Borough removes trucks from fire company in Conshohocken

Saturday, July 6, 2019
Borough removes equipment from fire company in Conshohocken
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Borough removes equipment from fire company in Conshohocken. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on July 5, 2019.

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. (WPVI) -- One of the volunteer fire companies in Conshohocken, Pa. is dealing with uncertainty after its trucks were confiscated Friday.

Borough officials announced they had removed fire trucks and other borough-owned equipment from the privately owned Washington Fire Company at 37 West Elm Street.

In a statement, borough leaders said the move comes as they try to sort out administrative and operational issues with the Washington Fire company's management team.

A longtime firefighter said he was shocked when he saw borough workers drive off with several fire trucks just after 7 a.m. Friday. The company-owned gear was left behind. The 150-year-old volunteer force is now unable to respond to calls.

According to a man who claimed to be a board member, Conshohocken residents are less safe without the Washington Fire Company.

The borough of 8,000 now relies on service from one fire company less than a mile away.

David Piermani, who owns a beer distributor several blocks from the fire company said he's concerned there's less protection in the borough.

"The other fire company is up the street so the response time will be different," said Piermani.

Robert Harrington, a 30 year resident of Conshohocken said, "It feels to me the fire trucks are being held hostage and so are the residents."

The fire company owns the building and gear while the borough owns the trucks.

Washington's trucks are being housed at Conshohocken Fire Company #2.

In a statement, borough officials said they took deliberate steps to ensure the same quality of fire service but did not elaborate on what they did.

Mayor Yaniv Aronson declined to discuss the issue with Action News and none of the borough council members replied to our requests for comment.

No one answered the door at the home of Ray Sokolowski, the executive director of operations for the borough.

The borough closed its offices for the weekend within minutes of releasing the statement around noon Friday.

The president of the fire company also did not reply to messages from Action News.

Brian Coll, a lifelong borough resident said, "I hope there's not a fire where anybody's lives are put at risk because of some internal argument that the public doesn't know about."