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After giving OK for VFD practice on Trafford property, owner wants payment

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

The owner of a First Street property wants Trafford Borough to pay him for damage caused when volunteer firefighters practiced techniques on his dilapidated buildings or pay for the demolition of the structures.

Jim Bruno gave permission for the Trafford firefighters to use the buildings, but he's now unable to pay for their demolition, his attorney, Bill Bercik, told borough officials at the Nov. 20 council meeting.

But solicitor Craig Alexander said Bruno has filed tax-assessment appeals to Westmoreland County alleging the one-third of an acre property is worth nothing.

“We're not prepared, at this time, to offer any money for Mr. Bruno's property,” he said.

Bruno, who is a cousin of Councilman Frank Bruno, wants to use the property to build townhouses, Bercik said.

Shelter quarrel

Trafford Council President Rich Laird and volunteer fire Chief Brian Lindbloom had a brief, heated exchange last week about Lindbloom's decision not to let two teens into the yet-to-open fire station during an August storm.

Laird brought up the Aug. 10 situation to follow up on a complaint lodged in September by Leigh Ann Geckle, the mother of one of the teens.

Lindbloom said the firefighters had been admonished by borough officials for being in the new station on Brinton Avenue before it was open for fire calls, but he was there to build some lockers.

Shortly after Geckle's son knocked on the door, Trafford firefighters were called to help at two structure fires in Level Green, Lindbloom said.

“We're not taking a child or some person that I don't know into a building that we're not authorized to be in,” he said.

Lindbloom said he directed the boy to go to the police station, which is in the same municipal complex. The police fully moved into the new building in late July.

But Laird said he doubted that the public works department or Trafford Emergency Medical Services would have left the teens outside.

“You don't turn kids loose out in the street in a storm and not give them shelter,” he said.

Geckle, who lives on Duquesne Avenue, told council in September that she just wanted to make sure an incident like that never happens again.

Code officer resigns

A part-time-code enforcement officer is leaving after a couple of months on the job.

Council accepted Bob Chappo's resignation and will advertise for a replacement.

When Chappo was hired in September, council increased the position's pay by $5.50 an hour to $23.

Chappo, who was sharing duties with Mark Lazzaro, gave his two weeks' notice on Nov. 19.

Stop-sign enforcement

Mayor Rey Peduzzi said he has been meeting with police Capt. Carmen Disso about stepping up enforcement of stop-sign violations.

“People totally ignore stop signs, and it's at the point where it's an epidemic,” Peduzzi said. “It's a wonder no one has been killed yet.”

Councilwoman Vicki Megon said some drivers also have been ignoring the new stoplight at the intersection of Fifth Street and Brinton Avenue. The light was installed as part of the improvements related to the construction of the new Trafford Veterans Memorial Bridge.

“We're really going to crack down on it,” Peduzzi said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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