Chamber of Commerce apologizes for denying Bucks County boy shelter during storm

Trish Hartman Image
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Family: Chamber of Commerce denied son shelter during storms
Family: Chamber of Commerce denied son shelter during storms. Trish Hartman has more on Action News at 4 p.m. on August 1, 2019.

FAIRLESS HILLS, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce has issued an apology after denying a teenager shelter during Wednesday's thunderstorm.

Collin Giambrone, 13, of Levittown, Pennsylvania was fishing at Caroline Lake in Fairless Hills, just behind the Chamber of Commerce.

"I was just casting out one rod and then just fast fishing with my bait caster," said Collin, who goes fishing there three or four times a week.

When storms rolled in earlier than he expected, he ran to the closest building: the Chamber of Commerce. He was met at the door by the executive director.

"He came up, I said, 'Hey, is it OK if I stay inside?' And he just said, 'No you're not allowed to. Sorry.' And then he just shut the door," said Collin.

Collin was recording using his phone when a large lightning bolt struck nearby.

A Bucks County family is seeking answers after they say their 13-year-old was denied entry into the Chamber of Commerce offices during lightning storms in the area.

He knocked again, but he said there was no answer.

Collin had spoken to his mom several times on the phone. She had been out to lunch and was frantically trying to get home.

"There was lightning. We couldn't see. I couldn't see," said Collin's mother, Tracy Giambrone.

In the end, Collin was fine, but his parents were angry, after a phone call with the executive director.

"He basically told my husband that Collin could've had a gun and that's why he didn't let him in," said Tracy.

The Chamber released this statement Thursday morning:

"Yesterday we made a mistake when a young teen was seeking shelter from the storm inside the LBCCC building. We have recently had several security issues and we allowed those experiences to cloud our judgment. We very much regret what happened yesterday and will be reaching out to the young man and his family to try to set things right."

Tracy said she hopes folks at the Chamber have more compassion in the future.

"We're not looking for anything. I just want him to understand that it's ok to be kind. It's ok to be kind," she said.

Thursday afternoon, the Giambrones told Action News they received a phone call from a Chamber board member, telling them they will use this scenario to reevaluate their position in the community and to improve their policies.

Collin's mom says while he'll still be allowed to go fishing, they'll pay more attention to the forecast in the future.