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Council pulls Citizens fire fighting charter

Last night at a special meeting of the Tyrone Borough Council, the body voted unanimously to revoke the fire fighting charter of the Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, ending its 122-year association with the borough.
“The Citizens is currently suspended from any fire fighting,” said Tyrone Fire Chief and Council member Jim Beckwith when discussion started on the proposed ordinance. “The bank should foreclose shortly and most of the new members have been taken in as active fire fighters by the other two fire companies. In light of what actions are about to be taken, I would recommend as fire chief that the borough pull the charter before the bank steps in.”
Council member Jeff Watson noted that he read that the Citizens voted to disband and asked if the borough had received notification?
“We have received no notification from the Citizens of its vote to disband,” said Beckwith. “When the bank forecloses it is a done deal.”
Mayor Pat Stoner asked about keeping insurance on the equipment.
“When we talked to the people from the bank (Reliance Bank), they asked if we would keep insurance on the equipment until at least today,” said Beckwith.
Borough solicitor Larry Clapper noted, “if you (council) pull the charter tonight, you can’t carry insurance on something we don’t recognize.”
Council member Jim Grazier asked if the Citizens somehow received some sort of financial windfall, could the company return?
Beckwith answered, “we would then have to re-establish them as a company.”
The ordinance passed 8-0.
According to the new ordinance, “the effect of the deletion of Citizens Fire Company No. 2 from the companies forming the fire department shall be said Citizens Fire Company No. 2 is hereby prohibited from responding to any fire, arriving at any fire scene, fighting any fire and/or performing any other duty and/or having any other rights accorded to any fire company which does form the fire department. The Borough of Tyrone is hereby authorized, in addition to imposing any other penalty authorized by law, to seek injunctive relief to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance in a court of law.”
Citizens Fire Company acting President Chris Hammond spoke with The Daily Herald last evening about the situation.
“First of all, I want to say that the dance held last Friday night benefited the kids of Tyrone,” said Hammond. “We have been talking to the bank and we plan on handing in the keys to the building. (Deed in lieu of foreclosure) We are working on that now. We still have to finish the inventory of equipment for the relief association and the actual equipment belonging to the Citizens.”
Hammond stated that most members have transferred their active status to the other fire companies in Tyrone, but kept their social status at the Citizens.
“I really wanted to see us pull through this crisis,” said Hammond. “Once the borough went against us, I will be glad when it is done.”
Hammond estimates that the inventory will be completed by the end of this week and the keys turned in to the bank.
Reliance Bank loan officer Bob Bilger said the bank is waiting for the legal paperwork to be finished.
“We plan to insure and protect all assets,” said Bilger. “We hope to move the fire fighting assets to the other fire companies in Tyrone. We have talked to people about the two buildings. There has been a decent amount of interest in the equipment and both buildings. There have been some good ideas offered by the mayor, the fire companies and organizations in Tyrone. We hope to maintain everything in Tyrone if we can.”
In other council news:
• Council voted 7-1 to approve the improvements to Reservoir Park and award Inline Hockey Rink Bids. The bid of $128,590 was awarded to Krieger Contracting Construction Inc. of Duncansville. This includes a transfer of $50,000 from the borough’s capital fund. Council member Jim Beckwith voted against the measure;
• Council voted 8-0 to pass ordinance 1198 concerning sidewalk obstructions. The ordinance defines the downtown business district of Tyrone as Pennsylvania Avenue from the Railroad Park to 12th Street, 10th Street from the underpass to the VFW and Logan Avenue from the 9th Street underpass to 12th Street. The obstruction must be easily moveable by one person and can be no more than three feet from the building. Businesses with existing obstructions are currently exempted, but if a business sells, it must comply with the ordinance;
• Council also voted to approve the request for temporary fire protection for parts of Tyrone Township. This is due to PENNDOT repairing two bridges that would cause significant delays for the Sinking Valley Fire Department to respond. Both Tyrone and Sinking Valley will be activated to respond to emergencies for the area of Tyrone Township known as Corry Road.