Fire Official Files Federal Suit Over Drinking Allegation

Connecticut, Oct. 1, 2001–Shelton, Connecticut Fire Commissioner David Sekelsky has filed a federal lawsuit against several fire officials after he was suspended in June for allegedly drinking and driving fire apparatus.

Sekelsky claims his suspension violated his free speech and due process of law. He filed the suit in U.S. District Court in New Haven. A commissioner and volunteer firefighter, Sekelsky asserts that he was suspended without a hearing and that some members of his department tried to discredit him and deprive him of his first amendment rights.

Fire officials suspended him for allegedly responding to a June 11 fire after allegedly consuming alcohol.. Witnesses had said they saw him drink a brandy shot at a wake and then drive the department�s 95-foot tower ladder to a fire. He was suspended for four days and also charged with allowing a noncertified firefighter on the apparatus.

Sekelsky has been a commissioner for a year and a half and a firefighter for more than 15 years. He says he has been an outspoken critic of the officials who brought the charges against him and that he was not allowed to defend himself against the charges.

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