Plan to Limit Alcohol Angers New Jersey Firefighters

A plan to limit alcohol in Lodi's fire stations has firefighters, including the chief, crying foul.

"It's totally uncalled for," Fire Chief Darren Yuhas told The Record, adding that his firefighters are "totally upset."

Mayor Marc Schrieks told the newspaper that the borough -- which owns the firehouses -- needs to have control over what happens in the buildings and that council members were concerned about the possibility of underage drinking.

The ordinance introduced Tuesday would restrict when alcohol can be consumed or stored in the borough's three stations and require approval at least 45 days prior to functions in which alcohol is involved.

It would also limit the number of such events to a maximum of 12 per year at each fire station.

Yuhas said the department occasionally hosts functions like county fire chiefs association meetings and are also rented out to its members for parties.

He told the newspaper that any alcohol kept in the firehouses is stored in a locked area and that there is little risk of underage members gaining access.

"We police our own," he said. "Nobody could just walk in and have a beer."

While he said firefighters will often drink a few beers following a call, he believes drinking at the firehouses is not excessive.

"It’s not like we're down there every night having a party," he said.

A public hearing on the ordinance is set for Sept. 18, when the council is also expected to vote.