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New Tripoli Fire Co. requests sit-down with board


Special to The Press

Lynn Township supervisors received a request from New Tripoli Fire Company Assistant Chief Gary Kuntz to arrange a meeting to discuss current and future challenges.

Chairman Justin Smith, during the board’s Nov. 12 meeting, asked what decisions would need to be made at the meeting.

“What are we going to talk about,” he asked.

Smith said the township and fire companies decided “maybe seven years ago” to set up a fire study.

“Ultimately, our stipulation was whatever that fire study said is what we were going to abide by,” Smith said. “We agreed we would abide by it; you guys would abide by it; Lynnport said they would abide by it.”

He said the agreement to follow the fire study went well for a period of time but has since stopped.

Smith added some of Kuntz’s concerns were addressed in the study and if all parties agreed to accept the responsibilities outlined in the study “that would resolve a lot of the issues I think are forthcoming.

“Two fire companies working together is going be better than two fire companies working apart,” Smith said. “That’s how we’re going to create the most amount of efficiency.

“It’s the most challenging thing to achieve.”

Supervisor Steve Feinour said he would be willing to meet with the companies if discussion concerned topics such as day-to-day operations, equipment or budgetary issues which the township could help with.

He agreed with Smith that the “big picture” needs to be addressed with existing, established guidelines.

Supervisor Brian Dietrich added he was not opposed to a meeting to discuss the items mentioned by Feinour.

“[But] you have to have both parties there,” Dietrich said. “As far as bringing both fire companies into one fire company, I will not go along with that unless both fire companies want to do it.

“I do not feel I should dictate to one fire company, to say ‘you need to consolidate with the other one,’ I will not vote for that.”

Smith added he was “a little disappointed” that all parties had previously agreed to accept the fire study’s findings but have since decided not to follow them.

“The only way this will ever work is if all parties honor what their word was,” Smith said.

Dietrich responded by saying the fire study did not mandate both fire companies consolidate, or that one disband.

Kuntz said he was just looking for more open dialogue between the department and board.

He added New Tripoli had agreed to abide by the study.

“To this day we’re trying to follow that fire study to the best of our abilities,” Kuntz said. “At no point have we said ‘no, we’re not doing that,’ that wasn’t us,” he said.

“We have challenges now that I can say in three years, five years, 10 years, we may have an issue, and I think that’s something right now we need to plan for, and you guys need to be aware of.”

Kuntz said he would be in contact, and the board agreed to set up a date for a meeting.

In his fire company report, Kuntz said New Tripoli had 139 calls for service to date and noted that company members continue to meet with truck manufacturers to replace the 1997 Freightliner Tanker.

They are receiving pricing and finalizing specifications.

For Lynnport Fire Company, Assistant Chief Tim VanBlargan reported the company had 53 calls for the year.

He noted Lynnport was hosting a HazMat Ops class, with nine members attending.