Friday, July 14, 2000
BY SCOTT BEVERIDGE
DONORA - Donora Council scolded the borough's paid fire chief Thursday and fired his assistant, a volunteer, for not following orders to keep a rescue boat out of the Monongahela River.
The assistant fire chief, John Simpson, said borough police also told him they would arrest him if they saw him on a fire truck.
"They killed a fireman today," Donora fire Chief Dennis Shawley said while placing at the fire station a black wreath, which is normally used to honor fallen firefighters.
Council censured Shawley Thursday for being derelict in his duties, claiming he disobeyed a direct order to keep the boat on land until the borough had it insured. The fire department, instead, purchased its own insurance and put the boat in the river last month.
The censure amounts to nothing more than a public reprimand. "We are officially saying: 'We are displeased with his actions,'" council President Karen Polkabla said.
"You're a poor leader. You ought to be ashamed of yourself," Donora Mayor John Lignelli shouted before the council president abruptly adjourned the meeting.
The relationship between the fire department and borough heated up June 15 when several firefighters said they were taking a vacation from fighting fires after learning Shawley was about to be disciplined.
Simpson was fired over allegations he refused his duties to respond to a fire and solicited members of neighboring fire departments, asking them to refuse to respond to fire calls in Donora.
He apparently is willing to take the risk of getting arrested.
Simpson, while holding back tears, said Shawley "is a good man. If he asks for my help, I can't walk away."
Although the firefighters threatened last month to stay home when the fire siren sounded, none turned his back on the fire department, said Shawley, who is paid $100 a month as fire chief. He said the borough owns the fire hall, and may have control over its volunteers and the power to remove them from the roster.
"They might as well throw us all out and get paid firemen," Shawley said.
Sparks have been flying for years between Donora fire chiefs and council, said John Sabo, a former borough fire chief.
"There have been four chiefs who were threatened because they wouldn't bow down to council," Sabo said. "There is something wrong with council." >>>
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Thread: Donora update
07-14-2000, 08:28 PM #1E229LtFirehouse.com Guest
07-14-2000, 09:10 PM #2M GFirehouse.com Guest
so..who has peed farther, the council or the firemen? Someone get the tape measure out!
The information presented herin is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.
07-20-2000, 10:54 PM #3AVF&R452Firehouse.com Guest
Maybe now that the town council members have been shown the error of their ways, They will now straighten up and start acting right.
I just don't understand the reason to fight a battle like this. Six months from now, All anyone will remember is that the fire company members threatened to let the town burn. Details will be forgotten and the membership will have to live with this for a long time to come. Just another sad day for volunteers everywhere.
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