Ed Saliba Sr. remembered as icon of New Kensington firefighting | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Ed Saliba Sr. remembered as icon of New Kensington firefighting

Chuck Biedka
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Former New Kensington Fire Chief Ed Saliba Sr. stands outside of New Kensington Fire Station No. 3 after it was named in his honor on Saturday, September 13, 2008.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Former New Kensington Fire Chief Ed Saliba Sr. on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008.

“Chief 56” has acknowledged his last call.

An icon of New Kensington firefighting, J. Edward Saliba Sr. died Wednesday afternoon.

“He was 89 and a half,” said his son Edward Saliba Jr., who followed his father’s footsteps and now is the city’s fire chief.

“It’s a sad day for New Kensington,” said Mayor Tom Guzzo about Saliba’s death.

“The chief was an icon. He deeply cared about our citizens and firefighters,” Guzzo said. “He took pride in our city.”

Saliba served officially as chief for 32 years, from 1978 until his retirement in 2010. As an honor to him, the city let him keep the title of chief after his retirement, and he went to help out at fires as often as he could.

“He remained chief until this afternoon, when he died,” Saliba Jr. said.

During his term as chief, the city purchased an aerial truck, built a fifth fire station in 1991 and built a new No. 3 fire station in 1994.

About 10 years ago, New Kensington Council passed a resolution naming the No. 3 station after him.

Other area firefighters remember Saliba as a brave, caring fireman who shared his knowledge with generations of firefighters.

“When I became chief, I remember him as my mentor,” said J.C. Tedorski, Arnold’s fire chief.

“He would stand by you at a fire and say, ‘Watch for that,’ and ‘Look at this.’ He was a wealth of knowledge,” Tedorski said.

Former Arnold fire and police Chief Willie Weber said Saliba was a mentor to a whole host of firefighters and chiefs.

“He really showed people how to run a fire organization,” he said.

Weber remembers one deadly fire in a store in which two children died.

“Chief Saliba went in and removed the two children from that fire. It was tough,” Weber said.

Saliba was a 1948 graduate of Ken High. From 1951 to 1953, he served as an Army combat artilleryman in the Korean War.

After the war, he returned home to his family and Station No. 3, where he was a firefighter. He opened Saliba’s grocery store on Victoria Avenue.

Tedorski said he remembers as a kid going to Saliba’s store with his father, who was a firefighter, so they could have their weekly meeting with Saliba.

In addition to Saliba Jr., survivors include another son, Kenneth Saliba, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, and a daughter, Kelly Saliba Baranowski, a teacher in the Kiski Area School District. He also is survived by two grandsons, including J. Edward Saliba II, and two granddaughters.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Rusiewicz Funeral Home, 3124 Leechburg Road, Lower Burrell.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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.