Tempers flare at Cheswick Council meeting over fire department
Cheswick Council's meeting erupted into a shouting match between council members and residents on Tuesday night because of council's suggestion to contract out fire department services.
Councilman John Skedel was forcefully in support of shutting down the Cheswick Volunteer Fire Company.
The vocal majority of residents at the meeting supported keeping the fire department intact.
Cheswick received a proposal from Allegheny Valley Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 to serve the borough for $8,900 a year.
Cheswick's fire department costs the borough $17,500. Other costs are borne by the fire department.
“We have to watch the dollars,” Skedel said. He added that the fire department requested $4,000 for new fire equipment.
Resident Marie DeSantis asked council to place the issue on the ballot in May.
“Money isn't everything,” she said. “I want to know my house is going to be safe if it goes up in flames.”
But council President Vickie Roolf argued that the community has too many fire departments servicing a small area.
“I feel we're the Allegheny Valley, and this valley should have a police department and a fire department,” she said. “It never made sense to have four fire departments.”
Allegheny Valley Fire Company was formed last year from a merger of the Harmar and Springdale township fire departments.
Resident Lindsay Sandusky cautioned against turning to Allegheny Valley Fire Company.
“You will not be happy with how they respond,” he said. “If you go with them, this community will have a horrible problem here because they don't respond as they should.”
A call to Allegheny Valley Fire Company Chief George Manning following last night's meeting was not immediately returned.
Lewis Accorsi, resident and former Cheswick fire chief, said he would like council to sit down again with the fire department.
“It's not just up to the people at this table,” he said.
Roolf said that after the 2013 budget is completed, council will schedule a meeting to discuss fire service.
“Who responded first to the last fire?” challenged Skedel.
“We did,” answered Joshua Sandusky, Lindsay Sandusky's son and a volunteer at the Cheswick fire department. Mayor Daniel Carroll nodded in agreement.
“Well, you don't always,” Skedel said.
Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
- Retirements help trim Arnold budget
- South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
- CNG station approved for Harmar
- Armstrong ranks 4th in nation among most-armed counties
- New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy
- Burrell school officials update education goals
- Springdale Township neighbors at odds over drone
- Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign to begin
- Second-graders at Fawn Elementary School hold forth on origin, meaning of Thanksgiving
- Apollo-Ridge closer to naming buildings, facilities