Raid puts fire company out of business

May 9, 2008 7:13:16 PM PDT
The Colwyn Fire Company is officially out of service. "Do you want a fire company or do you want a neighborhood bar," said assistant chief Brendan Patterson.

About 20 or so volunteer firefighters resigned after the State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Unit raided the fire hall Thursday night amid allegations an illegal bar was being operated inside. Investigators hauled away liquor and several video poker games.

"When people play them, they are redeemed at a higher amount than they are playing them for," said Sgt. Bill LaTorre of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Internal fighting has plagued the Colwyn Fire Company for years. Active members say the mostly older, social members harass them after drinking too much.

"We are here to provide a service to this community. We care about this community and we've just had enough," said Patterson.

Former Borough President and social member, Earl Reed, says the club raises tens of thousands of dollars for the fire company. He claims a lack of respect from the younger firefighters and denies the existence of an speakeasy.

"We don't have a speakeasy. It's a rec hall. There's no speakeasy," said Reed.

"Until some type of agreement can be reached, we're going to be out of service," said former fire chief Rich Guerra.

For now, the Darby and Collingdale Fire Departments are responding to calls in Colwyn. The investigation is ongoing.