Company Quits, New Pennsylvania Truck Lost

Members of a fire department in Schuylkill County say they got burned when trying to buy a new piece of life-saving equipment. It involves a company that went out of business, thousands of dollars and the FBI.

Firefighters said their 51-year-old truck is on its last legs and needs repairs after almost every fire call.

The Clover Fire Company near Minersville got a federal grant to replace the old truck. Documents show the company that was supposed to build it took $137,000 from the fire company, but never delivered. The firm, New Lexington of western Pennsylvania went out of business.

"The chassis was built by Spartan Motors of Michigan and New Lexington never paid anything on that chassis and now we have no claim to it because nothing was ever paid for it," explained Chris Kemmerling of the Clover Fire Company.

Most of the areas that Clover serves do not have fire hydrants. The new truck was to hold thousands of gallons of water.

"It's just heart-breaking. This is the only way Heckscherville would have gotten new fire apparatus. We finally got a grant and this is what happens," said Dennis Quinn.

The Clover Fire Company is apparently not alone. Documents show that fire companies in other states have been burned too. The FBI is investigating. Telephones at New Lexington were disconnected.

"They tore the heart right out of us by not building our truck for us," said Jack Horan.

"It just shot us down completely. We're doing everything we can to survive," agreed Clover Chief Bob Ryan.

Clover has 11 members. They don't believe they'll see any of the money New Lexington got. They do hope a well-to-do person or company will help them get the additional fire protection they need.

Republished with permission of WNEP-TV.