LATROBE, Pa. (KDKA) — The mayor, fire chief, fire company president and the city of Latrobe are all named in a federal lawsuit.
Five former firefighters filed the suit claiming they were booted from the department because they wanted the chief replaced.
Filed in federal court, the complaint pits the former fire department members against the chief of the department but also the Latrobe Fire Department President Check McDowell Jr., Latrobe Mayor Rosemarie Wolford and the city of Latrobe.
According to the lawsuit, allegations include incidents where Chief John Brasile allegedly referred to a female firefighter as a “slut who intentionally wore tight clothes to show off.” He also allegedly referred two of his firefighters as “Mexicans.”
The filing also claims Brasile made defamatory, false and damaging accusations against the plaintiffs, including that plaintiffs had responded to fire calls while intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances.
It warns “some resident of the city is going to be severely injured or killed in a fire because of defendant Brasile’s lack of leadership and ineffective safety policies.”
The lawsuit comes after an unsuccessful attempt by the plaintiff firefighters to remove Brasile last year. The firefighters claim Brasile suspended a firefighter running for chief and five other firefighters just before the election, making the candidate ineligible and leaving Brasile to run unopposed.
The lawsuit also alleges Mayor Wolford overturned a vote by department members to have Brasile’s conduct investigated and McDowell Jr. held an appeal meeting for the firefighters’ suspension without the firefighters being present.
KDKA has reached out to the defendants and is awaiting a response. The attorney filing the lawsuit on the firefighter’s behalf declined to comment.
The plaintiffs are seeking, amongst other things, the chief’s removal, reinstatement of the dismissed firefighters and $150,000 in compensation.