Pennsylvania Fire Company Loses Battle with City Hall

May 28, 2008
The apparatus sits idle.

COLWYN, Pa. --

The town council voted on Tuesday to end the borough's decades-long relationship with Colwyn Fire Company No. 1.

"I'm sad that it has to come to this point," said Colwyn Council President Tonette Pray. "We really wanted our firehouse."

In 2004, the NBC 10 Investigators went undercover to find city officials allegedly paying for drinks at the Colwyn Firehouse in a dry borough -- against state law. Earlier this month, a State Liquor Control raid netted illegal alcohol and video poker machines at the fire company.

Colwyn Mayor John Fitzgerald, seen on the undercover video four years ago, NBC 10 reported, was not happy with the vote.

"This is a joke what they're doing," he said.

Another person who was not happy was council member Kathy Brennan, who was a firehouse social club member.

The fire company's lawyer claimed the council's vote was political and not about the alcohol.

"No one's ever been arrested leaving the fire company intoxicated," said the attorney, Mark Much. "No one's ever been arrested for driving under the influence. There's never been a fight at the fire company as a result of the alcohol served."

The fire company president said all of the equipment must now sit idle, NBC 10 reported.

"God, heaven forbid, if there is a bad fire," said F. Earl Reed III, president of the Colwyn Fire Company. "God, heaven forbid, someone gets hurt or really killed. Then it's really going to hit the fan."

Colwyn borough officials said the borough would have fire protection from surrounding Darby and Collingdale until they can re-open a fire company with a core of volunteer firefighters who didn't go to the firehouse bar.

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