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In a Dec. 24 article on the recent shutdown of Whitehall Township Fire Department’s Cementon station, township Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. said the decision was due to the station’s declining response times and dwindling personnel count.

While discussing the situation, Fire Chief David Nelson mentioned the concept of combination stations, which are composed of both volunteer and career firefighters. Nelson mentioned the approach, according to Harakal, because some parts of Pennsylvania have been forced into this concept; however, Harakal stressed Dec. 28 this is not a course of action the Whitehall Township Fire Department is looking to take.

According to Harakal, at this point, the fire department sees “no need to go that route” because there is already “an established and effective volunteer system.”

Harakal said Nelson’s ongoing work with training and educating volunteers ensures all “members are qualified to undertake their various assignments, and many have achieved state-level certification” under Nelson’s watch.

At this time, Harakal said, the township will continue to invest in its volunteers. As a community, it is up to the citizens to take initiative and fill these critical roles, he added.

The volunteer group has served Whitehall professionally since its inception and will continue to do so with the aid of its residents, Harakal said.

For more information on the fire department and how to get involved, visit whitehalltownshipfire.org.