Bon Air Fire Company shut down after member allegedly tries to join extremist group Proud Boys

Thursday, September 5, 2019
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Bon Air Fire Company shut down as reported by George Solis during Action News at 11 on September 4, 2019.

HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials in Haverford Township have shut down the Bon Air Fire Company.

Last month, township officials learned that a volunteer fireman tried to join the Proud Boys, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has recognized as a hate group. Officials also learned the fireman went through part of the initiation process before distancing himself from the group.

The volunteer admitted this to township officials, but the fire company's board saw no reason to accept his resignation.

"The Proud Boys have been associated with Charlottesville," said Haverford Township Board Commissioner and Vice President Larry Holmes by telephone.

"Going through initiation with the Proud Boys, associating yourself with the Proud Boys that is disqualifying in Haverford Township, if you're going to have a Haverford Township uniform on," Holmes added.

The board's inaction prompted the township to close the entire company.

Holmes said the volunteer, who sources have identified but has not been named by the township, understood the township's policy and tended his resignation. But the fire company's board rejected the resignation sparking the commissioners to shut down the company.

Fire service for Bon Air will be provided by four other companies in Haverford Township: Brookline Llanerch, Manoa and Oakmont.

Longtime residents say they were shocked by the allegation and the closure of the century-old fire company.

"This is really sad, this is really sad," said Rebecca Montesano.

"I don't know what to say," added Charlie Kelleher who lives next to the firehouse.

Action News attempted to speak with members of the fire company but they declined to comment.

Attempts to reach the fire chief, the president of the fire board, and the volunteer in question were also unsuccessful. On Thursday, the fire company issued a statement saying the township was wrong in closing them down.