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Man charged in fire station scuffle

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

More than four months after engaging in a fistfight with a firefighter at the Paducah Fire Department's Station Four, Edward Ladd was summoned to the McCracken County Courthouse on Friday and charged with fourth-degree assault.

A passerby called the Paducah Police Department on New Year's Day to report a fight between two men in the station's parking lot. When police arrived, Ladd, 56, of Gilbertsville, and firefighter Brian Waid, 49, of Paducah, were already separated. Ladd later told police he believed his estranged wife and Waid were in a relationship, and he had followed Waid for several hours before confronting him.

Both Ladd and Waid told police that Ladd struck first, hitting the firefighter in the eye. The two scuffled, then were kept apart. Waid told police officers on scene he did not want to press charges.

Paducah Fire Capt. Barry Carter gave Ladd a trespass warning, but he was not arrested. Waid was not disciplined for the incident.

County Attorney Meredith Clymer said the office did a thorough investigation into the matter and believed the charge against Ladd was warranted. The charge was filed this week, and Ladd received the summons on Friday. He faces one count of fourth-degree assault.

"It's our job as prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure a thorough investigation is done, then to determine the right charges," Clymer said, remarking on the four months that elapsed since the fight.  

As a result of the incident, Fire Chief Steve Kyle and City Manager Jeff Pederson announced a review of the department's policies. Kyle said Friday that that review was completed.

"We looked at departments in similar-sized cities, and what we found was that our policies stacked up with theirs," Kyle said. "We made some minor refinements - like any minor at the department needed to be accompanied by an adult - and ended the review."

Ladd will be back in court on May 15 for an arraignment. Ladd's attorney, Jeremy Ian Smith, said he believes his client will not take a plea. 

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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