The incident was caught on camera. The distraught woman, Torazzi Hayslett, was reluctantly being pulled away from the fire by her husband.
The video shot Friday by the editor of the Imperial Beach Patch appeared to show Hayslett, a second grade teacher, swinging her open hand at Sgt. Daniel McLaughlin after he grabbed her arm. The sergeant is then seen trying to drag her to the ground by her hair.
This is not the first time McLaughlin has scuffled with the public. In May 2011, a civil court found that he used unreasonable force against a 74-year-old advocate for the homeless.
Police said they cannot comment because this is a personnel issue.