Newburg fire company spat worries Logan residents

Homeowners concerned about safety in wake of dispute between social hall, firefighters

A pair of Logan Township residents last week appealed to township supervisors to alleviate what they see as a threat to fire protection for their homes due to an ongoing dispute between the firefighters and the social hall leaders of the Newburg Volunteer Fire Department.

The supervisors were reassuring, although they pointed out that legally, they can’t intervene to settle the dispute.

A Wingate Lane woman worried that supervisors could decertify the company, which is in their power.

“What is the contingency plan for coverage of my house?” the woman asked, explaining that if firefighters from Newburg aren’t available, minutes could be added to the response time for a fire.

“Someone will die,” she said.

The board doesn’t plan to decertify the Newburg company, according to Supervisor Ed Frontino.

“There’s been no discussion about decertifying,” Frontino said.

None of the supervisors favor it, Supervisor Joe Metzgar said.

“I don’t see it happening,” said Supervisors Chairman Jim Patterson.

A 23rd Street man looked at the potential for loss of fire protection from a different angle, based on the personal antagonism that seems to have developed between the parties.

“If the (firefighters) don’t show because they feel spited, there is no coverage,” the man said. “It’s worrisome.”

The dispute has devolved into a lawsuit in Blair County Court by the Newburg fire department firefighters, who contend they’re being “frozen out” of the business operations of the Newburg Fire Association, which runs the social hall and its bar to generate money to support the organization. The association has denied firefighters memberships and voting rights and has refused to provide documentation for the bar business and its management, according to the complaint.

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