

Members of the Genoa Town Board indefinitely postponed a request by the town manager to pay $2,000-$15,000 in legal fees after he was charged with interfering with a firefighter.

Matt Bruback is denying the charge. He appeared in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday where his attorney said they declined an offer from the district attorney’s office. An April 14 trial has been set.

Chief Criminal Deputy District Attorney Erik Levin said he expects to call several witnesses to the Oct. 22, 2021, incident that prompted the charge.

Bruback told board members that when the electricity was turned off to the town when a power pole caught fire, he tried to find out what was going on.

“The Town Manager was not notified the power was going to be shut off to the town and proceeded to investigate the issue,” he said in a request for legal funds that appeared on the town’s Feb. 2 agenda.

He said he saw a fire truck blocking Jacks Valley Road and an NV Energy service truck leaving the scene. He said he tried to flag down the power company truck but it didn’t stop and as Bruback jumped out of the way, the driver had some choice words on him.

He said he approached a firefighter and another NV Energy worker closer to the pole about the outage.

“A second NV Energy worker acted just as belligerent with cuss words and it wasn’t until East Fork Fire stepped in to finally explain what the reasoning was behind the incident that I felt the situation was under control and the Town safe from harm,” he said in an email he shared with The R-C on Wednesday morning. “Kuddos to the level headedness of East Fork Fire Department team.”

Bruback said he was interviewed by a sheriff’s deputy about a half-hour after the incident. Charges were filed in December.

East Fork firefighters responded to a pole fire along Jacks Valley Road across from the Genoa Cemetery at around 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22.

The power went out a half-hour later for nearly 600 Genoa customers as the fire burned through the line. While most saw their power restored by 4 p.m., those in the immediate vicinity didn’t see power restored until 9 p.m. as NVEnergy workers repaired the pole.

Jacks Valley Road was closed for the better part of five hours.


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