GLENOLDEN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Delaware County fire company accused of making racist remarks during a recorded Zoom call will disband and cease operations.
An attorney who is representing the Briarcliffe Fire Company told Action News Wednesday that members deny anyone in the township was "ever treated differently or discriminated against based upon their race," but due to "frenzied public perception not based in fact," the company can no longer function.
The attorney also says the township referred this matter to the district attorney who cleared the fire company by finding no crimes were committed.
The Briarcliffe Fire Company was originally suspended for 30 days back in February after a recording revealed offensive comments about Black firefighters and residents.
The original call was to discuss the consolidation of services between the Briarcliffe, Goodwill, and Darby Township fire companies.
When county and state officials got off the call, members of the Briarcliffe Fire Company allegedly stayed on and engaged in a discussion that included racial slurs.
Some of the comments included the use of the "N" word, calling Black firefighters lazy and saying there were "too many" African Americans living in the area.
Remarks were also made about the death of Fanta Bility, the 8-year-old Black girl killed by Sharon Hill police.
The firefighters who made the alleged comments didn't know other firefighters were on the line from the Goodwill Fire Company.
While members of the Delaware Black Caucus are glad the company has disbanded, they want the alleged members who made the remarks to be exposed.
"Make sure that they don't come back in another form because we have to identify exactly who these people are," said Richard Womack, a member of Delaware County Council.
"That means they never ever, ever, ever, ever again be a first responder in Delaware County," said State Senator Anthony Williams.
The fire company is making arrangements to return the fire trucks which belong to the township. It has also reached an agreement with Upper Darby and Delaware County Emergency Service to assist with fire and ambulance calls for the time being.
Attorney Robert C. Ewing released this statement on the Briarcliffe Fire Company:
"The Briarcliffe Fire Company strongly denies that anyone in the Township was ever treated differently or discriminated against based upon their race. The Township referred this matter to the District Attorney who cleared the Fire Company by finding no crimes were committed. Unfortunately in light the frenzied public perception not based in fact, the Briarcliffe Fire Company can no longer function. Their members are volunteers who do not want to continue risking their lives if they are not appreciated. Being a volunteer firefighter is extremely time consuming that often requires full time hours. In addition to responding to fires the members must train, drill and spend time raising funds. Therefore, the members voted to disband. Their time will be better spent enjoying time with their families or filling the hours with paid employment. This valuable Township resource will now cease to exist."