North Versailles fire department issues remain under discussion
North Versailles officials continue their efforts to revise township policy regarding the regulation of fire departments.
Volunteer firefighters and township commissioners discussed emergency dispatching, liabilities and eligibility requirements for volunteers at a special meeting on Wednesday.
Representatives of the Crestas and West Wilmerding departments raised concerns that their companies are not dispatched to all fires in the township.
“There have been fires where we've been sitting in the station with a full crew,” Crestas Chief Bernard Furby said. “We never got a call.”
Furby said the reason is the way the Fire Department of North Versailles fills out paperwork it submits to county emergency dispatchers.
Furby said he fills out emergency run cards so that FDNV is dispatched to every daytime fire in the township before outside companies are dispatched, but FDNV doesn't do that for his company and West Wilmerding.
“We need a level playing field,” Furby said. “We're supposed to be brothers in arms.”
FDNV Chief Mike Volpe said the information he submits to the county is based on the proximity of surrounding companies. If other nearby outside companies can respond faster and with the right equipment, he said he lists them first on the call sheet.
Commissioner Art Marra said he agrees with Volpe that proximity should be given first consideration in an emergency.
However, commission president George Thompson recalled a fire on Third Street in August when departments from Turtle Creek and elsewhere responded but Crestas and West Wilmerding did not get a call.
“That's what I don't want,” Thompson said.
FDNV is a merged company made up of Dixon Hollow, Sunset-Central, and Green Valley departments. The merger happened in 1999. Volpe said he would consider the possibility of more mergers but commissioners didn't seem ready to discuss that at the meeting.
Township officials cited a state study from 2001 that advised against forming a single township-wide fire department.
There was some discussion of liability issues as they affect the fire departments responding to emergency calls outside their immediate coverage area.
Thompson said he plans to have township solicitor Greg Evashavik examine the original documents chartering the fire departments and report back on liability and other matters.
Representatives of the fire departments at the meeting said they did agree on a proposed provision that would prohibit firefighters who've been arrested on felony charges from serving but allow those charged with misdemeanors to volunteer.
Commissioner George Beswick questioned whether it was a good idea to let anyone with any criminal record serve in the department. One of the concerns, he said, is that a person with a criminal record might steal something from a home while fighting a fire.
“I have never heard of anybody stealing anything from anyone's house,” Furby said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Munhall’s $8.3 million spending plan has no tax hike or furloughs
- West Mifflin man charged with risking catastrophe
- West Mifflin soccer fields nearly done, but play will be delayed
- Polka musician ‘Mr. December’ bringing his fiddle to McKeesport lodge
- Salvation Army edges closer to campaign goals
- Executive says Century III revival plan remains on track
- Dravosburg tax hike will help fund fire company pump truck
- Glassport approves 3-mill tax hike in 2015 budget
- McKeesport man arrested in pair of armed robberies
- West Mifflin OKs budget, repeals gun law in response to Act 192
- Steel Valley district’s coaches keep their jobs