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Cops: Wychwood Homeowner Bit, Kicked Officers in Attempt to Reach Burning House

Courtney Schael, 50, is accused of assaulting three officers who were trying to restrain her Friday night, according to report.

One of the homeowners of 120 Wychwood Road was arrested at the scene of the fire on Dec. 6. Credit: Nicole Bitette
One of the homeowners of 120 Wychwood Road was arrested at the scene of the fire on Dec. 6. Credit: Nicole Bitette

One of the owners of the Wychwood Gatehouse that caught fire on Friday evening was arrested at the scene for assaulting three police officers, according to Capt. Scott Rodger.

Courtney Schael, 50, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and obstructing the administrator pursuant to a fire investigation.

Schael attempted to cross the scene of the fire and go toward the burning house when Westfield officers warned her several times to stay back, Rodger said. She continued to walk toward the home and when an officer attempted to restrain her, she shoved him causing him to stumble backward, Rodger added.

As the same officer went to place her under arrest, she bit him, according to Rodger. Schael then repeatedly kicked two other officers as they tried to place her in a patrol car, Rodger said.Schael was released on $5,000 bail pending an upcoming court date.

Schael and another person purchased the home in November, according to the Union County Clerk's office.

The historic home at 120 Wychwood Road caught fire on Friday evening before the new owners officially moved in. 
Wally Westfield December 09, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Is this article really necessary? The woman over reacted while watching the home she had just bought and not yet moved into going up in flames. Was she wrong, yes, does she now have to be humiliated ?
Susan Di December 09, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Why was she wrong? Maybe they were wrong to not allow her to approach her own house.
billy December 09, 2013 at 06:45 PM
It was not just that they didn't let her approach. She tried to make her way INTO her burning house, which would have put herself and the officers and firemen on scene in danger.
Westfield Parent December 09, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Stop criticizing the Patch Editor. The Editor is just doing her job. If you don't like it, go away and don't come back. Plain and simple. Censorship of any kind, in any form, of any good intention, is bad. I hope we are all mature enough to know that free press is fundamentally the American way, no matter how unpleasant it is at times.
Arsenal Fan December 09, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Drop the charges ... Her house was on fire ...she was understandably upset...why add other troubles
The Cynic December 09, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Note that the women was placed under arrest before she bit him. I can understand that biting would result with an arrest, but the events that preceded this did not call for an arrest. How can 3 policemen not restrain a 50 year old women from the distraught reaction to her burning house? Hate to say it....but, it sure makes the officers sound like wimps. 3 police officers not being able to restrain a 50 year old women without arresting her in this situation is RIDICOULOUS! This story is bizarre. The police force should be embarrassed by this story.
Christine M December 10, 2013 at 09:41 AM
She had every right to react the way she did. I would have too if my house was burning down. So sad that the unsympathetic police couldn't try to calm the woman down. Instead they chose to treat her like vicious criminal!
The Cynic December 10, 2013 at 11:07 AM
I have thought further about this after my prior post. This whole story seems quite strange to me. The owner had not yet moved in and there was nothing in the house. How could one have such a strong emotional attachment to the house and want to rush into the house ablaze for what reason? I don't get that....it is not even close to how a normal person would react. The fire had been underway for about 45 minutes prior to the call to the FD. Did the owner coincidentally just arrive at the scene at that time? Yes, I know the FD has listed the cause as an accidental electrical fire. I know that each event of this story can be explained individually; but, the overall story seems odd to me.
treena December 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM
I'm a little confused as to why people are supporting this woman's actions of hitting and biting the police. It seems that the police were trying to stop her from entering a burning house. I would assume they were doing there job by protecting the woman from entering a very dangerous situation. I can understand that she must have been distraught but does that justify her kicking and biting someone who is trying to protect her? Emotions aside, I'm sure the officer who tried to stop her did not want to have to go running into a burning house. I'm sure the officer wants to go home safely each night to his/her family. This type of behavior not only put the woman in jeopardy but also the officer that was trying to protect her. Would she appreciate it if her child turned to kick and bite if she was trying to stop that child from running into a busy street? Seems like common sense but I guess common sense isn't that common anymore.
billy December 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM
well said Treena!
jennifer jones December 10, 2013 at 12:12 PM
i agree with Treena
Kim December 10, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I am a neighbor and saw the fire and police incident, so I feel compelled to correct certain assumptions in the prior comments. The homeowner was not trying to run into the house, after all, she had not even moved in yet and what would be the purpose. what she did do was notice that the fire that began in the front of the house that was put out by the firefighters had reignited with no firefighters on that side of the property to see as they had all moved to the other side of the property. So the woman in hopes of protecting this historic home attempted to approach the fire chief to tell him it had reignited, but was stopped by a woman police officer who instead of comforting the woman and helping to convey the message to the fire chief, decided to arrest this distraught Westfield taxpayer who couldn't have weighed more than 100 pounds. At no time did she endanger herself or any of the firefighters. She was only trying to protect this historic home which was a landmark in our community. Thankfully no one was in the home at the time of the fire. Hopefully, the entire story will be told soon so that people can stop speculating and assuming things that never happened.
The Cynic December 10, 2013 at 07:08 PM
Kim, thanks for stepping forward with an accurate report which puts a very different complexion on the story. I trust that you will be a witness for the accused. This is an ugly situation for those involved and your personal account (and possibly others) will go a long way to set the record straight.
Westfield Parent December 10, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Thank you Kim for your courage.
Westfieldresident December 10, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Right, she was just trying to protect her home. From what exactly? Those jerk firemen who were trespassing on her property? Or did it need protecting from those lazy cops who showed up on their own volition to harass the poor resident? Good rule of thumb at a fire scene: listen to the cops and let the firemen do their job. It's not rocket science. I can't even believe there is support for this dope.
bayway mike December 19, 2013 at 07:54 PM
The cops most likely were pissed off because they had to respond to this fire and get their Dunkin' Donuts to go..

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