By Michael DiVittorio – Trib Total Media
North Versailles Township commissioners on Thursday approved a new policy for their three volunteer fire departments while a standing-room-only crowd filled the commissioners’ chambers and fire trucks capped the parking lot like bookends.
Many in attendance spoke before the policy was adopted by a 5-2 vote.
Board president George Thompson, vice president Frank Bivins and commissioners Sam Juliano, Russell Saula and Vince Paradine voted in favor. Commissioners George Beswick and Daryl Mitchell dissented.
Mitchell said there were some changes from a previous draft that weren’t clarified, and he wanted more training requirements for firefighters.
“The more training that’s involved, the safer you’re going to be,” Mitchell said. “The least you know can jeopardize your safety.”
Beswick had similar concerns about not mandating more training, as well as allowing firefighters with criminal misdemeanors on their record to continue to serve the township.
By Marty Griffin – KDKA
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Quicker call times and greater efficiency. That’s what City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials are saying about the consolidation of 911 service.
It has been a long and controversial process, but leaders say it was well worth the wait.
Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald say the county and the city must work together to consolidate every service possible, including 911.
“This is kind of the final step of consolidating the city and county operations together,” said Fitzgerald. “They’ve been located in the same place together, but now there’s going to be actual sameness, if you will.”
“It creates greater efficiency, it creates the ability for the call times to become much less. It allows a better opportunity for the responders to be their earlier to be able to save lives,” added Peduto.
All of this will start rolling next week with training. The consolidation is expected to be completed by mid-September.
By J.D. Prose – TimesOnline.com
FINDLAY TWP. — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that it has awarded a $1.4 million contract to have an underground fire on Pittsburgh International Airport property extinguished.
Earthmovers Unlimited of Kylertown, Clearfield County, will begin work next month and should complete the job in a year, the DEP said in a press release. The fire in a coal waste pile has been burning for several years and poses a risk to an airport radar facility and an underground gas pipeline.
The fire, which is close to runways, could also potentially produce smoke that could affect air traffic visibility, although there have been no incidents of that yet. The company will dig out the fire and use “several million gallons” of water and 200 gallons of firefighting foam, according to the DEP.
Also, the project will entail excavating 429,000 cubic yards of coal waste, which will be used to fill a steep drop-off, according to DEP. Afterward, the 10-acre site will be graded, vegetation will be planted, and a gravel road will be built on it.
By Karen Zapf – Trib Total Media
Ron Novak compares his return to Logans Ferry Heights just over a decade ago as walking into a time capsule.
“I walked up and down the streets and nothing changed,” he said.
Novak, 61, left Atlanta and returned in 2003 to help care for his aging parents. As a trustee with the Logans Ferry Heights Volunteer Fire Department, today is pleased he returned to the Plum community he left as a 21-year-old as the company prepares for its 65th anniversary celebration on Saturday.
The fire company was formed in the summer of 1949 and was chartered in October of the same year with 125 members who are all deceased, department officials said.
Novak’s father, John Novak, was a charter member.
Rich Weishar, 78, whose late father was a volunteer fireman and whose son, Rick Weishar, 47, is president of the company, said the fire company was started when the Allegheny- Pittsburgh Coal Co. that operated a mine in Logans Ferry Heights donated the land for the building. The original charter members went to work to raise money for a fire truck, Weishar said.
Emergency crews were preparing for the worst Tuesday night as they held a practice search and rescue drill in Harborcreek.
The call went out at 7 p.m.
An ATV accident with multiple victims at Six Mile Creek Park in Harborcreek.
Fire department crews from Harborcreek, Greenfield Township and North East responded to the scene.
Crews then broke up into three teams to find the victims, who had been strategically placed throughout the woods before the drill started.
Search teams had to locate and provide medical attention to their victims.
By Lisa Adams – erietvnews.com
After a recent drowning in Presque Isle Bay, the Erie Fire Department is reaching out to forge relationships with Erie’s growing international population. Last month on a day with strong currents in the water, fire department rescuers came to the aid of some teenage boys trapped on a concrete pad off shore. The boys were from Erie’s Bhutanese community.
A kayaker in the area at the time captured pictures of the teens. Erie fire department rescuers responded, helping a couple of the boys safely back to shore with their friends. Firefighters say they didn’t know then that another boy was missing in the water. He surfaced two days later as a drowning victim. The tragedy is the reason that fire department representatives spoke to an orientation class Tuesday at the International Institute on East 26th Street. They want the newest arrivals to Erie to know that the fire department is always there to help them.
By Kirstin Kennedy – Timesonline.com
CONWAY — The Conway Volunteer Fire Department has been given a $77,995 grant for operations and safety from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. said.
Department Chief Bob Charlovich said the organization applied for the annual grant so the department could update its gear, which needs to be serviced every 10 years. The department will use the grant in its entirety for new gear for its 30 firefighters, Charlovich said.
“Pennsylvania’s firefighters endure risk and sacrifice every day to keep their community safe,” Casey said. “This money will help provide Beaver County’s firefighters with the resources they need to ensure their safety and the safety of those they serve.”
Funds are awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.