Fire depts. seek smoking ban exemption

February 9, 2009 4:29:49 AM PST
Some volunteer fire departments say Pennsylvania's smoking ban is hurting their bingo fundraisers and they want an exemption. Bill Walker of Apollo's department, says about 80 people had attended bingo the week before the ban took effect. Attendance last week was 13 and seven the week before.

Steve Callipare of the Oklahoma Volunteer Fire Dept. says if departments don't get an exemption, many will close.

A half-dozen department officials met Sunday in Apollo to discuss the issue. State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland, says departments should be exempted. But he says amending the law would be difficult.

Fire departments are considered private clubs that can allow smoking at member events, but not at bingo games, which are considered public gatherings.

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