Cheswick councilman accused of socking fire chief
SPRINGDALE — Police said a “chance encounter” between Cheswick Borough's council president and the borough's fire department president ended Wednesday morning with at least one punch thrown.
Fire department President Joseph Ferraro was coming out of a store in the 500 block of Pittsburgh Street at the same time that Cheswick Council President Jonathan Skedel was walking his dog, Springdale Borough police Chief Joseph Naviglia said.
The men exchanged words and Skedel allegedly punched Ferraro, according to Naviglia.
He said Ferraro went to a dentist for injuries sustained during the incident.
The men live in Cheswick but happened to be in Springdale.
Naviglia said the matter is under investigation.
Charges haven't been filed.
Police are attempting to obtain surveillance camera footage of the incident and looking for witnesses.
Ferraro declined to comment Wednesday night.
Skedel said the men exchanged words.
“I was attacked, and I defended myself,” he said.
Skedel said he was leaving his home late Wednesday morning to go to a hospital to deal with an illness that caused him to step down as council president Tuesday night.
Skedel did not disclose the nature of the illness.
Borough Manager Andy Bock confirmed that Skedel stepped aside as president, but remains on council.
Skedel, Vickie Roolf and Peter Holka were elected last fall on write-in campaigns.
Roolf said she heard about the confrontation and talked to Skedel about the illness.
“I hope he is OK soon,” she said.
Mayor Daniel Carroll said he heard about the incident.
“I hope the investigation is completed quickly,” he said.
Roolf and Carroll said the borough is trying to schedule a town-hall meeting next month to discuss the borough's police and fire coverage and alternatives.
Skedel has clashed with the borough's fire officials by urging the council to reject plans by the previous council to use a bond issue to buy a new fire truck.
In May, Cheswick Council voted, 4-3, with Skedel to vote against buying a new truck. The fire company will get about $32,000 to repair the old truck instead.
Skedel has also urged the fire company to consolidate with nearby fire companies.
He said he has been threatened for eight months.
“What they've made up about me is unbelievable,” he said.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
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.