Monroeville mayoral candidate claims politics behind removal from VFD
Chad Stubenbort, a Republican mayoral candidate in Monroeville and Gateway school board member, has been booted from his role as a volunteer firefighter for throwing away a makeshift cross used to hold equipment at his station.
Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 Chief Scott Beltz said the incident happened in early August. The cross was found in a Dumpster and surveillance video showed Stubenbort taking it out of the station and throwing it away.
“The next day at the fire station I tried to get an answer as to why he did it. The simple answer is he didn't like it so he threw it away,” Beltz said. “There was no clear reason, and still to this day, I don't know why someone would do that. It's our station ... it's just very odd that he would just throw something away.”
Beltz suspended Stubenbort until the company's business meeting on Sept. 10, when members voted to permanently remove him from the force.
Stubenbort said his actions were not malicious and he didn't deserve to be disciplined.
“It was a wooden cross with a helmet and air pack sitting on top of it, so I put those back where they belonged,” he said. “It looked very unsightly in a $1 million addition that was just built, (so) I put the two 2-by-4s in the Dumpster.”
Stubenbort, who is running against Monroeville Deputy Mayor Nick Gresock in November, suspects he was let go for “political reasons.” He said he's had a “target” on his back ever since a Meet the Candidates Night in May. Beltz said that suggestion was inaccurate.
Stubenbort, 27, said he joined the fire department at 14 and got his EMT certification at 16. He has volunteered at the fire department since, with a two-year hiatus while he studied at Duquesne University.
“Anyone who knows me knows I would have done anything for the fire department,” Stubenbort said in a Facebook post. “I can't thank all of the people that I've met along the way and who have helped me grow as a firefighter, EMT and as a person.”