Operations suspended at fire co. in Bensalem

Pictured: A fire truck from the Union Fire Company (From: www.union37.com)

June 13, 2011 1:57:07 PM PDT
Operations at the Union Fire Company in Bensalem have been suspended, the township's department of public safety announced Monday.

In a news release, the department said that, over the past 12 to 18 months, there have been "many incidents and issues where the leadership of the company has failed to follow both the administrative and operational directions from the Township."

The release went on to say that the decision was not the result of "a culmination of numerous incidents and events that have resulted in a loss of confidence in the leadership of Union Fire Company."

There is some speculation that some of the volunteer firefighters took issue with the fact that the township hired full-time paid firefighters last year using federal grant money.

Among the problems - officials say the volunteer fire company failed to send the proper number of firefighters to fires, sent civilians to fire scenes and tried to beat the township's paid firefighters to fires.

Furthermore, the township has been investigating reports that the Union volunteer company delayed getting water to the paid firefighters who were fighting a fire at a building on State Road on April 19th.

"The majority of firefighters in this fire company are good, hard-working men and women who are dedicated to firefighting and dedicated to Bensalem Township," said Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran. "However, I must look at the bigger picture and that is the safety of everybody."

Township officials say the suspension will not affect public safety, saying other fire companies have been assigned to cover Union's coverage area.

A public meeting on the issue is set for Thursday night.