Volunteer Fire Company Fired?

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RICE TOWNSHIP -- A chaotic meeting in a Luzerne County community Tuesday night.

Supervisors in Rice Township voted Tuesday night to de-certify the township's volunteer fire company.

But it' wasn't that simple. One supervisor's slip of the tongue, could end up leading to a legal battle.

Residents of Rice township packed the supervisor's meeting, so much, that they all couldn't squeeze into the meeting room.

Expected here, a vote to decertify the Rice Township Volunteer Fire Company.

Critics say the firefighters lack basic training, and accuse the company of poor financial oversight.

But the firefighters have their supporters, and many showed up to lobby for them.

But the volunteers feared the worst.

But the vote never happened. Or did it?

That question arose with a simple mis-statement by Board Chairman Miller Stella.

Stella's mistake to say "motion to adjourn", instead of  "motion to vote", was quickly seconded by Supervisor Marcia Thomas, who supports the fire company.

That led to a heated debate over whether the meeting was in fact legally adjourned, to the point where Stella felt compelled to clear the meeting.

As the residents left they could be heard saying, the meetings over along with promises to see the supervisors in court.

Minutes later, Stella re-convened, with no members of the public present, and the supervisors voted 2 to 1 to de-certify the fire company.

Neighboring Wright Township will now be the first responders in Rice Township.

Was the meeting legally adjourned? Some residents sure seemed to think so. Either way, the Rice Township Volunteer Fire Company commented on Facebook Tuesday night that it has been de-certified and members will look into how they can have that decision reversed.